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The End of Reeducation Through Labor? Recent Developments and Prospects for Reform

A broadcast of a roundtable discussion by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China

May 9, 2013 11:00am to 12:30pm

Under China's reeducation through labor system, Chinese officials can order citizens to be held in reeducation through labor centers for up to four years without a trial or legal representation. There are no definitive figures, but hundreds of thousands of Chinese may currently be held in these centers. The system has come under sharp criticism for violating the rule of law, imposing harsh conditions and forced labor on detainees, and in some cases targeting religious practitioners, rights activists, bloggers, and those seeking redress for official abuses. In recent months, high-profile and controversial cases have led to public calls to abolish the system—which have even been supported by China's state-run media. Chinese officials in turn have raised hopes this year of major reform of the system, including a March statement by Premier Li Keqiang on the government's plans to introduce reform by the end of the year. At this CECC roundtable, a panel of experts will discuss recent developments and the prospects for reform.

This hearing will be webcast live.


Ira Belkin, Executive Director, U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law
Li Xiaorong, Independent Scholar
Margaret K. Lewis, Associate Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School
Harry Wu, Founder and Executive Director, Laogai Research Foundation

Click here to download a copy of the Commission's full 2012 Annual Report.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization, is mandated by law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. The Commission by mandate also maintains a database of information on political prisoners in China-individuals who have been imprisoned by the Chinese government for exercising their civil and political rights under China's Constitution and laws or under China's international human rights obligations. All of the Commission's reporting and its Political Prisoner Database are available to the public online via the Commission's Web site,