Amnesty says torture targeting lawyers increases in China

Human Rights group Amnesty International says torture and forced confessions mainly targeting lawyers increase in China

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

In this Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, a Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard underneath a surveillance camera at an entrance to the Number Two Detention Center in Beijing, China

Updated Nov 13, 2015

Torture and forced confessions remains and have increased in China, even after the country made some advances in its legal system to protect the rights of detainees in 2010, Human Rights Group Amnesty International said in a report released on Thursday. 

Amnesty said in the report, Chinese lawyers who were “hindered” while carrying out their legitimate work were exposed to threats, harassment, arbitrary detention and torture as well as other “ill treatment.”

Yu Wesheng, a Chinese attorney was held in police custody for 99 days and interrogated approximately 200 times, he told Amnesty that he knows from his personal experience how “widespread” torture in China is. He said that the country’s current law-enforcement environment is permitting the incidents to take place and added:

“I hope one day to see torture classified in China as a crime against humanity.”

A 54-page report was released ahead of the United Nations Panel in Geneva which planned to review whether the pledge to protect detainees in China were followed through or not.  

Similar findings were detailed in a report by the Human Rights Watch, back in May on China’s “inhumane” practices. The report stated that that China’s 2010 reform on the Justice System could not succeed enough to provide justice.  

Five years following the reform, a crackdown began on July 9 in China to detain outspoken lawyers and human rights activists. Human Right’s Attorney Wang Yu sent out a text message to her friends saying her electric and internet was cut off and people were trying to break into her home, following the messages, she disappeared.  

In addition, other prominent Human Right’s attorneys were detained; including, Zhou Shifeng, Sui Muqing,Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang.

Since July, approximately 200 attorneys - investigating legal abuse, representing activists or Human Right’s activist – have been targeted, including 28 people who are still missing or in police custody.

Since the crackdown began, a total of 590 torture cases have been reported, 15 of the cases have resulted in convictions and 16 others have been excluded as forced confessions of Chinese police have been proved in court.

Patrick Poon, a researcher for Amnesty said in a report that the easiest police conviction was obtaining a confession.

Police torture in China is much more brutal against political dissidents, social activists and religious practitioners.

Explaining the level of “brutality” of the tortures Yu said, "It was so painful I thought it would be better to die than to live"

Tang Jitian, another attorney detained by local Chinese police investigated a detention centre known as “black jail” in Jiansanjiang, China

“I was strapped to an iron chair, slapped in the face, kicked on my legs and hit so hard over the head with a plastic bottle filled with water that I passed out,” he gave details of  his detention process and torture he has been exposed to.

Thirty-six other attorneys said that they had been tortured with electric shock, prolonged interrogation, exposed to bright lights and beaten by other inmates. The lawyers were also handcuffed or tied to iron benches or iron chairs, sometimes for days and beaten by police, according to the report.

The conclusion of the report indicates that Amnesty called on China to guarantee judicial power and prosecutorial power to be exercised “according to the law, independently and fairly, perfect judicial guarantee systems for human rights.”

TRTWorld and agencies