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Abolition instead of “reform” of the system of forced labour camps

Posted by on 2012/10/11. Filed under Breaking News,Opinions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

By Dr. Tao Peng

Beijing/Berlin (October 9th , 2012) – The press office of China’s State Council published the White Paper on China’s judicial reform on October 9th, 2012. At a press conference on the same day, the Chairman of the Government Committee for Judicial reforms, Jiang Wei, introduced the White Paper and answered the questions of the reporters. When asked by a journalist from the German newspaper “Die Welt” why the problem of the forced labour system was not mentioned in the White Paper and not also achieved, although a lot of members of the Chinese People’s Congress have expressed for the abolition of the labour re-education system, Jiang Wei said that the system of re-education through labour is a legal program approved by the Chinese legislature, which accordingly has its legal basis and plays an important role in maintaining the social order. Of course, some of the provisions and operations of the re-education system is problematic and thus a consensus for reform of this system in society has emerged, he said. The administrative bodies have enforced a lot of research and will then listen to comments and suggestions from experts, scholars and representatives to adopt specific reform programs, Jiang Wei added.

That is the response of the Chinese government on the decades-long demand of the international community – as well on the call of many scientists, lawyers and members of parliament in China – for the abolition of the forced labour system: Beijing deliberately ignores the problem of the labour re-education system that was not accosted in this year’s White Paper on judicial reform; the Regime continues to claim that the system of forced labour has its legal basis and emphasizes its functionality for the stability of the country, although the system of re-education through labour has injured both the international human rights agreements in which the People’s Republic of China are legally binding and the Chinese laws (the Chinese Constitution and the related laws). The statement by Jiang Wei is implausible and contradictory at all. How could a system be called lawful and appropriate that deprives the people of their civil rights and forces them to forced labour without processes founded on the rule of law and without judges and lawyers? Even in China, the forced labour system is unconstitutional and illegal. It is merely an instrument of power of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in order to suppress the people and thus to maintain the rule of the CCP.

55 years ago, the forced labour system of penal and labour camps was established in the People’s Republic of China. August 1957, Mao Zedong had put up the Chinese “Gulag” system of forced labour to re-educate the prisoners, which include criminals, members of ethnic and religious minorities and government critics and opponents (such as “Rightists”, civil-rights or political activists and petitioners), by political brainwashing, brutal torture and hard labour. Today, the forced labour prison complex in China possesses more than 1400 prison camps in which more than 40 million people have been imprisoned since its establishment in the 50s. The system of re-education through labour in China is not only used for the punishment of prisoners but also as an economic or public service that annually brings the regime high profits through minor costs. Currently, about 3 million people in more than 1,000 forced labour camps are forced into hard works without payment or with minimum wage and under unpleasant working conditions. Some products of forced labour camps have got into the export.

The system of re-education through forced labour should be abolished because it is not only inhuman and unconstitutional but also a violation of international treaties. The announced reforms of the forced labour system are useless for the protection of civil and human rights of convicts and prisoners in China. The so-called reforms will not change the nature of the system, but serve to justify and embellish the forced labour system. Even with an “improving” amendments to the law, the rights of victims can not be better protected because the opaque and arbitrary policy of the Chinese justice do not implement the related laws in practice and will not permit the public to gain insights into the true situation of the prisoners. No law can change the practice of the Chinese judiciary with regard to the forced labour camps, and no one has ever had a chance to get the real information about the situation in prisons. Thus, only by abolishing the system of re-education through labour, the rights and dignity of people in China who are affected by this system can be better and efficient protected. Therefore, the forced labour system should no longer exist in Chinese society, despite the officially authorized reforms. The People’s Republic of China must immediately fulfil the demand for the abolition of the system of re-education through labour according to the international human rights treaties and to its own Constitution. Any delay or rejection of the abolition of the forced labour system is a crime against humanity.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

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