Beijing: China`s dreaded labour camps, where critics of the ruling Communist Party were used to be sent to get transformed through hard labour, are set to be transformed into drug rehab centres to avoid their closure.
The decision to abolish the camps were taken during last week`s key ruling Communist Party leadership meet.
The labour camp also known as centre for re-education in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China`s Yunnan Province, will be transformed into a drug rehab centre, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The key policy document of the Plenum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) published Friday said that China will abolish the "reeducation through labour" system as part of a major effort to protect human rights.
The controversial correction system, commonly known as "Laojiao," began in the 1950s to deal with critics and protestors.
Currently a Laojiao committee consists of government departments such as police, civil affairs and education departments.
It is able to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.
Although the system is to be abolished, the future role of Laojiao facilities and what will happen to their personnel remain uncertain.
"The key to the functional changing of the former Laojiao sites is to advocate a greater role for the local society, based on the existing infrastructure," Kong Shuhua, director of the Justice Bureau of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture said.
Xishuangbanna borders on Myanmar and Laos and is very close to one of the major drug sources in the world, the Golden Triangle.
It has struggled to deal with drug issues in recent years.
Rehabilitation and further medical and psychological help have become a major part of drug control work there.
"The new rehab centre will provide compulsory drug rehabilitation treatment for addicts, and help them find self confidence again," Kong said.
Reports said that the Laojiao site in southern part of the city will become a prison.
According to the CPC policy document, laws concerning correction and punishment will be revamped, and community correction systems improved.
"The reeducation through labour system has accomplished its historical mission. China has a much improved legal system now," Wang Qiliang, associate dean of Law School in Yunnan University said.