Home / China / National News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Lawyers Want 'Slavery' Added to Criminal Law
Adjust font size:

Lawyers have suggested the addition of a "slavery" crime in the Criminal Law in the wake of last month's labor scandal that shocked the country.

In a letter submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) last week, the All-China Lawyers Association (ACLA) said there were no existing laws to criminalize slavery, and therefore it was impossible to effectively deter or punish people for such a crime.

It was suggested that anyone found guilty of enslaving another by means of violence or economic means should receive a sentence of up to life in prison, Wu Ge, chairman of the ACLA's constitution and human rights committee, who initiated the suggestion, said.

He said in an interview yesterday that although the slave trade had disappeared, cases still occasionally arose.

"So it is necessary to make slavery a crime in law," he said, adding that the current stipulations are too mild.

The existing Criminal Law states only the punishments for illegal detention and forced labor, saying anyone who illegally detains another person or forces others to work shall receive a sentence up to three years if no severe bodily injury is involved.

Longer jail terms or even the death penalty could be meted out only in the case of severe bodily harm or death.

Wu said the association had received no feedback from the NPC. Calls to the Standing Committee rang unanswered yesterday.

According to the NPC legislation schedule, the review of the seventh amendment of the Criminal Law will take place next month.

However, not everyone agrees with the lawyers' suggestion.

Chen Xingliang, director of the criminal law research center at Peking University, considers it unnecessary to add a new crime to the law.

"It's better to revise the existing stipulations and spell out heavier punishments," he said, adding that the crime of slavery was actually the same in nature as forced labor.

Ma Kechang, a professor at Wuhan University who had been involved in previous Criminal Law amendments, said in a telephone interview that whether to add a new crime needs investigation.

"It's improper to set a crime for certain isolated cases," he said.

Xin Chunying, deputy chairperson of the NPC Law Committee, said last month that the existing laws were enough to punish the illegal kiln bosses and thugs.

The problem lay in the implementation, she said.

The use of slave workers in Shanxi and Henan provinces caused public outrage.

After the exposure, police raided a kiln in Caosheng village in Shanxi and freed 31 workers, the youngest of whom was 14. On Wednesday, five people went on trial for it on the charges of illegal detention, forced labor and assault. No verdict has been given yet.

(China Daily July 10, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- 2 Officials Detained in Kiln Slavery Scandal
- Woman Breaks Silence on Sex Slavery Horror
- More Foremen Wanted on Forced Labor Scandal
- Crackdown to Target Slave Labor
Most Viewed >>