Saturday, November 16, 2013

China Tackles One-Child Policy, Death Penalty, & Labor Camps | China Power | The Diplomat

The National Peoples Congress, the legislature,
plays an important role in key domestic policy changes
Update: Statement of Plenum of 18th CC of China CP, November 12, 2013
The instinct is to dismiss out of hand Chinese CP rhetoric like "learn from the masses", etc. but Chinese policies do change, and not through open contested elections, and only within a relatively narrow universe of discourse (ours is narrow too but it has different parameters).  Our focus on individual rights doesn't serve very well to explain how China changes.  The CP's focus is more like "what policies are needed to improve living conditions, and retain the confidence (or at least cooperation) of the populace?   That individuals are treated fairly is of course important - because unfairness to one is likely to lead to mass dissatisfaction.  But the CP really does pursue a "mass line". Witness these policy shifts.  - GWC
China Tackles One-Child Policy, Death Penalty, & Labor Camps | China Power | The Diplomat:
by Zachary Keck
The new policy will allow couples have two children as long as one of parents was an only child themselves. The Xinhua report suggested that this policy will continue to be tinkered with to support the CCP’s population goals.
Changes to the one-child policy were widely expected since March when the National People’s Congress broke up the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the agency that has enforced the one-child policy. The one-child policy has led to extreme imbalances in China’s population including a rapidly gaining population that will strain the country’s social safety net in the years ahead.
Other social reforms decided upon at the Third Plenum include law and order issues. For instance, the CCP Central Committee has decided to abolish China’s labor camps. Throughout 2013 there were reports that Xi Jinping and the Politburo Standing Committee members—many of whom were condemned to forced labor during the Cultural Revolution—were preparing to end the use of labor camps. However, these expectations were called into question last week when Reuters reported that conservatives within the CCP had blocked Xi from acting on this policy. This report appears to have been inaccurate.
Another law and order issue addressed in the decisions resolution is the death penalty. Although China doesn’t release official figures on the number of state executions it carries out, most outside estimates say that China puts more people to death each year then the rest of the world combined. Crimes punishable by death in China include drug trafficking and, according to some reports this year, possibly polluting.
According to Xinhua, the CCP’s Third Plenum decision document says that China will reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty “step by step.” This, however, is consistent with prevailing trends in which China has put less people and stopped carrying out executions for certain crimes.
Xinhua also reported, citing the decisions resolution, that “the country will work to ban extorting confessions through torture and physical abuse.” It did not specify if this would extend to the Party’s own internal discipline body, which is widely believed to use torture in its interrogations of Party members expected of wrong doing.
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