Xinhua: China to Reform Labor Re-Education System

The Chinese government will pursue reforms to its Re-education Through Labor (RTL) system, according to a report in Xinhua News which followed a national political and legal work conference in Beijing on Monday. From the state-run Global Times: Secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee Meng Jianzhu told the conference that the CPC Central Committee has deliberated over (the reform) and “the system of re-education through labor is expected to come to a stop this year once the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) approves the proposal,” the Xinhua News Agency reported Monday. According to, Meng also said that before approval by the NPC Standing Committee, the use of re-education penalties should be strictly controlled, and the system shouldn’t be applied to petitioners. However, Meng’s statement on the “stopping” of the system disappeared on major news portals within hours. Responding to a question about the brief appearance of the news, Qu Xinjiu, a criminal law professor with the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times that “The government has been very careful when dealing with the re-education through labor problem.” “There are loopholes in China’s current legal system where people who threaten the safety of others are not necessarily subject to punishment by the law,” Qu said. “China may not be fully ready to abolish the re-education policy until we have figured out a way to close the loopholes.” China’s RTL system, or “Laodong Jiaoyang” (劳动教养), was established in the 1950s and allows public security officials to detain criminals and dissidents in labor camps without the benefit of a judicial hearing. The Ministry of Justice’s Bureau of Re-education Through Labor Administration estimated that there were 160,000 people in 350 camps as of the end of 2008, ...
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