China closes labour camps, eases one-child policy

Inmates in a Chinese labor camp work under watch of a guard.
Inmates in a Chinese labor camp work under watch of a guard.

In a major announcement, the Chinese government committed today to several major changes to national policy.

The most profound change comes to China’s controversial (and unambiguously inhumane) “re-education through labour” prison camps, which are part of a forced labour program started in 1957 and which have come under national scrutiny recently for allegations of torture and other human rights violations. The camps were established during the era of Mao Zedong, and were intended to segregate political dissenters away from the general population under the guise of “re-education” or “re-socialization”; hundreds such labour camps are believed to have existed throughout the Chinese countryside at one point. In the last month, major news outlets picked up the story of a man imprisoned at one such camp who surreptitiously sent letters for help to the United States packaged in Halloween decorations sold in K-mart.

A picture of the upper half of one such letter, includes details about the camp and asks for the recipient to get help.
A picture of the upper half of one such letter, includes details about the camp and asks for the recipient to get help.

Continue reading “China closes labour camps, eases one-child policy”