China pledged on Monday to reform its laojiao system, the first sign of long-awaited progress after a senior official had promised to modify the controversial re-education-through-labor system.
The government will push reforms of the system this year, according to a national political and legal work conference on Monday, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the official statement released after the meeting.
The system allows public-security officers and other authorized personnel to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.
The system has made headlines for months, as several cases of people being wrongfully sent for laojiao prompted public scrutiny of the 50-year-old method of punishment.
Jiang Wei, an official in charge of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform, conceded at a news conference in October that there are loopholes in the system.
He said the authorities are working on a draft plan to reform the penalty.
Currently, four cities, including Nanjing of Jiangsu province and Jinan of Shandong province, have rolled out pilot programs for the reform.
Legal fairness urged
Party chief Xi Jinping has also urged law enforcement authorities to heed people's expectations on public security, judicial fairness and rights protection.
It is the second time Xi has called on law enforcement officials to meet public expectations since he was elected leader of the Communist Party of China in November.
On Monday, he repeated his plea in an instruction to senior law enforcement officials before they gathered for a nationwide work conference on political and legal affairs.
In the instruction, Xi called for strict management of police officers, and urged officials to oppose unfairness and judicial corruption, as well as improve the affinity and credibility of political and legal work.