Beijing (AsiaNews) - Electric-shock stun batons, metal-spiked truncheons and rigid restraint chairs. These are just some of the products sold by more than 130 Chinese companies in several Asian and African nations, "in intrinsically cruel" tools of torture that represent a good chunk of the exports of the sector. The complaint comes from Amnesty International, in a report published today which charges Beijing with helping the torture trade to prosper worldwide.
Some tools sold by Chinese industries, says the group, "while some of the exports are no doubt used in legitimate law enforcement operations, China has also exported equipment that has inhumane effects, or poses a substantial risk of fuelling human rights violations by foreign law enforcement agencies". The largest importers are countries such as Senegal, Egypt, Ghana, Cambodia and Nepal; one company that sells restraint chairs and batons has business relations with more than 40 African nations.
According to Amnesty, 10 years ago there were only 28 Chinese companies operating in the sector, today there are more than 130. Patrick Wilcken, a researcher into trade and human rights, charges: " China's flawed export system has allowed the trade in torture and repression to prosper. China should "fundamentally reform its trade regulations to end the irresponsible transfer of law enforcement equipment to agencies who will likely use it to violate human rights".
In November 2013, the Chinese Supreme People's Court banned the use of torture in prisons or labor camps in the country. However, as denounced by human rights activists, the practice has never disappeared: each year there are "hundreds" of cases of physical abuse committed against detainees and those who are arrested throughout China.