Amended Criminal Procedure Law Passes, 2,639 to 160

The National People’s Congress has passed a controversial amendment to China’s Criminal Procedure Law which will, if faithfully implemented, strengthen suspects’ rights in ordinary—i.e. non-political—cases. But other provisions allow key protections to be discarded in cases relating to terrorism, corruption or “national security”—a term which, in China, can cover activities ranging from membership of unauthorised political groups to poetry composition.

Some initial reactions from Twitter:

(See ‘Legalizing the Tools of Repression‘ for context.)

 

Wen Yunchao: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

 

Ran Yunfei: “The Criminal Procedure Law, whose secret detention provisions contain numerous infringements of human rights, has finally passed with 2,639 votes for, 160 against, and 57 abstentions. The madness that these short sighted rubber-stampers have built together will be wrecked by the coming wave of economic recession. The perilously great problems that have arisen from systemic failures—poor employment prospects, an expanding gap between rich and poor, rising inflation, and so on—cannot be resolved by means of ever-harsher controls.”

 

Hu Jia: “The longest year in history is 1984. In the Soviet Union, 1984 dragged on for 74 springs, summers, autumns and winters. Under our current dynasty, it’s already lasted 63 years. ‘If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’ [the closing line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind‘]”

For more on the amendment, see CDT’s previous coverage: most recently, ‘Does China’s New Detention Law Matter?‘, ‘Al Jazeera: Inside China’s “Black Jails”‘ and ‘Chatting with China’s Security Apparatus‘.

See also some satirical cartoons on the subject: ‘Article 73 in an Iron House‘, ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…’ by Hexie Farm for CDT, and another at Hexie Farm’s own site.