China Daily Assails Prisoner Abuses

A recent China Daily article reports on widespread concerns about abuses perpetuated in pre-trial detention centers, and says, “only a radical reform of the system will bring an end to the scandals.” The New York Times reports:

The newspaper noted that the Communist Party’s latest four-year plan for legal reforms does not contemplate changes in the detention system. The full-page article said that since February 8, five inmates had died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody. Amnesty International, the human-rights advocacy group, last week reported two additional deaths that the police say were due to illness. Family members dispute those explanations.

All seven deaths occurred in police detention centers, where inmates accused of crimes can be held for months awaiting trial or formal charges. The centers are officially run by the national public-security ministry, but are effectively controlled by local police officials who, one expert was quoted as saying, regard them “as part of their turf and the most profitable piece of their territory.”

Another criminal procedure expert, Chen Weidong of Renmin University, was quoted as saying that officers “will sometimes have the detained suspects, especially new ones, tortured so that they can get confessions and complete an investigation as soon as possible.”



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