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Geopolitics

Winds Of Reform? China Said To Shut "Reeducation Through Labor" Camps

URBAN TIMES, XINHUA (China), MING PAO (Hong Kong)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING – A top Chinese official announced on Monday that China would put an end to its controversial “Reeducation Through Labor” system.

According to the Urban Times, addressing a meeting in Beijing, new Political and Legal Affairs Committee head Meng Jianzhu, said: “the use of Reeducation Through Labor system will end this year, after approval from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.”

No further information on the reform is available, said Xinhua.

Established in 1955, Reeducation Through Labor camps allow Chinese police to detain people for up to four years without a trial. Created to “thoroughly wipe out counterrevolutionary elements in hiding,” there are over 350 labor camps in China.

According to the Bureau of Reeducation Through Labor, 160,000 people were being held in Chinese labor camps in 2008, reported Xinhua.

But as China’s economy opens up, this practice has come under intensified fire in recent years.

In 2011, Ren Jianyu, a 25-year-old village official from Chongqing was sentenced to two years of labor camp for forwarding “subversive content” on Sina Weibo – China’s Twitter-like microblogging site, sparking nationwide outrage. Last month, the Chongqing labor camp commission revoked this decision after months of public outcry, according to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper.

Since then, there have been many calls for the abolishment of the Reeducation Through Labor system. If it is confirmed, the end of this forced labor system would mark a clear sign that China's new leadership under Xi Jinping may indeed be intent on introducing major reforms.

[rebelmouse-image 27086029 alt="""" original_size="383x480" expand=1] Xi Jinping (wikipedia)

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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