Jim Yardley: Labor Camps That Operate Outside the Courts
Here in a bleak stretch of eastern China, Mr. Li, 40, spent two years in a prison called Shandong No. 2 Labor Re-education Camp. Mr. Li, who spoke on condition that only his surname be used, and other followers of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong have been jailed here despite never having a lawyer or a trial – rights granted under China’s criminal law.
That is because Shandong No. 2 is part of a vast penal system in China that is separate from the judicial system. Falun Gong members are hardly the only inmates. Locked inside more than 300 special prisons are an estimated 300,000 prostitutes, drug users, petty criminals and other political prisoners who have been stripped of any legal rights.