In this op-ed for the South China Morning Post, with Margaret K. Lewis, Jerome Cohen says that without recourse to constitutional backing, the move to truly abolish re-education through labor in China faces the same hurdles as in past reform efforts.
Asked by Brian Luckett, from Morgan State University
There is little prospect Tibet will achieve full statehood in the foreseeable future. Apart from preservation of its own power, China's Communist Party's highest imperative is the territorial integrity of the country. It is determined to keep Tibet a part of China and thus far the world community has acquiesced in China's claim.
"Criminal justice has been the weakest link of China's legal system, which, despite constitutional and legislative protections of the right to defence, has in practice rarely allowed defendants adequate opportunity to question prosecution witnesses and rebut their claims," writes Jerome A. Cohen, with respect to Bo Xilai's trial.
Jerome A. Cohen argues that whatever form the proposed end of re-education through labour takes, even if it fails to fully comply with China's constitution or its laws, the present situation is likely to be improved.
Jerome A. Cohen says, "Beijing's pending prosecution of deposed Politburo member Bo Xilai and the recent murder conviction of his wife, Gu Kailai , have again brought China's criminal justice system to world attention."
With the passing of International Human Rights Day, Jerome A. Cohen says China still has no effective means of enforcing the rights enshrined in its constitution. Yet, once again, new Communist Party leaders reignite hopes for bringing government and the party under the rule of law.
Jerome A. Cohen says that while Bo Xilai and Chen Kegui "hail from opposite ends of China's political, economic and social hierarchies, they now have much in common, including the determination of the authorities to punish them for political reasons."
Jerome A. Cohen argues that by systematically undermining an accused person's right to effective counsel, as and when it is deemed necessary, China is only harming its own efforts to win foreign admirers.
Jerome A. Cohen looks at various types of incommunicado detention in China, and discusses what Bo Xilai could face under "shuanggui," a widely feared internal disciplinary action that is outside the reach of Chinese law.