Chinese Activists Seized in Crackdown Accuse Authorities of Torture

Reports of beating, sleep deprivation and other abuse have emerged from some of those detained in the wake of China’s “Jasmine Revolution”, but the veil of silence over the detentions remains substantially intact. From The Guardian:

The accounts have increased concerns among human rights groups about plans to authorise police to hold suspects in secret locations for up to six months without informing their families. Critics say the changes to residential surveillance laws, which would apply in state security, terrorism and major corruption cases, would legitimise forced disappearances.

Scores of people were seized in the clampdown. While some were held only briefly, and several activists and dissidents were formally detained or sent to re-education through labour, others were held for weeks or months at unknown locations in breach of the current law, say experts.

Most signed guarantees they would not write political material online or speak to foreigners. “People are genuinely scared and that’s why they are not talking,” said Wang Songlian of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network. “I think all of the people who disappeared for a period of time have experienced some form of torture or mistreatment.

“Even when the [rights] community was being targeted before, people were always quite defiant. This time it is like a bag with a hole punctured: the air has gone out of it.”

The South China Morning Post has published an interview with lawyer Jiang Tianyong about his experience:

He said his interrogators told him: “Here we can do things in accordance to law. We can also not do things in accordance to law, because we are allowed to not do things in accordance to law.”

The second night he was kicked and punched, he appealed to his interrogator: “I am a human being, you are a human being. Why are you doing something so inhumane?”

Enraged, the man knocked Jiang to the floor and screamed: “You are not a human being!”

In August, Ai Weiwei described the “mental torture” he endured during his 11-week detention, while Li Tiantian quickly began to disclose details such as interrogation about her sex life following her release in May, despite her initial promise to “hide her head like a tortoise”. Siweiluozi recently translated lawyer Liu Shihui’s Twitter postings about his 108-day detention.