The penal system in China is mostly composed of an administrative detention system and a judicial incarceration system. As of mid 2015, it is reported prisoners held in prisons managed by Ministry of Justice is 1,649,804, result in a population rate of 118 per 100,000. Detainees in Ministry of Public Security facilities is 650,000 as of 2009, which combined would result in a population rate of 164 per 100,000. China also retained the use of death penalty with the approval right reserved to the Supreme People's Court, and have a system of death penalty with reprieve where the sentence is suspended unless the convicted commit another major crime within two years while detained. There are discussion urging increased use of community correction, and debate are ongoing to have Ministry of Justice oversee administrative detainees as well to prevent police from having too much power.
Prisons managed by Ministry of Justice held 1,649,804 prisoners at mid-2015, result in a population rate of 118 per 100,000. Adding the number of detainees in Ministry of Public Security's detention centers of 650,000 reported at 2009, would result a total population of 2,300,000, and raise the rate to 164 per 100,000. In the same report, It is noted that female prisoners account for about 6.5%, juvenile for 0.8% and foreigners for 0.4% of the total prisoners population in Ministry of Justice's facilities.
Public security departments, People's Procuratorates, People's Courts and Supervisory Commissions can issue detention order, and the detainees are usually held in facilities managed by public security departments, though supervisory commissions usually take care of their own detainees. State security department have similar rights and functions as public security departments.
Delegates of the congress or local people's congress above county-level during their term are exempt from detention or criminal prosecution without prior approval from the standing committee of the corresponding legislature.
Public Security officers can summon civilian for investigative purposes, and can use force when the civilian refuse to cooperate and when approved by a superior officer. Public Security Administration Punishment Law states police should not question citizen on grounds authorized exceed eight hours, unless the citizen has violation that could result in administrative detention, in which case, the questioning could be extended to 24 hours. Criminal Procedure Law states the police should not question someone for more than twelve hours, unless that someone is a major suspect of a crime, in which case it could be extended to twenty four hours.
If the police found enough evidence for a crime, they can submit it to a procurator and ask permission for arrest, or if there is limited evidence or considered misdemeanor, they can impose administrative detention for up to fourteen days.
The procuratorates can approve arrest when there is a reasonable ground with requests from the police or sometimes on their own for public-servants-related crimes they investigate (which function has since been absorbed by Supervisory Commissions), after which the suspect is placed into Criminal (investigative) detention, which can last for two months, and with approval from superior office, can be extended to seven months.
The people's courts can summon citizens and with approval from its Chief Judge, detain those who disrupt judicial process or refuse to cooperate. Judicial detention be as long as fourteen days, usually under facilities of public security departments. It is authorized on different grounds in Criminal Procedure Law, Civil Procedure Law and Administrative Procedure Law.
The supervisory commissions (established in March 2018) can detain civil servants and politicians who are suspected of corruption when they have reasonable amount of evidence. Detentions must be approved by a superior commission or the national commission.Political detention, or Liuzhi, can be applied for up to three month, which can be extended once for up to three month when approved from a superior commission. Civil servants detained are not always allowed to see anyone, including their lawyer. This is authorized under Supervision Law.
The public security and state security departments are the two departments under the administrative branch that can limit one's freedom. For violation o Administration Penalty Law, the police can impose penalties on their own, though those detained can file administrative review to its supervising department or file administrative lawsuit to a court.
Administrative detention for misdemeanors outlined in Administrative Penalty Law for up to fifteen days or twenty days for multiple misdemeanors. Teenager of sixteen years old or less and women who are pregnant or feeding an infant less than one years old are exempt. Teenager aged sixteen to eighteen are exempt from their first misdemeanor.
Compulsory rehabilitation may be imposed on drug addicts who refuse or failed community rehabilitation or who began to reuse after previous community rehabilitation for a duration of two years ordinarily. Public security organ issue the order for compulsory rehabilitation. Rehabilitation centers are often run by the public security organs and, in some places, judicial administrative organs. There are concerns if this gives the public security organ too much power with little or no oversight. The effectiveness of compulsory rehabilitation is also questioned, and it is more often seen as a deterrence than rehabilitation.
For those who are prosecuted and found guilty, the court may sentence them to following penalties that limit one's freedom in accordance with the law:
Public surveillance or Guanzhi (literally, Control) requires no jail time, and the convicted can return to his community immediately but must report their activities to the local police department or judicial administrative department regularly for the duration designated by the court from a minimum three months to a maximum two years, and with multiple crimes combined sentencing can reach three years. Guanzhi also require one's freedom of speech, association, publishing, protest etc. be limited unless approved by the designated reporting agency, though one can still vote and hold public offices. For those under Guanzhi, right to equal pay at work is protected by law.
Criminal detention or Juyi range from one month to six months in a place near one's residence, overseen by the local police department and the convicted is allowed return home one or two days per month. They may need to work while detained and will receive some pay.
Fixed-term imprisonment will range from six months to fifteen years, or when guilty of multiple crimes, the maximum will be twenty years or the combined sentenced time, whichever is less. If reduced from death penalty, the term will be twenty five years. If reduced from life imprisonment, the term will be twenty years.
Life imprisonment can almost always be reduced to fixed-term, though total time served must be no less than ten years. Life without parole was enacted into the Criminal Law on Dec 11, 2015, is applicable to those convicted with embezzlement.
Death penalty with two years reprieve will be commuted to life imprisonment if the convicted did not commit another serious crime within the two year period or fixed-term imprisonment if the convicted helped solve a major crime or contributed the society greatly. Death penalty with reprieve, without parole can be automatically reduced to life without parole if another crime is not committed within the two year period, from which point the sentence can no longer be commuted.
Death penalty with immediate execution must be approved by the Supreme People's Court. Death penalty is not applicable to pregnant women, minors, and in most cases seniors more than seventy years old. If a women is found pregnant anytime while detained or incarcerated before execution even if she miscarried, the execution will be cancelled, and the sentence reverted, and the court must redetermine appropriate sentence.
If sentenced to imprisonment of any kind, pre-trial time detained will be deducted from the actual time needed to serve, and for those sentenced to public surveillance, one day detained will be count as two days served.
Prisons are managed by prison administration of local departments of justice, and detention centers are managed by police departments. For those sentenced to administrative or criminal detention, the holding cells are administrated by local police department. For those sentenced to fixed term or life imprisonment or death penalty, they are admitted into prisons managed by local prison administration overseen by Prison Administration Beaureu of Ministry of Justice.
Detention centers are managed by local public security department, overseen by Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the condition of those detention centers varies as there are no clear law on its operation but only internal regulations made by MPS and provincial department of public security.
Administrative Detention Center or Juliu Suo, literally "detain and stay facility", is used for administrative or judicial detention for usually less than fifteen days. It is usually located within a public security station and guarded by the police. The detained are usually released within fifteen days.
General Detention Center or Kanshou Suo, literally "watch and guard facility", is used for suspect of an ongoing criminal investigation as authorized by procurators or criminal detention as sentenced by court. Fixed-term imprisonment with less than three months of actual sentence at the time of the verdict is also served here. The perimeter of these facilities are watched by the People's Armed Police (PAP), but administrated by the public security department.
Those who are punished or sentenced for a short time are not required to do labour, but those who are sentenced for a long time may need to.
Sometimes these detention centers are located in the same place or closely together, with certain degree of separation.
Prisons are usually large in size and are supervised by Bureau of Prison Administration under the Ministry of Justice in accordance of the Prison Law. The only exception is Qincheng Prison, which is managed by Ministry of Public Security and is reported to have held high profile convicts. Prisons are headed by a warden and few deputies, with a team of police. The administrators of the prison are People's Police. The perimeter of these facilities are watched by People's Armed Police. A Procurator's Office supervise the prisons that falls under its jurisdiction, who are to ensure the rights of the prisoners and the lawful operation of the prison. The Prisons are reportedly to have better living condition than detention centers operated by the public security station depending on the location.Female prisoners and juvenile offenders are held in separate facilities other than male adult prisoners.
The prisoner shall do labour and receive compensation.It was reported that most prisons uses a point-based system, where the prisoners who passed their line will receive extra compensation based on the extra points they have. The judge for commutation trial will also consider labour record as evidence for good behavior. The prison shall have classroom and reading room, and the prisoners shall receive education. The prisoner shall receive promptly medical treatment. Prison shall be equipped with an infirmary. The prisons use a point-based system to evaluate the behavior of the prisoners.
Female prisoners are held in separate facilities where they will be watched by female officers, male officers are generally not allowed in these facilities and when they must need to meet with prisoner for official purposes, they must be accompanied by a female officer.
As stipulated by law, those who are sentenced and below the age of eighteen will be sent to juvenile facilities, and for those who reach the age of eighteen while detained, if their remaining sentence is less than two years, they will not be transferred. 
Since the debut of Community Correction Bill in 2016, discussion have heated. Though various ways of community correction had long been teased since 2003 and is part of the Eighth Amendment of the Criminal Law in 2011, practice varied as to how to implement it as there is no clear instruction. As a result, those who should be in community correction programs largely remained free, besides their monthly reporting duty to the police station. And because of that, community correction is rarely granted to prisoners applied other than for medical reasons. The legislation on community correction is expected to increase the use of such measures and as a result reduce prisoner population and combat recidivism by better acclimatize prisoners to the society.
Commutation is offered to prisoners with good behavior, and should the administration of the prisons apply for commutation or parole, the intermediate court of whose jurisdiction the prison falls in, will open trial to decide on commutations and paroles based on material provided and based on testimonies of the prisoners themselves, the guard and the cellmates. The procuratorate of the same jurisdiction will send representative in these trials. For those who are sentenced to life or death penalty with reprieve, the commutations and paroles of theirs will be heard at the high court of corresponding jurisdiction.
The Constitution grants power to Standing Committee of National People's Congress to decide on a pardon, and the President to sign and release it. On August 28, 2015, President Xi signed the pardon order which result in the release of over thirty thousands prisoners, most of whom have participated in the War of Resistance or the Communist Revolution. This is the eighth time of such pardon, and first time after Mao's decease and of this scale.
Corruption in China post-1949 refers to the abuse of political power for private ends typically by members of the Chinese Communist Party, who hold the majority of power in the People's Republic of China. Since the Chinese economic reforms began, corruption has been attributed to "organizational involution" caused by the market liberalization reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping. Like other socialist economies that have undertaken economic reforms, such as post-Soviet Eastern Europe and Central Asia, reform-era China has experienced increasing levels of corruption.Cadre corruption in China has been subject to significant media attention since Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping announced his Anti-corruption campaign following the 18th National Congress which was held in November 2012.Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 77th place out of 180 countries. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, patronage, and statistical falsification.Public surveys on the mainland since the late 1980s have shown that it is among the top concerns of the general public. According to Yan Sun, Associate Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York, it was cadre corruption, rather than a demand for democracy as such, that lay at the root of the social dissatisfaction that led to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Corruption undermines the legitimacy of the CPC, adds to economic inequality, undermines the environment, and fuels social unrest.Since the June 4 incident, corruption has not slowed down as a result of greater economic freedom, but instead has grown more entrenched and severe in its character and scope. Business deals often involve corruption. In popular perception, there are more dishonest CPC officials than honest ones, a reversal of the views held in the first decade of reform of the 1980s. China specialist Minxin Pei argues that failure to contain widespread corruption is among the most serious threats to China's future economic and political stability. Bribery, kickbacks, theft, and waste of public funds costs at least three percent of GDP, he estimates.
Many high ranking government and military officials have been found guilty of corruption since Xi came to power in 2012.Jieyang Prison
Jieyang Prison (Chinese: 揭阳监狱; pinyin: Jiēyáng jiānyù) is a prison in Guangdong province, China. It was formerly named as Dongjing Labor Reform Detachment. The prison is governed by the Guangdong Prison Administrative Bureau. In 1982 the prison housed around 700 inmates, and in late 1995 the number of inmates was approximately 3,900.Judicial system of China
The judicial branch, organized under the constitution and law, is one of five organs of power elected by the People's Congress, in the People's Republic of China.
According to constitution, the court system is to exercise judicial power independently and free of interference from administrative organs, public organizations, and individuals. Though the Party's Political and Legal Affairs Commissions set up to coordinate political and legal affairs have some influence over the court system.Hong Kong and Macau have separate court systems, as mandated by the Constitution and respective Basic law, due to their status as former colonies.Laogai
Laogai (simplified Chinese: 劳改; traditional Chinese: 勞改; pinyin: Láogǎi), the abbreviation for Láodòng Gǎizào (劳动改造; 勞動改造), which means "reform through labor", is used to refer to abolished criminal justice system and has been used to refer to the use of penal labour and prison farms in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Láogǎi is different from láojiào, or re-education through labor, which was the abolished administrative detention system for people who were not criminals but had committed minor offenses, and was intended to "reform offenders into law-abiding citizens". Persons who were detained in the laojiao were detained in facilities that were separate from those which comprised the general prison system of the laogai. Both systems, however, were based on penal labor.
In 1994 the laogai camps were renamed "prisons". However, Chinese Criminal Law still stipulates that prisoners able to work shall "accept education and reform through labor". The existence of an extensive network of forced-labor camps producing consumer goods for export to Europe and the United States became classified. Publication of information about China's prison system by Al Jazeera English resulted in its expulsion from China on May 7, 2012.The system has been estimated to have caused tens of millions of deaths and it has also been likened to slavery by its critics.Laogai Museum
The Laogai Museum is a museum in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., United States, which showcases human rights in the People's Republic of China, focusing particularly on the Láogǎi, the Chinese prison system of "Reform through Labor". The creation of the museum was spearheaded by Harry Wu, a well-known Chinese dissident who himself served 19 years in laogai prisons; it was supported by the Yahoo! Human Rights Fund. It opened to the public on 12 November 2008, and Wu's non-profit research organization (the Laogai Research Foundation) calls it the first museum in the United States to directly address the issue of human rights in China.Laogai Research Foundation
The Laogai Research Foundation is a human rights NGO located in Washington, D.C, United States. The foundation's mission is to "gather information on and raise public awareness of the Laogai—China's extensive system of forced-labor prison camps."Legal history of China
The origin of the current law of the People's Republic of China can be traced back to the period of the early 1930s, during the establishment of the Chinese Soviet Republic. In 1931 the first supreme court was established. Though the contemporary legal system and laws have no direct links to traditional Chinese law, their impact and influence of historical norms still exist.
In the period between 1980 and 1987,important progress was made in replacing the rule of men with the rule of law. Laws originally passed in 1979 and earlier were amended and augmented, and law institutes and university law departments that had been closed during the Cultural Revolution were opened to train lawyers and court personnel. It was only a beginning, but important steps had been taken in developing a viable legal system and making the government and the courts answerable to an objective standard.Life imprisonment in China
Life imprisonment in China is legal for a variety of crimes. It is an indeterminate punishment, is the second most serious punishment in the country, and may last for the remainder of the convict's life. Those sentenced to life imprisonment can be eligible for parole after 13 years of the original sentence having been actually served. Since 2015 amendments made to the Criminal Law, those sentenced to life imprisonment may have no possibility of parole if they are convicted of extremely serious economic crimes, murder, terrorism or hijacking. Pardon can be issued by the National People's Congress. Inmates sentenced to life imprisonment are also required to serve some time in solitary confinement. Those under 18 are also subjected to life imprisonment.
Although life imprisonment does not exist as a mandatory punishment in China, the following crimes may carry life imprisonment:
3rd Conviction of Burglary
CorruptionPolitical offences in China
This is a list of political offences in China. During the Maoist era, particularly during the Anti-Rightist Movement and the Cultural Revolution, the judicial system of China was often used for political persecution of rivals, and penalties such as jail terms or capital punishment were largely imposed on the authority's political enemies, or anyone who dared to challenge it. During those times, vague accusations such as "counter-revolutionary" (反革命), Capitalist roader (走資本主义路线), "running dog of the imperialist " (帝国主义走狗) could have had the accused imprisoned, or shot by firing squad. These labels fell out of use following the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.
In more recent times, accusations such as "possession of state secret" (拥有国家机密) and "inciting subversion of state power" (煽动推翻国家政权) carry long jail terms. The vague charge of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" has also been frequently used to detain human rights activists.Re-education through labor
Re-education through labor (RTL; simplified Chinese: 劳动教养; traditional Chinese: 勞動教養; pinyin: láodòng jiàoyǎng), abbreviated laojiao (simplified Chinese: 劳教; traditional Chinese: 勞教; pinyin: láojiào) was a system of administrative detention in Mainland China. The system was active from 1957 to 2013, and it was used to detain persons who were accused of minor crimes such as petty theft, prostitution, and trafficking illegal drugs, as well as political dissidents, petitioners, and cult followers. It was separate from the much larger laogai system of prison labor camps.
Sentences under re-education through labor were typically for one to three years, with the possibility of an additional one-year extension. They were issued as a form of administrative punishment by police, rather than through the judicial system. While they were incarcerated, detainees were often subject to some form of political education. Estimates on the number of RTL detainees on any given year range from 190,000 to two million. In 2013, there were approximately 350 RTL camps in operation.On December 28, 2013, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress abolished the re-education through labor system and detainees were released. However, human rights groups have observed that other forms of extrajudicial detention have taken its place, with some former RTL camps being renamed as drug rehabilitation centers.Soft detention
Soft detention (软禁) is a form of house arrest used in the People's Republic of China to control political dissidents. It has its roots in the practices of the Chinese Empire which employed it as early as the Northern Song Dynasty when those such as Su Shi who criticized the emperor were subjected to it. Traditionally, and in modern practice, there are three levels of restriction; the loosest, "juzhu", restricts the detainee to their home district. This restriction was employed on the history teacher Yuan Tengfei who included information about banned aspects of modern Chinese history in his lectures. The second level, "anzhi", employed anciently on Su Shi, restricts the prisoner to their home, but they may be allowed to go for a walk or go to work. The severest form, "bianguan", which was imposed on the human rights activist Chen Guangcheng involves limited movement of the prisoner to their home, constant surveillance, restriction of contract with others, and, sometimes, harassment.Tilanqiao Prison
The Tilanqiao Prison (Chinese: 提篮桥监狱; pinyin: Tílánqiáo Jiānyù), formerly known as the Ward Road Gaol, is a prison in Hongkou District of Shanghai, China. Originally built in the foreign-controlled Shanghai International Settlement, it is now run by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. Throughout the first forty or so years of its life it was the largest prison in the world and earned a reputation as the "Alcatraz of the Orient".Xinjiang re-education camps
Re-education camps (Uyghur: قايتا تەربىيەلەش لاگېرلىرى, ULY: Qayta terbiyelesh lagérliri, USY: Қайта тәрбийәләш лагерлири, [qɑjtɑ tærbijælæʃ lɑɡɛrliri]; Chinese: 再教育营; pinyin: zàijiàoyùyíng) is a title given to the internment camps (or concentration camps) which have been operated by the People's Republic of China Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional government for the purpose of interning Muslims since 2014. They have significantly intensified since a hardline party secretary, Chen Quanguo, took charge of the region in August 2016. These camps are reportedly operated outside of the legal system; many Uyghurs have been interned without trial and no charges have been levied against them. Local authorities are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and Muslims from other ethnic minorities in these camps, for the stated purpose of countering extremism and terrorism.As of 2018, it is estimated that the Chinese authorities may have detained hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui (Muslims) and other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians as well as some foreign citizens such as Kazakhstanis, who are kept in these secretive internment camps throughout the region. The United Nations and many international media reports have stated that more than 1 million people have been held in such "re-education camps" in recent years. In 2018, U.S. Department of Defense claimed up to 3 million could be imprisoned in detention centers and accused China of putting minority Muslims in concentration camps, in one of the strongest U.S. condemnations to date.On 24 October 2018, the BBC released the details of an extensive investigation into China's hidden concentration camps and the extent to which the People's Republic goes to maintain what it calls "correct thought". US-based journals like the Foreign Policy Journal and Center for World Indigenous Studies have labeled these policies as "cultural genocide". Some parties refer to these camps as "concentration camps". The Times of Israel wrote a piece comparing these vocational camps to the U.S. Japanese-American concentration camps during World War II as well as the British Palestine internment camps for Jews. The European Union and Turkey were invited to visit part of Xinjiang by China in order to examine the situation themselves. The EU initially declined, due to worries that the tour might be “choreographed” by the Chinese government, but it was open to visit Xinjiang at a later date.In July 2019, the United Nations ambassadors from 22 nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, signed a letter condemning China's mistreatment of the Uyghurs as well as its mistreatment of other minority groups, urging the Chinese government to close the camps. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Egypt, Russia, North Korea, the Philippines, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Palestine are among 50 other states supported China's policy in Xinjiang. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has applauded China for its public safety and counter-terrorism measures, saying that it has a "right to fight against terrorism."
Prisons in Asia