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Guangdong Province Announces Intention to End Forced Labor

By Wen Jun
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 31, 2013 Last Updated: February 4, 2013
Related articles: China » Regime
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Prisoners walk beside a police escort during a prison open day in Nanjing, 11 April 2005, in eastern China. Recently Guangdong Province outlined a plan for closing down its labor camp system, following announcements made by central leaders some months ago. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Prisoners walk beside a police escort during a prison open day in Nanjing, 11 April 2005, in eastern China. Recently Guangdong Province outlined a plan for closing down its labor camp system, following announcements made by central leaders some months ago. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Following earlier reports this month that China would discontinue its forced labor system, Guangdong Province, sometimes called Xi Jinping’s vanguard of reform, announced Monday that it would end the reeducation through labor system within the year. 

Yan Zhichan, director of Guangdong’s Department of Justice, said on Jan. 28 that Guangdong has made preparations and will stop the reeducation through labor system this year after the national reform plan is passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in March.

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, Yan said that once the system is abolished, the reeducation institutions will no longer admit new detainees, and people held in the camps will be released after having served their terms.

Guangdong is the first province to declare a timetable and some details of how the plan would be implemented since Meng Jianzhu, the new head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), the communist regime’s massive security apparatus, stated earlier this month that China’s forced labor camp system would be halted or reformed.  

The Chinese regime’s forced labor camps have been widely criticized. Figures released by the Ministry of Justice in October 2012 indicated that 60,000 people were imprisoned in more than 300 facilities across the country, though experts say these are great underestimates. Beijing scholar Hu Xingdou puts the numbers of people illegally deprived of their freedom at 350,000 to 750,000, saying there are 1,000 to 2,000 people detained in each facility. Other estimates extend into the millions, and the Party’s lack of transparency makes arriving at any definitive figure difficult.

Suicides

According to commentators, the initial announcement on Jan. 7 by Chinese officials of the closing of China’s forced labor camps sent shock waves through the ranks of PLAC officials, who stand to lose not only a lucrative source of revenue, but also fear being held accountable for crimes they committed. 

Over the following days reports emerged of two security officials committing suicide. 

Qi Xiaolin, Deputy Police Chief of Guangdong Province, killed himself on Jan. 8. 

Chinese dissident media Boxun.com reported on Jan. 28 that insiders had revealed to them that Qi’s suicide was connected to the censorship incident of the Southern Weekly’s New Year’s Issue and the ensuing protests.  

According to the source, Qi was head of the Guangzhou National Security police. When the Southern Weekly incident triggered the support of over a thousand people, Qi made recommendations to his superiors to arrest 10 to 20 people and send them to labor camps. But his suggestion was dismissed by Xi Jinping’s office and a message was passed to Guangzhou authorities through the PLAC not to send anyone to forced labor. 

The source told Boxun that Qi was relatively hardline in suppressing dissent over the years, but when Xi took over as new leader, it signaled a change in course. After Qi’s request to suppress the protesters was denied, he was criticized by his superiors. Then came the suicide.

On Jan. 9, Zhang Wanxiong, Deputy Chief of Justice of the Liangzhou District People’s Court in Wuwei City of Gansu Province, also committed suicide by jumping out of a 6th floor court house window.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

Read the original Chinese article.

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