News / Asia

Rights Group: China Replacing Labor Camps With 'Black Jails'

Members of Falun Gong hold portraits of victims  during a protest against what they say is the Chinese government's policy of harassment and torture of its members in China, July 22, 2012, in Taipei, Taiwan.
Members of Falun Gong hold portraits of victims during a protest against what they say is the Chinese government's policy of harassment and torture of its members in China, July 22, 2012, in Taipei, Taiwan.
Shannon Van Sant
Earlier this year, China announced it would close the country’s labor camps, overturning a law that had been in place for more than 50 years. However rights group Amnesty International alleges that the labor camp system has merely been replaced by other detention centers that continue to wrongfully imprison political and religious dissidents.

Since the announcement, Amnesty International reports that authorities are silencing increasing numbers of petitioners, political dissidents and members of the Falun Gong through black jails and drug rehabilitation centers.

“The individuals who were sent to those camps are being increasingly sent to black jails for instance, undocumented and unofficial detention facilities,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director for Amnesty International.
 
China’s Foreign Ministry denies this is happening and questions the veracity of Amnesty International’s reports.
 
When asked about Amnesty International’s press release, spokesperson Hua Chunying says that the organization has always had a prejudice against China and makes many irresponsible remarks.

China’s re-education through labor law was instituted in 1957, and China said it had 350 labor camps across the country with as many as 160,000 inmates. Last month China vowed to close those camps as part of a series of reforms unveiled at the conclusion of China’s Third Plenum.
 
However Amnesty International conducted more than 60 interviews with former inmates, their family members and lawyers, and concluded that some labor camps have changed in name only. Researchers say that many camps have turned into compulsory drug rehabilitation centers where drug offenders are forced to do factory work. Amnesty reports it has also documented increasing numbers of people declared insane and detained illegally in China’s mental hospitals.
 
In recent years detainees described mistreatment at China’s labor camps, including beatings with electric batons, rack torture, denial of food and forced injections with unknown drugs.
 
Amnesty International's Rife says that torture continues in the extra judicial places of detention.
 
“Torture is a problem in detention facilities, and we’ve seen a lot of talk about reform and new regulations to try and address it.  But unless we start to see the ability for these cases to be heard in court for the perpetrators of the torture and mistreatment to be prosecuted, then its unlikely we’ll see the impact that even the Chinese authorities are trying to accomplish,” she said.
 
China has not announced what will happen to current labor camp prisoners and what systems will officially replace the re-education through labor system.  Rife says this needs to be made clear
 
“Is there a formal plan for closing these camps and what replaces them?  And what exactly is the legal status for the people who have been released or are still in the camps?”asks Rife.
 
In addition to clarifying details of its plans to close the country’s labor camps, Amnesty International says China should address the underlying problem - persecuting people for exercising their political and religious beliefs and end arbitrary detention entirely.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 19, 2013 9:56 AM
Did anyone really think China would illeminate detention camps for dissidents just b/c they ended the RTL laws? That was done to appease domestic/int'l critics. But the PRC police continue detaining Chinese, Uighurs & Tibetans illegally. The CCP does not believe its citizens deserve human rights so they just ignore the law & the Constitution. You won't see reform & improvement in Chinese human rights until the CCP dictatorship is gone from power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid