Police torture rife in China: Amnesty

BEIJING • Torture of suspects in police detention is widespread in China, Amnesty International said yesterday, citing interviews with nearly 40 lawyers, some of whom said they, too, had been beaten while attempting to protect their clients.

Victims received electric shocks, were punched, kicked, hit with shoes or bottles filled with water, denied sleep and locked in iron chairs forcing them into painful postures for hours on end, the rights group said.

The report, echoing findings by journalists and other rights groups, comes a week before China's record is set to be scrutinised by the United Nations' anti-torture committee.

It cited official data as saying that China's top prosecutorial body received at least 1,321 reports of "extracting confession through torture" from 2008 to the first half of this year.

"For the police, obtaining a confession is still the easiest way to secure a conviction," said Amnesty researcher Patrick Poon.

Some lawyers representing activists or members of banned religious groups have themselves ended up being tortured, Amnesty added.

Beijing lawyer Yu Wensheng said his wrists were shackled behind his back with painfully tight handcuffs during a near 100-day detention last year.

Courts regularly admit evidence which has allegedly been extracted by torture, the group said.

However, Chinese officials often say that Amnesty is "biased" against them. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Police torture rife in China: Amnesty'. Print Edition | Subscribe