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UN: Torture 'entrenched' in Chinese justice system

11 December 2015, 08:35

Beijing - China on Thursday dismissed a United Nations report, criticising "ongoing" rights abuses in China's courts and prisons, despite legislation outlawing torture in the country.

"In recent years China has been promoting the rule of law and has made great efforts in every aspect, including fighting torture," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

The UN Committee against Torture had said in a report it "remains seriously concerned over consistent reports indicating that the practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the criminal justice system".

The report, released in Geneva on Wednesday, said the abuses were compounded by the institutional structures of the justice system, which failed to ensure transparency and accountability, and which "overly relies on confessions as the basis for convictions".

"The committee is deeply concerned about the unprecedented detention and interrogation of reportedly more than 200 lawyers and activists since July 9  2015," it said.

Also Read: Namibia's Geingob denies China's naval base plans – reports

"Of those, 25 reportedly remain under residential surveillance at a designated location and four are allegedly unaccounted for."

International rights groups welcomed the UN report on Thursday, also Human Rights Day.

The observations "send a clear message that the international community sees through China's denial of documented facts", said Sharon Hom, head of the group Human Rights in China.

"In a time when incommunicado detention is increasingly used against lawyers and other defenders, the Committee's observations and recommendations provide a clear guide for what China must do to uphold its international obligations," she said.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said the document expressed the UN committee's profound concern about abuses in China, and its commitment to hold the Chinese authorities to account for the suffering endured by those who bore witness to the Committee.

It also reflected "alarm at China's attempts to subvert criticism of its record on human rights and to distort ... reality", said Kai Müller, Executive Director of ICT Germany.

It is the first review of China since the UN Anti-Torture Convention was introduced. The report gives China a year to respond in detail and outline progress in the areas under criticism.



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