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