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China Daily Website

Web users back laojiao system reform

Updated: 2013-01-08 21:28
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - News regarding upcoming reforms for the controversial re-education through labor system has won overwhelming public support on the Internet.

China's central authority on Monday disclosed a vague resolution on "pushing forward the reform of the system this year".

The controversial system allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial, leading experts and legal professionals to argue that it is unconstitutional and neglects due procedure.

The news quickly became the focus of discussions on Chinese social networking services on Monday afternoon, with some predicting that the system could be suspended or abolished within the year.

Columnist Wang Xiaoshan wrote on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging site, that the controversial custody and repatriation system, which forces urban homeless to enter government-run holding and deportation stations and leave the cities for their hometowns, was abolished after being exposed by media reports, adding that similar results could be expected for the labor camp system.

"The labor camp system was established when China's legal system remained imperfect. As the legal system improves, the system should be relegated to history," wrote Sina Weibo user "hualijia01", who claims to be a senior prosecutor in North China's city of Hohhot.

The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), also blogged about its support for the reform, describing it as an "irreversible trend".

"Restraining government power to ensure freedom and social justice is necessary for better governance and China's rejuvenation," the paper wrote.

However, netizens have also voiced concerns about the reforms.

User "zhangxiaona" wrote on, another popular microblogging site, that the reforms might result in more crime, as their deterrent effect will have been removed.

User "michael_zh" wrote on the same site that the camps have helped people learn work skills, which should not be neglected during the reforms.

An article carried by news portal Caixin said the system will likely be reformed rather than completely abolished, citing unidentified official resources.

Adding judicial procedure to the labor camp system or its successor is the primary focus of the reforms, Zhang Qianfan, a professor of law at Peking University, was quoted as saying in the Caixin report.

China's first labor camp act was enacted by the national legislature in 1957, based on a decision submitted by the State Council, or China's cabinet.


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