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

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562 Washington, DC 20510 | Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 11:00am to 12:30pm
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

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 was webcast live.



Opening Statements: 

Statement Submitted for the Record

Representative Christopher Smith, Cochairman


Ira Belkin, Executive Director, U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law

Margaret K. Lewis, Associate Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School

Li Xiaorong, Independent Scholar

Harry Wu,Founder and Executive Director, Laogai Research Foundation