Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 2:34 PM
Drug offenders undergoing re-education through labor
Sixty-nine legal scholars and lawyers led by Mao Yushi and He Weifang have sent a letter to the NPC Standing Committee and the Legal Affairs Office of the State Council urging the state to eliminate the practice of re-education through labor.
The system of administrative detention, established in 1957, gives the police the discretion to detain people for crimes that might not merit criminal punishment. Because the practice exists outside of the normal criminal justice system, the letter-writers claim that it violates article 37 of the constitution (the "freedom of person" guarantee), contradicts laws on criminal justice passed in 1996 and 2000, and violates international treaties on human rights, to which China is a signatory.
The letter also argues from a more pragmatic perspective that re-education through labor is simply bad policy:
A court in Henan recently accepted a suit by a rural resident who also says that the re-education through labor system is illegal.
Chen Chao, a resident of Yichuan, Henan, was the member of a local gang that demanded protection fees from local residents. On 30 December, 2006, the gang got involved in a quarrel with another individual and smashed up his van. Chen was eventually arrested on 26 July this year. But at the end of August, he was set free for want of evidence.
In September, Chen was ordered to undergo two years of re-education through labor by the Luoyang branch of the system. Chen recruited a lawyer and sued.
The Mirror, which reported on the situation when Chen's suit was accepted by the court last month, spoke to one of the judges in the Luoyang Court. Hao Yali, a the vice-director of the court, has a master's degree in law:
Also, from The Toronto Star, "Forced labor protest backfires":
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.