BEIJING: Amid mounting public criticism, China has promised to push for reform in a controversial system that allows police to detain people for up to four years for petty crimes without an open trial. The government will this year push the reform of its re-education through the controversial labour system, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. According to the bureau of re-education through labour under the ministry of justice, 1. 60 lakh people were held in 350 re-education through labour centres nationwide as of the end of 2008. The controversial system allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial, leading experts to argue that it contradicts high-level laws, including China's Constitution, the Xinhua report said. China's first labour camp act was enacted, in 1957. Since then the labour camp system played a role in consolidating the ruling Communist Party and safeguarding social stability in the early years, Wang Gongyi, former director of the judicial institute of the ministry of justice. However, problems have emerged surrounding the system, Wang said, adding, "The system contradicts the constitution, the legislative law and the administrative penalty law." Public criticism of the system has mounted following two recent cases. Last month, a court in southwest China's Chongqing municipality rejected an appeal from Ren Jianyu, a 25-year-old village official who was sentenced to two years in a re-education through labour camp in September 2011 for spreading "negative information" and inciting the subversion of state power. Ren was released after serving just over half of his sentence. Last August, a woman in central China's Hunan province was sentenced to 18 months in a labour camp after demanding tougher penalties for the seven men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her 11-year-old daughter. Ma Huaide, vice-president of the China University of Political Science and Law, said criticism stems from the abuse of the labour camp system and the lack of a legal basis in randomly expanding its scope to cover unwanted petitioners. Also the Communist Party's new leader, Xi Jinping has called on procuratorial, judicial and public security organs to fight against injustice and corruption to ensure "justice in each judicial case." He said efforts to "firmly oppose injustice in law enforcement and judicial corruption", Xinhua report said. China to reform dreaded labour camps system - The Times of India ******************************************* One would find it astounding that China allows police to detain people for up to four years for petty crimes without an open trial! Wealth is there in China but no freedom as is understood in the free world. It is extraordinary to know that 60 lakhs are confined in these dreaded 2350 jails and most without trial in courts! But then why should the international community worry so much if the Chinese themselves enjoy such draconian way of existence? In fact, if one remembers that one women was jailed because she complained that her daughter had been raped, all because the police did not want to get into all the hassle till human rights people agitated IIRC. Money seems to have made the Chinese immune to abuse and so none cares. We, who live in the free world, may not understand the 'beauty' of the gilded cage and so we are so vocal about China's system. Maybe being a prisoner in a gold cage is paradise and Seventh Heaven!