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The Two Stages of the Re-education Through Labour SystemFrom Tool of Political Struggle to Means of Social Governance

Yu Jianrong


Through a retrospective summary of the history of the re-education through labour (RTL) system, the author concludes that the emergence and development of the RTL system can be divided into two stages: its use as a tool of political struggle, and its use as a means of social governance. Although the RTL system has undergone a number of reforms in the wake of social developments, leading to significant changes in its functions and targets, this can be considered adaptation to the varying social requirements of different time periods and changes to its specific tasking, while the intrinsic violation of individual rights by the authorities that underlies this system has never changed. For this reason, although the RTL system remains an effective anomaly, it has lost all legitimate grounds for continued existence.

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