Opinion / From the Press

Reforming the system of rehabilitation through labor is necessary

( Updated: 2012-10-11 19:17

The system of rehabilitation through labor will be reformed, according to the white paper on China's Judicial Reform, which was issued by the State Information Office on Oct 9, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

Reportedly, four Chinese cities will be selected to pilot the reform of the system, which has been applied in China for about 50 years.

The system, enforced by public security authorities without judicial trials, is used to punish less serious crimes.

Yet, in practice, the heaviest punishment under the system is four years, which is longer than some sentences for criminal law offenses.

Public security departments have the sole power of enforcing the system without judicial trials or investigations. So the application of the system tends to evolve into power abuses that always invite wide controversy and opposition from the society.

Since China has made great progress in the field of rule-by-law, this system should be reformed to fit today's national conditions. Reforming the system would also respond to the public's appeals.

Some lawmakers are actively appealing for a Correction Law on Illegal Behavior to be passed to replace the old, though still functioning, system.

The difference between correction and rehabilitation is much larger in practice than on paper. If passed and enforced, the new law can guarantee that all non-serious offenders should be openly investigated and brought to judicial trial under the supervision of legal authorities and under public scrutiny, instead of solely under the control of public security departments.

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