[JURIST] The UN Committee Against Torture [official website] on Friday expressed deep concern over continued allegations that China authorities continued the routine and widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of suspects to extract confessions. In its Observations [text] at the conclusion of its 41st Session [materials], the Committee identified three "over-arching problems," 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 also urged China to ensure that all individuals detained in the aftermath of the March 2008 unrest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region [government website] had prompt access to an independent counsel and medical care, and to establish a mechanism that allows detainees to lodge confidential complaints. The Committee also welcomed positive developments, noting that Chinese authorities had adopted legislative and administrative reforms explicitly prohibiting domestic abuse, guaranteeing lawyers' right to meet with criminal suspects, and prohibiting the use of torture to extract confessions. AFP has more.
Meeting with the Committee earlier this month, members of the Chinese delegation said that the Chinese government had provided training and enacted judicial reforms [UN press release and transcript summary; JURIST report] and urged the Committee to consider policy differences based on China's size, population, and culture. The UN Committee Against Torture performs periodic reviews of how state members are implementing the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.