Al Jazeera: Inside China’s “Black Jails”

Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan, who last week encountered plainclothes state security police when attempting to interview a high-profile lawyer about proposed changes to China’s Criminal Procedure Law, follows a mother to one of China’s infamous “black jails” in search of her daughter: While Chan’s report paints a dark picture of the reality facing a number of unknown prisoners in China, a China Daily piece on Monday claims that the draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law, which was submitted late last week for a vote at China’s National People’s Congress, will give suspects greater protection. Caixin Online has more on the details of the draft law: The draft law, which includes 99 items, covers human rights protections, standards for witness testimony and evidence-gathering. The law was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on March 10, with 168 votes in favor, one abstention and one dissenting vote. Another vote by the National People’s Congress is scheduled to be held on March 14 and the law is expected to be implemented in 2013. The amendments provoked criticism from several quarters of China’s legal profession, with much of the scrutiny falling on the substance of Article 73 of the draft law. Under the “residential surveillance” provision, law enforcement agencies will be permitted to detain individuals away from home for an unspecified amount of time. Article 73 of the draft law confers the government the right to detain individuals if they are suspected of involvement in cases related to national security, terrorism or corruption. Netizens were ablaze with chatter over the new law. One wrote, “These stand as mere slogans on human rights but are ultimately a means to expand police powers,” said a netizen. Over the weekend, Seeing Red in China’s Yaxue Cao translated and posted a number of ...
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