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Human Rights & Social Issues

China to reform controversial forced labour camps


Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping

China will reform its controversial system of forced labour camps this year, state media reported on Monday, which would mark a first step toward legal reform promised by new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping.

China’s “re-education through labour” system, in place since 1957, empowers police to sentence petty criminals to up to four years’ confinement without going through the courts, a system that critics say undermines the rule of law and is used against political activists.

The announcement by state news agency Xinhua contradicted earlier media reports that cited domestic security head Meng Jianzhu as saying China would scrap the system. Those reports were removed from media websites without an explanation.

“The Chinese government will this year push the reform of its controversial re-education through labour system, according to a national political and legal work conference on Monday,” Xinhua reported.

State broadcaster CCTV had said earlier on its microblog site, citing the party’s newly appointed Political and Legal Affairs Committee head, Meng, as saying: “Use of the re-education through labour system will end this year, after approval from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.”

The National People’s Congress refers to China’s largely rubberstamp parliament session held annually in March.

The Justice Ministry did not respond to a faxed inquiry by Reuters.

The labour camp system has come under fire from intellectuals, rights lawyers and activists, and even state media.

“If it can be abolished this year, I think it’s an extremely important step toward rule of law,” He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University, told Reuters.

“XI MEANS BUSINESS”

China has 350 labour camps throughout the country, housing about 160,000 inmates, according to Xinhua, which cited the bureau of “re-education through labour” under the Ministry of Justice.

Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, said there has been a precedent for a new leadership to take a symbolic step of reforming problematic systems.

“It has been my sense that Xi Jinping means business and that there would be a departure from the caretaking years of Hu and Wen,” he said, referring to outgoing President Hu Jintao and outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao.

But Bequelin cautioned that reform, rather than the outright abolishment of the system, may only mean procedural improvements such as “a somewhat milder form of administrative detention”.

He said a system could be introduced with some procedural protection, such as a hearing and the ability of a defendant to get legal counsel.

State media has taken up the case of people it believes have suffered miscarriages of justice under the system such as Ren Jianyu, a village official sentenced to a labour camp after he criticised the government.

Media also rallied to the defence of Tang Hui, a woman who was sent to a labour camp in August for demanding that the men who had raped her daughter be given harsher punishment. She was later released.

Whether China reforms the system hinges on the power of security agencies, which are responsible for reining in social unrest that threatens the party’s efforts to maintain stability.

Meng, also public security minister, took over as head of the body that oversees law-and-order policy after November’s party congress from Zhou Yongkang, who critics say had accumulated too much power.

Source: Reuters “China to reform controversial forced labor camps”
 

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

5 thoughts on “China to reform controversial forced labour camps

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

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    Posted by OyiaBrown | January 10, 2013, 12:51 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: China: Liaoning women’s labour camp is hell on earth | China Daily Mail - April 10, 2013

  2. Pingback: China: Guangzhou to empty labour camps | China Daily Mail - September 11, 2013

  3. Pingback: China: Labour camp system abolished forever | China Daily Mail - November 22, 2013

  4. Pingback: China increases rights abuses even as labour camps ditched | China Daily Mail - December 19, 2013

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