Posts tagged ‘Falun Gong’

20/11/2013

China Legal Reform Promises Cause for Cautious Optimism – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The initial communiqué that emanated from China’s major meeting of top Communist Party leaders on November 12th focused on economic reform and had little to say about the legal realm. That changed three days later when the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party released a 60-point “resolution” that announced two potentially significant legal reforms and provided more detail about additional reform targets.

While it’s only possible to gauge the transformation of rhetoric into action after the fact, I’m not alone in welcoming the new goals. I recently attended a long-planned meeting in Seattle of a group of specialists on Chinese law. The meeting began on November 14, and the mood was discouraged given the scarcity of references to legal institutions in the communiqué. By the next morning, however, the atmosphere shifted as details of the just-released resolution trickled in.

The resolution specifically mentions two potentially important reforms: abolition of the system of “re-education through labor” (in Chinese: laojiao) and a plan to move the courts and the procuracy (prosecutors) away from the influence of local governments.

Laojiao, initiated in 1957, is a system under which the police may send people to labor camps for up to four years without formal arrest or trial.  Initially established to deal with recidivist petty criminals who would otherwise burden the courts, it has been extensively used to incarcerate “counter-revolutionary” dissidents, aggressive petitioners, members of the Falun Gong religious movement and other persons deemed to present unwelcome political challenges to CCP rule. It has long provoked criticism by Chinese legal scholars, other advocates of legal reform and members of the public.

via China Legal Reform Promises Cause for Cautious Optimism – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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