[JURIST] A United Nations human rights investigator said Friday that prisoner torture in China [JURIST news archive] is declining but is still widespread, and accused Chinese authorities of obstructing his work during a 2-week torture investigation [press release]. Manfred Nowak [official profile, [DOC]], Special Rapporteur on Torture for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) [official website], said his investigation [JURIST report] uncovered evidence of common torture methods still being used in China such as submersion in pits of sewage or water, cigarette burns, electric shock batons, beatings to the point of exhaustion, and exposure to extreme conditions of heat or cold. Nowak said Chinese authorities closely monitored him while there, including frequent surveillance of interviews, declining to allow photographic equipment into the prisons, and preventing victims' families from meeting with him. He said he sensed a "palpable level of feat and self-censorship" when he spoke to prison detainees, even though Nowak and his envoy were able to speak with any detainee they chose. AFP has more. The UNHCHR has more on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.