A group of lawyers and human rights campaigners are objecting to China’s “re-education through labour” system which allows China citizens to be sent to prison-like camps without trial. The government calls the system a humane corrective alternative to jail. But in practice, police use it to hold tens of thousands of people including protesters, thieves and addicts.
In another parallel universe, there is the Internal Security Act inherited from the British by countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. For a long time, both countries were heavily criticised for detaining individuals (and particularly enemies of the government) without trial under the act. In the wake of September 11, both governments have found in terrorism a convenient excuse to justify their retention of the law.