'Laojiao' system reform responsive to people's concerns

Updated: 2013-01-08 22:30


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BEIJING - The national political and legal work conference which concluded on Tuesday announced that four major reforms, including changes to the "laojiao" system, or re-education through labor system, will be pushed forward this year.

The other three areas are the household registration, petition and judicial power operation systems, all of which are crucial to ensure social fairness or judical justice.

The four selected areas are exactly the ones over which Chinese people have expressed most concern.

Re-education through labor allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.

Over recent years, with Chinese people's awareness of human rights increased, it has been widely questioned. Experts have argued that it contradicts high-level laws.

Last August, a woman in Central China's Hunan province was sentenced to 18 months in a labor camp after demanding tougher penalties for the seven men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her 11-year-old daughter.

Tang Hui, however, was released within a week following complaints from academics, state media and the public.

Guaranteeing the rule of law is extremely important for the long-term stability of China at this time - a golden era for development, but also one that is witnessing a variety of social contradictions emerging.

To guarantee the rule of law, it is not just individuals that must obey the law. Public institutions are no exception. Judicial workers and policemen should take the lead in performing their duties legally.

The determination to deepen reform in the four areas outlined in the conference demonstrates that China's political and legal organs are responsive to people's concerns and expectations.

The conference also required judicial workers and policemen to strengthen their communication with society in the new media era, and to resist corruption.

Actions will speak louder than words in all these areas, however. People are expecting more concrete efforts to be taken in the reform of the "laojiao" system, as well as in other reforms in 2013.