China Law Society Holds Symposium on Official Use of Torture

February 10, 2005

According to an article in the Procuratorial Daily, a China Law Society discussion group held a study symposium on the problem of confessions extorted through torture. The CLS organizers reportedly called the meeting to promote implementation of the 2004 constitutional amendment protecting human rights. The article cites participants as offering the view that the "problem" of torture reflects poor investigative capacity and poor personnel quality. Participants also said that the rate at which cases are "broken" should not be the sole basis for evaluating the work of investigators work.

Early in 2004, the Procuratorial Daily ran an extensive article examining the causes of torture in China. The article called torture a "chronic disease" and noted that torture has sparked public anger. In July 2004, the China Daily published a commentary recounting a torture case and arguing that China’s law enforcement agencies have an image problem. To address public anger over such abuses, China’s procuratorate has been engaged in a yearlong campaign to publicize efforts to investigate and punish officials who violate human rights. In a recent example noted in the Chinese legal press, prosecutors put seven police officers in Tangshan, Hebei, on trial for torture and evidence fabrication after they allegedly filed spurious but serious criminal charges against a local Party official.