Morning Clicks
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 7:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 9:43am

Regional heads of China's re-education through labour system have heard nothing from Beijing, say state media

China abroad | China at home

Chinese legal expert Jerome Cohen today explains why the recent statement by security tsar Meng Jianzhu, that the practice of re-education through labour ('laojiao') will no longer be in use after 2013, could mean little or exactly what it implies:

It is possible, of course, to interpret Meng's statement to mean that re-education through labour might soon be abolished, not suspended or perpetuated under another name. Indeed, a decade ago, during a brief period of popular pressure for political-legal reform, some influential Chinese experts flatly predicted that the National People's Congress was about to abolish it. Yet that did not happen, and there was so little agreement about the content of the proposed legislation that no draft was made public. A similar attempt failed in 2010.

Today, the demand for a law to eliminate re-education through labour appears to be stronger.

Either way, we're likely not to know for sure before March when Xi Jinping's administration formally takes power.

Also today comes the news that heads of the re-education through labour system in at least six regions have told state media there still has been no indication of possible forthcoming changes:

The state-run Global Times Tuesday said officials in at least six regions across China have received no information about proposed changes to the so-called "re-education through labor" system.

At Tea Leaf Nation, Yueran Zhang looks at the issue in consideration that Chinese media reports on Meng's statement were quickly deleted and Xinhua released a revised version:

China’s web users, immersed in joy and celebration when the original news came, were left in confusion.

The hurried change of wording may reflect policymakers’ ambivalence towards laojiao. On one hand, public opinion, inflamed by a series of infamous laojiao cases in 2012, consistently calls for an end to the system. On the other, with 60 years of history, the system has become part of China’s institutional structure, such that any reform could incur strong resistance from authorities and interest groups at all levels.

China abroad

Agence France-Presse
-- China fund may cut US debt holdings: report China's sovereign wealth fund, which has more than $480 billion in assets, could cut holdings of US Treasury Bonds as they are becoming a less attractive investment, state media said Tuesday.

CBS
-- NASA releases images of Beijing air pollution The first image, from January 14, shows China smothered by a layer of haze. The grey and yellow-tinged clouds visable on the map are areas heavily affected by air pollution.

Center for Strategic and International Studies
-- Comparative Connections v.14 n.3 - China-Southeast Asia Several high-level exchanges emphasized the promise of increased beneficial relations for those who support or acquiesce to Chinese territorial claims. ASEAN remained in disarray and the prospect for moving forward on a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea seemed unlikely.

China Labour Bulletin
-- Nowhere left to run for factory owners in Asia When the cost of labour started to rise in China a few years ago, many manufacturers thought it would be a smart move to decamp to smaller Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia where wages were a lot lower and the pro-business government made it easy for them to set up shop.

Daily Yomiuri
-- Abe diplomacy starts with Southeast Asia / With wary eye on China, PM aims to revitalize economy, revive Japan's position in growing region "Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have potential for growth. I'd like to strengthen Japan's relationships with these nations while forming a larger international economic system," Abe said on an NHK program Sunday.

Voice of America
-- Investment Figures Show Billions of Dollars from China Those investment numbers, from the Council for the Development of Cambodia, from 1994 to 2011, do not take into account a number of newer investments, including a 400-kilometer rail line, a steel plant and sea port, worth another $11 billion.

China at home

Asahi Shimbun
-- Xi questions propaganda chief’s handling of censorship row In an apparent attempt to quell the uproar over censorship, Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed displeasure toward the media control division and said he would not punish journalists who disobeyed its latest order, sources said.

Caixin
-- Setting Economic Reform in Stone, China's Way No one doubts that China's reform and opening campaign has been powering the nation's economic miracle for some 35 years. But in the late 1980s, the campaign's direction was seriously challenged. China was on the verge of backtracking. It came close to reviving old norms of the planned economy. And then something happened.

ChinaFile
-- Will Xi Jinping Differ from His Predecessors? Nathan discusses newly installed Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s relationship to his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, the likelihood of political reform under Xi, and what the composition of the leadership might look like five years from now after some of China’s newly appointed leaders retire.

Computerworld
-- China now has 564 million Internet users China's Internet population reached 564 million at the end of December, an increase of 26 million over the past six months, according to a non-profit research group in the country.

McKinsey Quarterly
-- What’s in store for China in 2013? This year could mark the start of a more fundamental transformation that will last several years. Most banks, after all, realize they need to find a different economic and business model, given growth rates that comfortably exceed returns on equity and unsustainable rates of capital consumption.

openDemocracy
-- Xi Jinping: a new kind of politician? Just months into Xi Jinping’s tenure as Chinese Communist Party leader, one thing has become eminently clear – in both style and substance, Xi Jinping is no Hu Jintao. 

People's Daily
-- China to invest heavily on railway infrastructure China's railway infrastructure investment will maintain rapid growth this year, with 600 billion yuan to 630 billion yuan to be invested, several industry insiders said. According to the 12th Five-Year Plan, China will spend over 1.3 trillion yuan building more than 20,000 kilometers of railways from 2013 to 2015.

Tea Leaf Nation
-- Why Abolishing China’s Hated Labor Camp System Is Harder Than It Sounds The Xinhua News Agency confirmed the news later that day. But this auspicious tweet was deleted within a few hours, as were relevant news articles on major portals. According to a revised Xinhua News Agency release, the laojiao system was to be “reformed” rather than “ended.”

Voice of America
-- State Media: No Change at China's Forced Labor Camps The state-run Global Times Tuesday said officials in at least six regions across China have received no information about proposed changes to the so-called "re-education through labor" system.

Share

 

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive