HRW: Police torture still routine in Chinese jails

Human Rights Watch reports police continue to extract evidence by electrocution, starvation and sleep deprivation

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Torture and abuse is still continuing in Chinese jails despite reforms put in place six years ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Wednesday.

Detainees are still frequently beaten, hanged by their wrists and shackled to iron chairs, deprived of sleep by police to get them confess, the report says - adding that courts are still convicting people using evidence obtained through torture.

The report was based on interviews with detainees, members of their families, lawyers, former officials and an analysis of court verdicts in China.

Many former detainees, mostly suspected of petty crimes, talked about physical and psychological abuse during police interrogations, including sleep deprivation, being beaten with batons and being hung up by the wrists during the interviews.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded to the claims by saying  that "China is a country with rule of law and Chinese law clearly bans torture and forced confessions. If this is discovered being used during questioning the person responsible will be seriously sanctioned by the law.”

The Chinese government decided to take action in 2009 after several high profile cases of police brutality emerged and promised reforms.

Despite this pledge and new rules, police still operate the detention centers, suspects have no right to have a lawyer during interrogations and judges often ignore clear evidence of mistreatment, the report said.

TRTWorld and agencies