Chinese state-run media have recently done a backflip, over the country’s "re-education
, dashing hopes that the controversial labor camp
s will be abolished any time soon.
On its official microblog site on Monday, CCTV reported that Meng Jianzhu, China’s security chief, has proposed the closure of the re-education
through labor system
by the end of this year. The announcement was then reported by other Chinese media as well.
Shortly afterward however, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the system would only be put through reform. CCTV’s initial announcement was removed without explanation.
[Zhang Tianliang, NTD Senior China Analyst]:
“If the whole system is aborted that would be a great thing to see, because this is one of the most effective ways for the Communist Party to suppress people. However, we are not sure if the Communist Party will come up with a substitute, like renaming it as a different organization, to resume filling the same function.”
Xinhua did not outline what kind of reform would be carried out. The article only mentions some of the shortcomings of the labor camp
system, like, the arbitrary powers used to force people into the system.
Currently, a person can be forced
into labor 're-education' for up to four years without a trial. Accounts of torture and abuse are also common from Chinese forced-labor camps.
Increased awareness has led to mounting calls for the Chinese regime to abolish the system altogether.
The Chinese regime created the labor camp system in the 1950s. Xinhua reports the country currently has 350 labor camps, holding around 160,000 inmates. Human Rights groups however estimate the number to be anywhere from at least 200,000 people, to as many as two million.
Proposals to reform the system will be considered by the National People's Congress in March. The Congress is the Chinese regime's parliament; widely considered a "rubberstamp" congress.