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    » 02/15/2013, 00.00

    CHINA

    Forced labour in China, the release of dissidents begins



    The government opens the gates of the "re-education through labor "for some dissidents, who will finish serving their sentences under house arrest. The measure does not include the bishops and Catholic priests who are paying for their fidelity to the Holy See.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese government has started to release pro-democracy dissidents from the "re-education through labor" camps (laojiao). The releases were made ahead of the end of their sentences, but Catholic priests and bishops remain in the communist regime's labor camps. AsiaNews sources have repeatedly stated that, with the reform of the system, they should be allowed home as soon as possible.

    On February 9, the government released Xiao Yong, a Hunan activist jailed for demanding the truth about the case of Li Wangyang, the Tiananmnen square dissident who died under suspicious circumstances while he was in hospital. Sentenced to 18 months of forced labor in July 2012, he will serve the remainder of his sentence at home.

    The same fate for Mao Hengfeng, one of the best-known dissidents to oppose the terrible one-child law in force in China. The woman was released on 8 February to serve the rest of her 18 months sentence at home, she had been convicted in October 2012.

    But the release of dissidents began in January. On 11 January, the government released Hongwei Li -  the Shandong "petitioner" - after three months of hard labour who was sentenced to 21 months after an illegal detention in a government "black jails". The "black jails" are hotel rooms or hospital where dissidents - often Catholic religious - are confined without trial.

    On January 6 Ma Lijun released, sentenced to 18 months' hard labor for "vandalism against a public place." The woman could have been disabled, because in the course of her detention she was not allowed access to the medical care she needed because of a debilitating disease.

    On December 17, 2012, Huang Chengcheng and Dai Yuequan were also released. The first served two years of hard labor for "inciting subversion of state power", while the second (disabled) was released after being sentenced to 15 months for having "abused" the petition system.

    These releases - which, however, do not include religious minorities - suggest that the government is seriously considering the possibility of abolishing the system of forced labor in the country. However, the large number of announcements and denials on the subject leaves little hope for now.

     

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    See also

    30/11/2012 CHINA
    For the first time, a court in Beijing condemns the system of "black jails"
    A court in the capital has issued a ruling that punishes a group of 10 men who, on behalf of the provincial government, illegally detained 12 people in Henan to prevent them from seeking justice at the central government. "Cautious optimism" on the part of civil rights activists.

    12/11/2009 CHINA
    Illegal jails in the heart of Beijing
    Human Rights Watch accuses government of abducting dissidents and petitioners in the street and locking them up without trial in hotel rooms or psychiatric hospitals. Detainees are victims of violence and intimidation. Catholic priests and bishops are among them.

    06/12/2012 CHINA
    Hundreds of inmates released from a Beijing 'black jail' to make room for more
    News about the release of "tens of thousands" of inmates from illegal prisons was met with great joy. A day later, reality struck with reports that only a few hundreds were let go to make room for new arrivals.

    09/02/2009 CHINA – UNITED NATIONS
    United Nations to “rule” on China’s respect for human rights
    Today in Geneva the UN Human Rights Council begins examining China’s human rights record. From abroad Chinese activists send information about abuses, hoping exposure might lead to some improvement. In the past Beijing hid behind the notion of “China's national realities” to reject criticism.

    21/01/2013 CHINA
    Forced labor camps, Party game continues amid announcements and denials
    For the third time in a month an official voice of the Communist regime announces the closing of laojiao, the fields of "re-education through labor" set up by Mao Zedong to silence opposition and now used against Christians, Falun Gong practitioners and dissidents. The first two were denied in the following days. The struggle for reform inside the CCP.



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