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China admits torture behind recent wrongful convictions

[JURIST] China's deputy chief prosecutor has said that almost every wrongful conviction in the country in recent years has been the result of torture [JURIST report] and intensive interrogation techniques. The government has discovered at least 30 people who were wrongfully convicted using confessions extracted by torture, and even estimates the number could be higher. Wang Zhenchuan said that China will now make an effort to record all interrogations [JURIST report] in connection with major crimes on video and audio tape.

China's notorious criminal justice system has been under increased international scrutiny since Manfred Nowak [official profile, [DOC]], UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, found after an investigation [JURIST report] last year that prisoner torture in the country was still widespread [JURIST report] and uncovered evidence of common torture methods 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. The Chinese government initially refuted the accusations [JURIST report], claiming torture was banned in China and that Nowak's findings, based on evidence that suspects were routinely beaten by police, "lacks an objective foundation and does not accord with reality." Torture is most commonly used in the countryside and against those convicted of political crimes. AFP has more. Xinhua has additional coverage.

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