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Also known as “re-education through labor,” the system was established to punish early critics of the Communist Party but has been used by local officials to deal with people challenging their authority on issues including land rights and corruption.
Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent Beijing lawyer who has represented several former labor camp detainees in seeking compensation, welcomed the abolition of the extra-legal system.
“There have been many methods used recently by this government that are against the rule of law, and do not respect human rights, or freedom of speech,” Pu said. “But by abolishing the labor camps … it makes it much harder for the police to put these people they clamp down on into labor camps.”
“This is progress,” Pu said.
Earlier this year, state broadcaster CCTV said China has 310 labor camps holding about 310,000 prisoners and employing 100,000 staff, although some estimates range higher.
The party report also promised to improve the judicial system and help farmers become city residents. It also elaborated on the party’s previous announcement that it would set up a national security commission.
• Associated Press reporters Didi Tang, Isolda Morillo and Ian Mader contributed to this report.
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