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 However rights group Amnesty International alleges that the labor camp system has merely been replaced by other detention centers that continue to wrongfully imprison political and religious dissidents.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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More