29 June 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia
  •    - China
  •    - Hong Kong
  •    - Japan
  •    - Macau
  •    - North Korea
  •    - South Korea
  •    - Taiwan

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 02/22/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    Laojiao, China’s shame, where 50 million people have been detained



    Administrative detention in laojiao centres is often due to petty crimes but also to causing “trouble” or demanding justice. In all cases though, it entails forced labour. Unofficial estimates put to the current number of people in laojiao facilities at 500,000. Up to 50 million have gone through them since the 1950s.
    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tens of thousands of people are held in laojiao (re-education through labour) centres, which are virtual forced labour camps. They are there without due process or trial, deemed troublemakers or guilty of petitioning the authorities. Sentencing people to long periods of administrative detention is a common practice of local authorities and police. Internees and their families are often not even notified of the reasons.  

    The US-based Laogai Research Foundation (LRF) estimates that up to 500,000 people could still be in such facilities. Other rights groups, using information published by the justice ministry, say the number could have dropped to 190,000. Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based economist who has led calls to abolish laojiao, says there are more than 300 centres holding an average of 1,000 to 2,000 prisoners each. In addition, many unofficial centres also exist, usually holding people for days and weeks without charges.

    For the past two years, Beijing has been drafting legislation to abolish laojiao centres. By contrast, most laogai (reform-through-labour) facilities were rebranded as prisons after the Communist Party officially ended the use of the name in 1994. The Laogai Research Foundation estimates that 40 million to 50 million people have been imprisoned in the laogai system since the 1950s.

    Laojiao is generally used to detain persons for minor crimes such as prostitution, burglary and assault. In a typical case reported by state media in November, a restaurant manager in Shenzhen was sentenced to one year of laojiao for distributing forged banknotes.

    However, rights groups have continued to document the detention of people deemed prisoners of conscience. Among them is Shenyang-based Zhang Huaiyang, who was sentenced to 18 months of laojiao in June for posting online the Charter '08 for democratic reform and other political articles.  He tried, unsuccessfully, to challenge his sentence in local courts, according to the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Defenders. Another dissident in a laojiao centre is Zhang Jie. She was detained many times for petitioning Beijing over a dispute that began in 2003 when her family sought better terms of compensation over the demolition of their home.

    LRF founder Harry Wu spent the next 19 years in the laogai system. He was arrested and sent to a camp in 1960 for protesting against the Soviet invasion of Hungary. After his release in 1979 he left China for the United States where he has been fighting this indecency ever since.

    Laojiao prisoners are forced to work, officially to reform them for society. However, they are often used by the authorities as cheap labour, for example to make balls for the 2008 Beijing Olympics or export goods like lights, shoes, car parts and hand tools for the Christmas shopping season, Hu said.

    The authorities “don't need any evidence, they don't need any trial” and for prisoners “there is no right of appeal,” Hu said. “The government keeps saying it wants a nation ruled by law, but the movement is backwards.”

    The United Nations has condemned prison without due process and has called on China to abolish laogai facilities, which are in violation of international conventions.

    China’s National People’s Congress formally announced in 2005 that it would draft legislation to change the laojiao system, but in 2008 Teng Wei, deputy director of the NPC's criminal law office, said several key issues still needed "further discussion".

    According to official media, the main disagreement that has held up change pits the Ministry of Public Security, which seeks to keep the laojiao system intact, against the Supreme People's Court, which favours judicial procedure for all sentences. In the meantime, nothing has changed.

    The abolition of laojiao will take "at least five to ten years,” Hu told the South China Morning Post. One reason is that "some officials think it is necessary to stabilise society", Hu said. "Of course, another major reason is that the laojiao system creates huge profits.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    19/02/2007 CHINA
    UN believes China might abolish forced labour
    International Labour Organisation says the Communist government is planning to abandon its ‘re-education through labour’ policy. But for a China Labour Bulletin official there is no real sign of change.

    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.

    04/04/2007 CINA
    Chongqing: authorities to let lawyers represent lagoai inmates
    In an unprecedented move, authorities in one Chinese province will open re-education–through–labour camps to lawyers who will be able to represent people facing detention without trial.

    14/05/2009 CHINA
    Lawyers beaten and arrested for inquirying into the death of a Falun Gong member
    The two Beijing attorneys were guests of the family of Jiang Xiqing, 66, who died in detention. The authorities claim he died of a heart attack; the family says the official version is full of inaccuracies.

    12/01/2007 CHINA
    Underground bishop, a “humble but extraordinary pastor”, dies at 103
    Mgr Meng, underground bishop of Nanning, was the country’s oldest prelate. For Fr Giancarlo Politi, missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions and a China expert, the prelate led a life till the end with “out of the ordinary vitality” despite spending 25 years in a laogai camp. Bishop appointments are increasingly becoming a problem with little “chance of solving the issue in the near future.”



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®