Chinese prison reforms met with caution

Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said while suspending a controversial labor system is a step in the right direction, China should aspire to abolishing it altogether.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported Monday the government would advance reforms in its controversial re-education-through-labor detention system.

"The system allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial, leading experts to argue that it contradicts high-level laws, including China's constitution," the report read. "No further information on the reforms has been made available."

Human Rights Watch said the system, known as Re-Education Through Labor, has been in place since the 1950s. The advocacy group described it as a police-run system in which at least 160,000 Chinese are held without trial in a re-education facility.

Sophie Richardson, director of Chinese programs at Human Rights Watch, said ending the practice has been an objective sought by a growing number of Chinese political activists.

"This decision, if it truly put an end to Re-Education Through Labor, would be an indisputable step towards establishing rule of law in China," she said in a statement from New York.

Xinhua reports that a village leader was sentenced recently to two years in a labor camp for spreading "negative information" about the government.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
Source: Ferguson cop beaten before shooting
Brady Morton's body discovered three days after Port Huron Float Down
Boko Haram overruns Nigerian police academy
Amanda Curtis launches Montana Senate campaign after Walsh bows out
Oil spill reported in North Dakota
Trending News