A man who was jailed without trial for forwarding a satirical cartoon about Chongqing's anti-mafia campaign in 2009 has received a belated police notice acquitting him of the penalty, a two-year term he had already completed.
"I feel relaxed now. My family and I can finally return to normal life," Chongqing resident Peng Hong told the Global Times Wednesday, two days after he received a formal document revoking his original sentence of two years of reeducation through labor, a freedom-restricting punishment administered by police.
"After our re-investigation, it was determined that the original decision on Peng Hong's reeducation through labor was inappropriate," the decision, issued by Chongqing's Reeducation Through Labor Committee, stated.
The government's decision came almost one year after Peng's release from a local reeducation center on September 10, 2011, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.
In September 2009, Peng forwarded a cartoon he found online entitled "Umbrella of Protection" to Tianya, a popular online forum, when the campaign to crack down on organized crime was rife in the southwestern city of Chongqing. The cartoon depicted local officials, such as former police chief Wen Qiang, as an "umbrella" for criminal gangs.
Even though Peng claimed he was not the creator of the picture and had just reposted it, he was thrown into a local labor reeducation center.
After he was released last year, Peng sued the local authority, but was rejected by the court. He is also planning to demand State compensation from local authorities.
"The reeducation through labor system should be eradicated, as it tramples on people's dignity and forces the innocent to lose their freedom," Peng said.
Established in 1957, the reeducation through labor system has come under attack for years. Voices calling for the system to be abolished reached a peak after 39-year-old Tang Hui, the mother of an underage girl who was raped from Yongzhou, Hunan Province, was sent to a reeducation through labor center in early August because of "disturbing the public order seriously by repeated petitions."
"It was against the law as the confinement under this system did not have to go through any legal procedure or a legal trial," Zhang Yaocan, a professor of political science and law at Central China Normal University, told the Global Times Wednesday.
News we recommend