Forced Disappearances, Brutality, and Politics of Fear
At Vice News, James Palmer describes the ascendancy of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, its “vast, brutal, extra-legal interrogative system,” and the apparent politicization of its popular campaign against official corruption.
Chinese legal scholars have privately compared shuanggui to the CIA’s use of extraordinary rendition, in which a terror suspect is kidnapped and covertly interrogated outside of legal bounds. The CCDI’s toolbox is similar. Officials under investigation are whisked away to isolated hotels, appropriated government buildings, or other secret locations.
Interrogators work in teams, rotating so that the same questions are asked again and again from different faces, keeping 24-hour schedules so that the suspects can be woken and questioned at anytime of day or night. Stress positioning and sleep deprivation are used to break suspects.
In some cases, so is physical torture. “It’s very difficult to know the extent of physical or psychological torture,” Flora Sapio, a China law scholar specializing in criminal justice and administrative detention, told me. As with all of the Party’s inner workings, there is almost no external oversight of the detention process or the methods used. […]
[…] Cleansing the Party is only partially the point. The increased use of covert discipline reinforces a message being instilled by other campaigns, such as China’s wide-ranging crackdown on journalists, civil society, non-governmental organizations, foreign culture, feminists, and anyone else that might provide an alternative to Communist centralization: The Party is everything — and the only organization with the right to control it is itself. [Source]