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Rights group: China police use torture despite ban

[JURIST] Human Rights in China (HRIC) [advocacy website] issued a release [text] on Wednesday saying that Chinese police and other officials still employ torture [JURIST news archive] to elicit confessions and intimidate political dissidents despite domestic and international bans. The group said even though various government agencies have issued regulations against the use of torture, they aren't appropriately enforced. It also detailed the treatment of one political prisoner who was allegedly shackled, hung by his arms, and had his genitals electrically shocked during an extended interrogation. HRIC executive director Sharon Hom criticized the country for not effectively stopping the practice:

Many criminal suspects in China, as well as those who seek to defend the rights of others and speak out against injustice – lawyers, environmental activists, petitioners – have become victims of torture... In failing to honor its obligation under international and Chinese law to prevent the use of torture to extract confessions, the Chinese government violates the rights of its citizens and undermines its professed commitment to the rule-of-law.
Also Wednesday, China's Supreme People's Court urged local courts [Xinhua report] to take steps to improve their credibility, but on Thursday, a Chinese delegate to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] unsuccessfully tried to prevent a spokesperson for the Society for Threatened Peoples [advocacy website] from criticizing the country's treatment of Tibetans [Phayul report] during a meeting of the group.

China has recently come under increased scrutiny of its human rights record because of its hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Despite the attention, a July report [PDF text; JURIST report] released by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said the country had failed to make real improvements in the area. The report, which updated an April AI report [PDF text] detailing ongoing human rights abuses in the country, evaluated the Chinese government on its use of the death penalty, administrative detentions, the detention and abuse of rights activists, including journalists and lawyers, and Internet censorship. 

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