China: Re-education through labour at end

2013-01-07 16:00
A restraining chair in a meeting room inside the No1 Detention Centre during a government guided tour in Beijing. (File, AFP)

A restraining chair in a meeting room inside the No1 Detention Centre during a government guided tour in Beijing. (File, AFP)

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Beijing - China plans to abolish its controversial "re-education through labour" system this year, the ruling Communist Party's top security official said on Monday.

The National People's Congress, the party's nominal state parliament, would be asked to approve the abolition of the system, which allows imprisonment of up to three years without trial, state media quoted Meng Jianzhu as telling a meeting of top judicial and security officials.

China has debated the future of "re-education through labour" for more than a decade, with many experts and even government officials arguing that it violates the national constitution.

Sentences to labour camps were given to people convicted of minor offences without trial, and to dissidents, legal petitioners and members of illegal religious groups.

Meng's promise on Monday followed growing pressure to abolish the system, which has been used since the 1950s, from rights activists, legal scholars and international rights groups.

Read more on:    china

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