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China rejects UN panel report on torture

[JURIST] A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry [official website, in Chinese] Sunday called [press release, in Chinese; autotranslation] a report released [JURIST report] last week by the UN Committee Against Torture [official website] prejudiced and false. The Committee's report had expressed "deep concern" over continued allegations that China authorities carried on the routine and widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of suspects to extract confessions. In his statement, Qin Gang accused members of the committee of being biased against China, and said that the committee used false and unconfirmed information. Qin added that China has complied with the provisions of the UN Convention against Torture [text] and that it opposes the use of torture. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

In its Observations [text] at the conclusion of its 41st Session [materials] released Friday, the Committee identified three "over-arching problems" with China's rights record, including the 1988 Law on the Preservation of State Secrets [text], which the Committee says has prevented a "full and impartial investigation in the suppression of the Democracy movement in Beijing in June 1989." The Committee urged China to ensure all detainees of the March 2008 unrest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region [government website] be given access to independent counsel and medical care, and be allowed to lodge confidential complaints. The Committee also welcomed positive developments, noting legislative and administrative reforms. Members of the Chinese delegation met with the committee earlier this month and said that China had provided training and enacted judicial reforms [UN press release and transcript summary; JURIST report] and asked for consideration of policy differences based on China's size, population, and culture.

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