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Laojiao (劳教 short for 劳动教养) means re-education through labor in Chinese.

The re-education through labor system was formed in 1957 during the 78th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), when the committee issued its "Decision about the Issue of Re-education through Labor."

Not in accordance with any codes of laws, the system is a kind disciplinary penalty based on the 1957 Decision and related rules and regulations of the State Council. It allows police to detain suspects for up to four years without any open trial. Suspects have their personal freedoms restricted and are forced to engage in manual labor and accept ideological education during their detention period.

The system is so controversial that it has met considerable resistance in the implementation process. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China stipulates that citizens' freedoms are inviolable. No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a People's Procuratorate or by decision of a People's Court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ.

In recent years, popular support for abolishing the controversial system is rising to unprecedented heights. Many deputies to the National People's Congress and delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have submitted motions, proposals or suggestions on the issue during annual sessions.

On Jan. 7, 2013, Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Committee of Political and Legal Affairs under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), told a national political and legal work conference that the CPC Central Committee, after deliberation on the issue, has decided that reforms to the re-education through labor system will be advanced this year once the NPC Standing Committee gives approval, Xinhua News Agency reported. Meng also said that prior to the NPC Standing Committee's approval of the policy shift, the use of re-education through labor penalties should be strictly controlled, and the system should no longer be applied to petitioners.

On Nov. 15, 2013, according to a key policy document of the CPC, China will abolish the "re-education through labor" system as part of a major effort to protect human rights.

On Dec. 28, lawmakers of the National People's Congress's Standing Committee officially abolished the controversial reeducation through labor system.