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Labor camp system reform renders salute to Constitution

By Huang Xin (Xinhua)

09:21, January 10, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- An imminent reform of China's re-education through labor system sheds new light on the nation's vision for ruling by law as it will contribute to maintaining constitutional rights.

This year the government will push the reform of this controversial system which allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial, according to the national political and legal work conference concluded here on Tuesday.

Social tensions have been growing in recent years with China's rapid economic development, partly because people's awareness of human rights has increased while the nation's legal reforms have lagged behind.

The re-education through labor system was approved by the top legislature and established in the 1950s, a time when the Communist Party of China was consolidating the newly founded republic and rectifying social order.

Whereas the system was modified to include more regulations from the end of the 1970s to the early 1980s, many experts believe it contradicts higher-level laws including the Constitution.

To accommodate the broad changes that have taken place in China's social and economic spheres, the Constitution was amended four times from 1988 to 2004, with notable amendments including those that emphasize the protection of human rights and citizens' private property.

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