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Labor camp reform to mark progress: legislator

Updated: 2013-03-09 19:34

BEIJING - China is pushing forward the reform of the labor camp system in an active and steady manner, and progress will be made "not before long," a Chinese legislator said Saturday.

The reform of the labor camp system, established in 1957, requires time, and relevant departments have been doing research and making preparations in this regard, including adjusting related institutions and revising relevant legal clauses, said Lang Sheng, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

He said the re-education through labor camp system helped to maintain social order over the past several decades.

However, as the rule of law has improved, the constitutional principle of safeguarding human rights has been implemented and citizens' awareness of their rights has grown, problems with the labor camp system have also been exposed, said Lang.

The labor camp system allows police to detain people, usually charged with minor offenses, for up to four years without an open trial. Rampant abuse of the system in recent years has made it a point of public controversy, with calls for abolishing the system growing louder.

According to Lang, the legal basis for the system lies in two government statutes that the State Council, the central government, released in 1957 and 1979, respectively, and both statutes had been approved by the NPC Standing Committee.