China's detention centers to open to public

21:07, May 12, 2010      

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The Chinese government is to open its detention and re-education centers to public visits from July 1 in a bid to earn public understanding after a string of detainee deaths.

Places open to the public would include detainees' rooms, dining halls and rooms for reading, entertainment, inquests and medical treatment, said a statement released by the Ministry of Public Security Wednesday .

Visitors, including journalists and relatives of detainees, must first apply for permission from local police authorities and show their ID cards or reference letters from their work groups on entry, said the statement.

Administrators of both centers were required to arrange regular visiting schedules for relatives of detainees and meet with them to explain living conditions and solicit opinions on their management.

Visitors could talk with detainees in the presence of the police.

The decision was made "in order to promote harmonious relations between police and the public, to earn public support and understanding for the country's prison management work and to strengthen law enforcement," said the statement.

The move follows a string of deaths in the country's detention houses.

The most recent case occurred in late April when woman detainee Zuo Xiaoqin died after falling from a third-floor window of a police station in east China's Anhui Province.

Zuo had been taken to the police station after allegedly smashing the window of an excavator that had come to demolish her home. She excused herself from police questioning, saying she wanted to use the bathroom, and allegedly jumped from a third-floor window.



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