Early this year, the Chinese government indicated that the controversial re-education through labor system of administrative detention would be abolished. Some municipalities have announced plans to do away with the system, though it is not yet clear what kind of system may replace it. Guangzhou has now announced that it will release the remaining RTL detainees at the end of their sentences by year’s end. From the South China Morning Post:
“All [100 or so] detainees in Guangzhou labour camps will have completed their sentences and be released by the end of the year,” the China Daily reported, citing a senior judge in the city. Guangdong province stopped taking new re-education through labour cases in March, it said.
In February, Yunnan said it would no longer send people to labour camps for three types of political offences.
Four cities designated as testing grounds have replaced the system with an “illegal behaviour rectification through education” programme, domestic media said at the time.
The forced labour system was established under Mao Zedong in the 1950s as a way to contain “class enemies”. A 2009 UN report estimated that 190,000 mainlanders were locked up labour camps. [Source]
And from the China Daily report:
“The police and many legal experts have realized the drawbacks of laojiao and called to abolish the system, which has become outdated,” Yu Mingyong, deputy president of Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, was quoted as saying by local media.
“Many of those released from laojiao find many difficulties returning to society, families and work after … their personal freedom has been restricted in labor camps for several years.”
Guangzhou still has about 100 people in labor camps, he said.
Police with Guangzhou’s public security bureau declined to comment when contacted by China Daily. [Source]
Read more about re-education through labor, via CDT.