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China abolishes re-education through labour camps: Xinhua

Published on Dec 28, 2013 9:59 AM
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A general view is seen outside a labour camp in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Nov 22, 2013. China’s top legislative committee on Saturday formally abolished the country’s “re-education through labour” camps and approved a loosening of its one-child policy, state media reported. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING  (AFP) - China’s top legislative committee on Saturday formally abolished the country’s “re-education through labour” camps and approved a loosening of its one-child policy, state media reported.

The decisions were taken by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, at the conclusion of a six-day meeting, according to Xinhua news agency.

The approval to end the labour camps, introduced more than half a century ago, closes the curtain on a dark aspect of the country’s modern history long criticised by human rights groups and which Chinese authorities admit is no longer viable.

China began re-education through labour in 1957 as a speedy way to handle petty offenders. But the system – which allows a police panel to issue sentences of up to four years without trial – soon became rife with abuse.

 
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