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    » 09/17/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    Torture in China continues



    As China prepares its fifth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Chinese Human Rights Defenders charges Beijing of formally banning violence in prisons, when in fact they continue and are getting worse.
    Beijing (AsiaNews) – China “plays up its participation with the UN human rights regime for public relations purposes, yet it continues to ignore or actively challenge recommendations made by the Committee against Torture. [. . .] Meanwhile, torture remains a serious problem across China,” said Renee Xia, international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), who was speaking about Beijing’s upcoming fifth periodic report to the Committee against Torture (CAT).

    The CHRD made public its own report to the Committee on 8 September, listing all the cases and situations that Chinese authorities must address in its next report.

    Under its rules, the Committee asks states to submit a regular progress report. China has yet to meet requests made following its fourth periodic report in 2008. Indeed, “some of the issues raised by CAT in 2008, such as unnatural deaths in detention and the harassment of human rights defenders, have worsened,” Xia noted.

    Formally, torture has been banned in China. The constitution and various articles in the criminal code prohibit violence against prisoners. As a sign of good will, Beijing even allowed the UN special rapporteur to visit Chinese prisons in 2007.

    However, there are still many cases of torture in prison, and this in spite of a new law banning the use of evidence obtained through torture in criminal trials. However, according to CHRD, the new legislation is vague and weak; it can be easily sidestepped in prison and the courtroom.

    “Even more important than the language of these regulations, however, is their implementation” because police often act as they please.

    There are so many examples to back up this scepticism. For example in November 2009, four police officers were sentenced to less than three years in prison for torturing to death a student in the northern province of Shaanxi.

    The four, including a local police chief, were convicted for abuse of power. They used torture, they said, to extract a confession from the student.

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    See also

    10/11/2008 CHINA
    China announces “action plan” on human rights
    A group of experts should draft a charter of rights over the next two years to protect human rights. Many experts fear it might just be a propaganda ploy, urge the authorities to take concrete steps to show its good will.

    27/04/2010 CHINA
    With a growing economy, China becomes increasingly repressive
    In 2009, more and more people have been arrested, sent to “re-education” camps or “black jails” or subjected to internet censorship. As Chinese leaders feel more secure about the country’s growing economy and its international status, popular dissatisfaction grows, leading to clashes with police. Instead, human rights should be respected in order to build Hu Jintao’s “harmonious society”.

    24/07/2010 CHINA
    Uyghur journalist gets 15 years in prison for criticising police and military
    For a court in Urumqi, Hailaite Niyazi endangered state security when in an interview he blamed police for interethnic clashes in July 2009. His one-day trial occurred without the presence of a defence lawyer. “This is an extremely harsh and unjust action on the part of the Chinese court, and a clear violation of rights guaranteed by the Chinese constitution,” said the international director of a human rights group.

    03/03/2009 CHINA
    Sichuan: man arrested for setting up group to defend people’s rights
    For years Xing Qingxian has defended people’s rights in Chengdu against abuses by employers and local authorise. Two weeks ago he set up a group to defend such rights. He is currently in police detention for disturbing the social order.

    06/02/2009 CHINA
    Dear United Nations, please here is what you should ask China on human rights, says CHRD
    Pro-rights organisation lists a number of issues the United Nations should raise with China, whose human rights record will shortly come under scrutiny.



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