. China News .

Chinese man wrongly sent to labour camp: panel
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 12, 2012

A Chinese man who served two years in a "re-education through labour" camp is entitled to compensation after a local panel ruled he was unlawfully sent there, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Peng Hong was sent to the camp near his hometown of Chongqing in September 2009 for two years after re-posting a political cartoon mocking an anti-crime crackdown in the southwestern city, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said Peng should receive 160 yuan ($25) in compensation for each day spent at the camp after a local panel overseeing the education through reform system ruled officials had acted wrongly by sending him there.

"According to the rules of re-education through labour, they should not have punished him this way," Pu said, adding that he was confident the compensation money would be received.

Peng was punished for mocking an aggressive campaign that put thousands of people behind bars, with even top judicial official Wen Qiang sentenced to death and executed. It also drew accusations of human rights abuses and torture.

China's "re-education through labour" system came under fire last month after a mother was sentenced to 18 months for protesting what she called insufficient punishment for seven men who had forced her daughter into prostitution.

Tang Hui's sentence drew public outrage, prompting authorities in central Hunan province to reverse the decision and promise to review the case, state media reported.

Re-education through labour was introduced in 1957 as a quicker method of handling minor offences. Suspects are sentenced by an administrative panel, bypassing the judicial process.

The system nets a wide range of citizens, from drug offenders to petitioners to members of outlawed religions.

The national parliament has considered reforms to the system since at least 2005 but has not passed related legislation.

Chongqing officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

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