A Chinese province said it is suspending use of a harsh, gulag-like prison system commonly used around the country to stifle dissent, in the strongest signal yet that officials may be phasing out the widely criticized practice.
State media on Wednesday reported authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan said they would immediately suspend a practice known as re-education through labor, or laojiao in Chinese. The camps allow local authorities to detain those suspected of wrongdoing for up to four years without an open trial. Human-rights groups allege those detained in re-education-through-labor camps are subjected to physical abuse by guards and long hours of physical labor in mines, brick factories and in other tough working conditions.
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