After the Detention and Death of Sun Zhigang: Prisons, Detention, and Torture in China

2168 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Monday, October 27, 2003 - 1:30pm
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

After the death of Hubei designer Sun Zhigang in a detention center in Guangzhou on March 20, 2003, the Chinese press has become full of articles on the topic of detention and police misconduct. The Chinese government has responded to public outrage over the issue with a number of proclamations and initiatives. On July 31, Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang admonished police officers nationwide to "resolutely stop malignant violations that offend the heavens and reason, and stir up public indignation." On September 7, the Ministry promulgated new regulations for police handling of administrative cases, saying that they would work protect the legal rights and interests of citizens. This roundtable sought to understand the longer term effect of the Sun Zhigang case on China's system of prisons and administrative detention, as well as the continuing debate within China on how to curb or abolish torture.


Professor James Seymour, Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University's East Asian Institute

Dr. Murray Scot Tanner, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation