Procuratorial Daily Highlights Sichuan Torture Case, Discusses the Problem of Torture in China

December 6, 2004

According to a November report originally published in the Procuratorial Daily, a Sichuan court has sentenced one public security officer to twelve years imprisonment and another to one year of imprisonment for crimes related to the torture death of a peasant woman in 2001. The woman was brought to a rural police station on suspicion of prostitution and beaten to death after she denied involvement in illegal activity. According to the report, the woman’s husband petitioned for several years before the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Sichuan Procuratorate finally ordered an investigation. The story includes graphic testimony from witnesses to the crime.

Earlier this year, the Procuratorial Daily ran an extensive article examining the root causes of torture in China. In an acknowledgement of the extent of the problem, the piece calls torture a “chronic disease” and notes that it has elicited a serious reaction from the populace. It argues that while illegally obtained evidence should not be subject to a blanket exclusion (if it can be confirmed as true), law enforcement agencies and courts should take steps to address the problem of torture, including (1) instilling law enforcement personnel with greater rights consciousness; (2) reassigning case handlers who engage in torture and requiring new case handlers to re-investigate the case and collect evidence anew; (3) avoiding over-reliance on oral testimony at the expense of other evidence; and (4) improving technology and evidence collection techniques.