Labor Pains

By Righter, Rosemary | Newsweek, January 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Labor Pains


Righter, Rosemary, Newsweek


Byline: Rosemary Righter

Will China ever reform its prison camps?

on jan. 7, Meng Jianzhu, the recently appointed head of the Communist Party's Central Politics and Law Commission, made a historic announcement. He informed a legal conference that Mao Zedong's loathed "reeducation through labor" system, known as laojiao, would be scrapped as soon as the National People's Congress stamps the reform this March.

Mao thought up laojiao back in 1957--as a way to get rid of his enemies. Police can pick up people and send them without formal charge, legal representation, or trial for up to four years of detention with hard labor. The system serves as a method for "disappearing" into grim labor camps any inconvenient Chinese citizens, prostitutes, petitioners against injustice, members of sects such as Falun Gong, and--in a notorious recent case--a mother demanding heavier sentences for the gang who raped her 11-year-old daughter and sold her into prostitution (the woman was later released). More than 150,000 Chinese suffer in this extralegal hell. No single reform would be more effective for a better China than its abolition.

Yet within hours, Meng's statement, unmistakable in the official transcript of the meeting, had been "rephrased" in the official media: on the agenda was reform, not termination. Reform could merely lay a veneer of legality over the previously extralegal system. Already, a controversial new law, Article 73, specifically authorizes secret detention of people suspected of crimes related to state security, terrorism, or serious corruption. In what is believed to be the first Article 73 arrest, only hours after Meng spoke, police hauled off a man for daring to question the suspicious death of an activist.

Xi Jinping, China's smiling new boss, has made his first big mistake. Admittedly he is in a bind. Far from being the "harmonious society" proclaimed by his predecessor, Hu Jintao, China is seething with malcontents, manifested in some 200,000 "mass incidents" a year. Xi is under huge public pressure, not just from the urban young but from very senior party intellectuals, to do more than just talk about reform. But there is equally strong resistance, among party hardliners and also among "realists," who argue that reforms that genuinely subject the party to the rule of law would end up destroying it--because, almost by definition, the party is a law unto itself. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Labor Pains
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.