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 However rights group Amnesty International alleges that the labor camp system has merely been replaced by other detention centers that continue to wrongfully imprison political and religious dissidents.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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid