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Province suspends forced labor camps

By An Baijie (

16:16, February 06, 2013

The controversial re-education through labor system, laojiao, has been suspended in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

People suspected of jeopardizing State security, repeatedly petitioning or defaming the image of Party leaders will no longer be punished through laojiao, Meng Sutie, secretary of Yunnan provincial Party's commission of politics and law, said on Tuesday during a televised meeting.

The re-education through labor system, established in the 1950s, allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.

Meng said those who violated the law will be punished in accordance with the rules of the law rather than through laojiao, according to a report on the Yunnan provincial government's website.

However, people still currently imprisoned in re-education camps will continue with their terms, he said.

China pledged in January to reform its laojiao system, the first sign of long-awaited progress, which has been the subject of widespread public opinion following several disputed cases in recent years.

The government vowed to reform the system this year, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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