China Improves Human Rights, Really

The closing of China's labor reeducation camps is an optimistic sign that Xi Jinping’s government is capable of instigating real reform that benefits ordinary citizens.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a raft of powerful-sounding but vague reforms last November, attention focused immediately on two of them -- relaxing China's one-child policy and closing down its labor re-education camps, or laojiao. In theory, both moves promised to expand liberty for ordinary Chinese. Many commentators, however, assumed that in practice the reforms -- like so many others in the past -- would be watered down, undercut by local officialdom and generally forgotten after the initial flurry of excitement.

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