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China Formalizes Labor Camp, One-Child Reforms

A girl roller-skates at a park in Beijing, Dec. 28, 2013.
A girl roller-skates at a park in Beijing, Dec. 28, 2013.
VOA News
China's official news agency says the national legislature has voted to abolish the country's controversial re-education through labor camps and ease its decades-old one-child policy.  

The Xinhua news agency reported Saturday that the moves by the rubber-stamp standing committee of the National People's Congress formalized decisions made in November by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Xinhua said, starting Saturday, all those in the labor camps would begin to be freed.  However, the article stressed that all penalties imposed before the abolition of the system would remain valid, a prevision aimed at preventing the detainees from filing lawsuits.

Under the notorious system, police could sentence alleged offenders to four years in camps without a trial. It is not clear what will replace the labor camps, which are estimated to hold as many as 190,000 people.

The standing committee also ruled that Chinese couples will now be able to have two children, if one of the parents is an only child.

Previously, a couple could generally have a second child only if both parents were single children. Rights groups have long criticized the one-child policy, which has been in some cases carried out with forced abortions and sterilization campaigns.
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Comment Sorting
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
January 07, 2014 11:31 AM
There are still thousands of Chinese, Tibetans and Uighurs in these labor camps who have not been freed. There are also thousands in "administrative detention" centers and "black jails." These people were detained w/o trial or access to legal counsel. While the reforms are good on paper they have not eliminated the lack of due process of law in China or the use of torture by police towards detainees.

by: Kurtis Engle from: Central City
December 28, 2013 6:10 PM
Does this mark the end of something? Would that be 'the cultural revolution'? Would it be the claim of state ownership of Man? Would it be the absurdity of a one-party democracy?

It seems we still have miles to go.

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