05-28-2017  5:13 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum Hosts Upstanders Festival May 27

Event includes spoken word, workshops and poster making in support of social justice ...

Happy Memorial Day

The Skanner wishes readers a safe and happy Memorial Day ...

North Portland Library Announces June Computer Classes

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Spreadsheets, What is the Cloud? and Learn Programming with Games ...

Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Clackamas County

Sen. Jeff Merkley to hold town hall in Clackamas County, May 30 ...

NAACP Monthly Meeting Notice, May 27, Portland

NAACP Portland invites the community to its monthly general membership meeting ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ensuring the Promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

The preservation of Thurgood Marshall's legacy is dependent upon our dedication to our children ...

CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial over Unfair Mortgage Practices

What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough ...

B-CU Grads Protest Betsy “DeVoid” in Epic Fashion

Julianne Malveaux says that Betsy “DeVoid,” is no Mary McLeod Bethune ...

NAACP on Supreme Court's Decline to Review NC Voter ID Law

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks made the following remarks ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

(CNN) -- Hints emerged Monday that China may terminate its controversial system of labor prison camps this year.

The proposal to stop using the system was put forth at a working conference by the country's most senior law enforcement official, Meng Jianzhu, according to a post by the state-run CCTV on its Sina Weibo microblogging account. Meng is the secretary of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Politics and Law Commission.

The proposal requires the approval of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress-- the country's legislature-- although it is largely a rubber-stamp formality.

The CCTV post was later deleted, as well as a post quoting it by the state-run Xinhua news agency. A post on the topic by the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, also disappeared on Weibo. However, the news remains posted on Xinhua's English Twitter account.

Under the "laodong jiaoyong" or "re-education through labor" system, petty offenders, such as thieves, prostitutes and drug abusers, are imprisoned for up to four years in labor camps without a judicial hearing. The United Nations Human Rights Council estimates there are 190,000 inmates in 320 such centers across the country.

Critics say the camps, which fall outside of the formal prison system, are often misused to persecute government dissidents, including intellectuals, human rights activists, and followers of banned spiritual groups like the Falun Gong.

Two high-profile cases that became public last year generated a massive backlash, forcing the government to address the thorny issue. In one case, a mother was sentenced to 1.5 years in a labor camp for "disrupting social order" after she repeatedly petitioned officials to execute men convicted of raping her 11-year-old daughter. In another case, a young village official was sent to a labor camp for two years for retweeting Weibo posts deemed seditious.

Recent official sentiment has indicated that reform, if not abolishment of the system, is needed. The camps date back to the 1950s when the new Communist regime sought to silence its enemies to consolidate its power.

In October, a senior official in charge of judicial system reform acknowledged that reforms were necessary and underway, according to Xinhua.

"The system was designed to maintain social order, prevent and reduce crimes by reforming people who committed minor offenses but were not punishable by the penal code," the Xinhua editorial went on to say. "It did play an important role in maintaining social order in specific periods, however, with the development of society and the legal system, its defects have become more and more evident."

CNN's Steven Jiang and Jaime FlorCruz contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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