Official says China to end labour camp sentences: Legal Daily newspaper

BEIJING (AP) - China's top law enforcement official says police this year will stop handing out labour camp sentences under a system that has allowed authorities to lock up defendants for up to four years without trial.

Monday's announcement by Communist Party Politics and Law Committee head Meng Jianzhu was not officially announced, but was reported by Mr Chen Dongsheng, a bureau chief for the Legal Daily, the official newspaper of China's Justice Ministry.

Mr Chen said he heard Mr Meng make the pledge at a conference carried on closed-circuit television.

China's supreme court and other officials declined to comment, although the respected independent magazine Caixin said it had confirmed Mr Chen's report with an unidentified conference participant.

The labour camp system has been criticised as outdated and open to abuse.