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United Nations Mission to China - 2005  
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The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment undertook a visit to China from 20 November to 2 December 2005, at the invitation of the Government. He expresses his appreciation to the Government for the full cooperation it provided him throughout the visit. The report contains a study of the legal and factual aspects regarding the situation of torture or ill-treatment in China.

Many factors contribute to the continuing practice of torture in China.

They include rules of evidence that create incentives for interrogators to obtain confessions through torture, the excessive length of time that criminal suspects are held in police custody without judicial control, the absence of a legal culture based on the presumption of innocence (including the absence of an effective right to remain silent), and restricted rights and access of defence counsel. The situation is aggravated by the lack of self-generating and/or self-sustaining social and political institutions including: a free and investigatory press, citizen-based independent human rights monitoring organizations, independent commissions visiting places of detention, and independent, fair and accessible courts and prosecutors.

While the basic conditions in the detention facilities seem to be generally satisfactory, the Special Rapporteur was struck by the strictness of prison discipline and a palpable level of fear and self-censorship when talking to detainees.

The criminal justice system and its strong focus on admission of culpability, confessions and re-education is particularly disturbing in relation to political crimes and the administrative detention system of "Re-education through Labour". The combination of deprivation of liberty as a sanction for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, assembly and religion, with measures of re-education through coercion, humiliation and punishment aimed at admission of guilt and altering the personality of detainees up to the point of breaking their will, constitutes a form of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is incompatible with the core values of any democratic society based upon a culture of human rights.

To view the full report, please click below:

United Nations Mission to China - 2005

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