China issues detention center guideline after detention center death

17:33, February 26, 2010      

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China's Ministry of Public Security has issued a guideline on the management and education in detention centers, amid its effort to better protect detainees' lawful rights and reduce second-time crimes through enhanced education.

The guideline, issued by the ministry on Monday, banned law enforcement personnel from seizing or confiscating detainees' property, protecting detainees against insult, corporal punishment or maltreatment and their right to call and meet friends or relatives was also ensured.

Zhao Chunguang, director of the prison administration bureau under the Ministry, said Thursday that by issuing the guideline, the ministry was promoting a safe and civilized detention center management system that put equal emphasis on punishment and education.

"We would make detainees fully feel the solemnity of the socialist rule of law but at the same time treat them humanely," he said.

All detention centers in the country are required to implement the guideline before 2011, which advocates civilized and standardized law enforcement, safe and orderly supervision and management, combination of leniency and strictness and forceful protection of detainees' lawful rights and interests.

China established its first detention center in 1957.

Defects and deficiencies were found in some detention centers with the passage of time, Zhao said, adding there was room to improve with regard to legislation, inadequate infrastructure and the police force.

Zhao said it has been proved through practice that management and education would make detainees realize what mistakes they had made and rectify their misconduct, and reduce the likelihood of them committing crimes again.

The guideline also stipulates that education programs targeting detainees should be mapped out on a weekly basis; law enforcement personnel should mete out programs for both mass and individual education, have frequent talks with individual detainees and provide concentrated education programs to detainees who made repeated mistakes.

Detention centers are also encouraged to inform detainees verbally or in writing their rights and obligations and to ensure detainees are not subject to forced labor.

Detainees' reports, complaints, accusations as well as requests to leave should be submitted to relevant authorities and dealt with in a timely manner, reads the guideline.

In April last year, the ministry and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) began a five-month campaign to ensure proper management of detention centers following the death of a detainee in southwestern Yunnan Province.

Li Qiaoming, 24, was beaten to death by three fellow inmates on Feb. 8, 2009 but the detention center at first claimed that he died of playing a game of "hide-and-seek."

The Li mishap also has allegedly sped up the process of the revision of the country's compensation law, which requires detention centers, along with the police, procuratorates, courts and prisons having an obligation to compensate people for violating their rights in criminal cases.

Source: Xinhua
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