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|Monday, February 05, 2001, updated at 13:57(GMT+8)|
Re-education Law Revamp Due SoonChina's legislators are working closely with relevant departments on a new law governing the re-education through labour system.
According to Wang Yunsheng, director of the Bureau of Re-education through Labour under the Ministry of Justice, the law has a good chance of coming out soon.
The new law, talks on which starting as early as 1985, is expected to better serve China's re-education through labour system under present circumstances, which are very different from those of the late 1950s, when the practice was first adopted.
"We do have a number of regulations on the re-education through labour system, but after all these years, a new law is necessary under the current situation, as China is working towards a system of rule by law," said Wang.
The regulations Wang was referring to include a decision passed by the First National People's Congress - China's top legislature body - in 1957 on a system of re-education through labour, a follow-up regulation on the system in 1979 approved by the Fifth National People's Congress and another decision issued by the State Council three years later.
A National People's Congress decision on the crackdown on drug abuse and prostitution - whose offenders make up a large proportion of those in re-education through labour centres - came out in the early 1990s.
The re-education through labour system is an administrative measure which imposes coercive re-education on those who have committed misdemeanours. In other words, those who have committed minor crimes are often sent to re-education through labour centres instead of being sentenced to prison terms.
Under the current regulations, committees made up of people from local bureaux of public security, justice, civil affairs and labour have the legal right to decide who to send to these centres.
According to Wang, the legislators are considering changes in the people covered by the system, the approval procedure, the implementation process and the length of the terms.
Statistics from the Ministry of Justice indicate that following the principles of "education, persuasion by example and reform," the nearly 300 re-education through labour centres across the country have so far helped reform some 3.5 million offenders.
"For such a populous nation as China, the re-education through labour system, which aims at stopping those on the verge of committing serious crimes, is an effective one for reducing crime," said Wang.
"The new law will function as a better guide for the re-education through labour system and contribute to the stability of the rule of law," he added.
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