Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - President Hu Jintao praised the police for their "exceptional contribution" to security in these days of celebration for 60 years of the Republic of China, just as testimonies of death under torture during interrogations and in Chinese prisons multiply.
Yesterday Hu, who is also head of the Military Commission and secretary of the Communist Party, met with representatives of special police forces and praised their work, especially during the parade and celebrations held in Tiananmen Square on October 1. Hu appreciated the contribution of the police and said they should strengthen their capacity and means of improving public safety especially in Tiananmen Square.
Since the day before the parade security forces had cordoned off the square and the Changan Avenue, forcing the closure of shops and offices and residents to stay indoors. The people who wanted to see the parade were held far away. In the weeks before at least 6 thousand people, from criminals to petitioners, were arrested.
Hu’s praise of police seems aimed at covering the disturbing news that is rapidly spreading among activists and on blogs that prisoners continue to die under torture.
On October 6, even Xinhua published the story of Wang Xilian, a sixty year-old from Anhui who police tortured under interrogation to get him to confess to a case of robbery. For days the guards deprived him of food, water, sleep, beating him and putting up to 90 lit cigarettes into his nostrils.
Xinhua affirms the importance of controlling the prisons to prevent abuse. It should be noted that Beijing has signed the UN Convention against torture, but as late as 2008, the international body has pointed out that widespread torture continues as well as the degrading treatment of detainees in China.
The organization China Human Rights Defenders, reports these latest 3 cases of which they are aware of:
1) Li Shulian, a woman of Longkou (Shandong), who died October 2 from maltreatment and torture after her arrest - September 3 - for presenting petitions. Police also prevented some lawyer activists who wanted to investigate her case, judged as a "suicide by hanging."
2) Liu Fengqin, a 66 year old from Liuguanggtun (Tangshan, Hebei province), sentenced July 31 last year to a year of re-education through labour for "disturbing public order" and attempts to present petitions. On September 23, her husband was arrested and sent to the same labour camp. But he was unable to get news of his wife. Only later he came to know that Liu Fenqin died September 25 "from heart problems." The director of the camp has not given any official statement, nor has he allowed the family to see the body.
3) Shi Yuedu, a youth from the Yi minority, in his early twenties, who was sentenced to three years for petty theft. Last June, he died "from heart disease." The family requested an autopsy in disbelief. They saw his body, they noticed signs of torture. The head of the prison offered the family an exchange: reject the autopsy and accept a payment of tens of thousands of Yuan. He stated that if the family continued to seek an examination on the body, the autopsy would only confirm the version of the prison and they would receive nothing.