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Laojiao site to change role after abolishment

Updated: 2013-11-17 18:26
( Xinhua)

JINGHONG, YUNNAN - Institutions for reeducation through labor are seeking new roles after the decision to abolish them.

In Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Yunnan Province, the former center of reeducation through labor will be transformed into a drug rehab center.

The key policy document of the Communist Party of China (CPC) published Friday said that China will abolish the "reeducation through labor" system as part of a major effort to protect human rights.

The controversial correction system, commonly known as "Laojiao," began in the 1950s. The program usually takes in minor offenders whose offences are not severe enough to take them to court.

Currently a Laojiao committee consists of government departments such as police, civil affairs and education departments. It is able to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.

Although the system is to be abolished, the future role of Laojiao facilities and what will happen to their personnel remain uncertain.

"The key to the functional changing of the former Laojiao sites is to advocate a greater role for the local society, based on the existing infrastructure," said Kong Shuhua, director of the Justice Bureau of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.

Xishuangbanna borders on Myanmar and Laos and is very close to one of the major drug sources in the world, the Golden Triangle. It has struggled to deal with drug issues in recent years. Rehabilitation and further medical and psychological help have become a major part of drug control work there.

"The new rehab center will provide compulsory drug rehabilitation treatment for  addicts, and help them find self confidence again," Kong said.

Newspapers in Beijing reported that the Laojiao site in southern part of the city will become a prison.

According to the CPC policy document, laws concerning correction and punishment will be revamped, and community correction systems improved.

"The reeducation through labor system has accomplished its historical mission. China has a much improved legal system now," said Wang Qiliang, associate dean of Law School in Yunnan University.

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