China mulls abolition of reeducation through labor
                 English.news.cn | 2013-12-23 20:58:26 | Editor: An

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) began reading a motion on abolition of the reeducation through labor system (laojiao) on Monday.

The State Council's decision on reeducation through labor was approved by the top legislature in 1957, establishing the "laojiao" system. Supplementary regulations were approved in 1979.

The current motion points out that, for over 50 years, the laojiao system played a historically important role in safeguarding public security, maintaining social stability and correcting illegal behavior. Constant improvement to the legal system means the historical mission of laojiao has been completed.

Yang Huanning, vice minister of public security, explained the motion to lawmakers at the bimonthly session of the NPC Standing Committee, being held from Dec. 23 to 28.

Yang said with amendment to the Criminal Law and the implementation of laws such as the Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security and the Anti-Drug Law, the functions of laojiao have been gradually replaced by other laws and the use of laojiao has been reduced in recent years.

"The time is ripe to abolish the reeducation through labor system," Yang declared.

He said that once laojiao is abolished, relevant laws, judicial interpretations and documents will be adjusted accordingly. The State Council will organize departments to do the jobs required by the annulment of the system, including setting free those still in the labor camps, reassigning police in charge of laojiao and changing locations to other purposes.

Reeducation through labor dealt with minor offenders whose crimes did not warrant court proceedings. It allowed detention for up to four years without an open trial.

According to the key policy document approved by the landmark Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and published in November, China will abolish the laojiao system as part of a major effort to protect human rights.

Although the CPC has made the decision, the system cannot be formally done away with until the top legislature approves the motion for abolition.

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