Chinese Communist Party Labor Camp System to be Stopped
On October 9, the booklet on Reform on China』s Legal
System was released by the News Office of State Council.
The controversial Labor Camp System
is not mentioned in the booklet.
The leader of the Reform of the Legal System
Panel said that reform of the labor camp system
has been a unified opinion, and the details on
how to change the system is now under discussion.
However, many say that the very foundation of the labor
camp system is illegal, and should be abolished completely.
The labor camp system started in 1957
and has been controversial ever since.
AP reported on Oct 9 that the system authorized
police officers to jail a person for 3 years.
If there was no improvement in the person』s
behavior, he will be jailed for one more year.
A UN Human Rights Council report stated that currently,
about 190,000 Chinese are detained in 320 labor camps.
Cao Shunli, a Master of Law at Peking University
advocated the drafting of a State Human Rights Plan.
However, he was subsequently
sent to a labor camp for 2 years.
He said the Labor Camp System is illegal,
and should be revoked, not reformed.
Cao Shunli: “If it is legal, you can reform it and improve it.
But when it is not legitimate at it』s foundation,
reforming it is out of the question. It is a tool to suppress dissidents.
This is especially because there are now so many
social conflicts, and it is hard to maintain stability.
The system is used by the authorities, in order
to 『solve』 many conflicts and social problems.”
Cao said that Chinese law stipulated that
the decision to restrict a citizen』s personal freedom needs to go through a court of law.
However the Labor Camp System can sentence without
a court trial, directly giving any charges, even framed ones.
Cao Shunli: “I have been in the labor camps, so I know.
Many felt wronged, and many their friends felt so too.
They all realized that society didn』t allow you to challenge
the authorities. Whatever you said won』t be listened to.
Even if you invested a lot of money and resources to fight
a legal battle, in the end you will always be the loser.
Besides, you will suffer more in the labor camp,
because you didn』t plead guilty initially.
You will suffer more. That is the labor camp system.”
In 2007, economist Mao Yishi and Lawyer Li Fangping,
along with 69 other scholars and lawyers had signed a petition to abolish the labor camp system.
In March 2008, Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) congress representatives from Shanxi province also proposed a revocation.
In August, a woman from Hunan Province requested
the authorities to punish 7 men who raped her 11-year-old daughter,
but she was sent to a labor camp for 18 months.
She was then released due to a public outcry.
Lawyer Wang Cheng and his co-workers posted
on their micro-blog their articles about citizen rights.
5000 citizens signed them within 3 days.
Another Lawyer, Li Fangping,
along with10 other legal professionals,
wrote letters to the Ministry of Public Security and
Ministry of Justice, asking to abolish the system.
Li Fangping: “If you use the labor camp system as a way
to suppress people, the whole society can』t accept that.
It shall be abolished or reformed fundamentally.
If you think it just has defects and that some minor
technical changes would work, but you don』t change its nature, I think that doesn』t solve the problem.”
Chinese journalist Beifeng said that behind the labor camp
system is an interest chain of billions of dollars.
Zhao Yuanming, is a former Lecturer
at the University of Public Security.
Zhao said that the labor camp system is against
the constitution from its making to its execution. It tramples on law and humanity.
Zhao Yuanming: “Because you force the detained person
in a labor camp to do hard labor, and deprive them of any income, it is not only illegal but also inhumane.
It also explains the economic reason why the
CCP does not want to abolish the system, because it brings huge benefits to those officials.
It is a useful tool to suppress
dissidents and religious persons.”
Cao Shunli said that the labor camp
system has been much criticized.
Even if the CCP doesn』t want to revoke it,
grassroots efforts will eventually put an end to it.
He believes the day will come soon.