Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China’s State Secrets and Torture

Posted by w_thames_the_d on August 12, 2012


From theepochtimes.com

The Chinese Communist Party introduced the State secrets law in 1988 and uses it broadly and arbitrarily in imprisoning dissidents and covering up information. The Committee Against Torture expressed “grave concern over the use of this law which severely undermines the availability of information about torture, criminal justice and related issues.”

The law prevents the disclosure of crucial information, the Committee stated in its report, such as disaggregated statistical information on detainees in all forms of detention and custody and ill-treatment in the state party, information on groups and entities deemed to be “hostile organizations”, “minority splittist organizations”, “hostile religious organizations”, “reactionary sects”, as well as basic information on places of detention, information about the “circumstances of prisoners of great influence”, violations of the law or codes of conduct by public security organs, and information on matters inside prisons.

One of the 12 submitters to the review, Human Rights in China, also highlighted China’s state secrets system as a major concern.

“In many instances, information requested by the Committee is classified as “state secrets.” Such information control obstructs the Committee’s review process and undermines legislative, administrative, judicial, or other measures aimed at preventing acts of torture,” stated the submission.

Progress on Paper, Deterioration in Reality

As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), which it signed in 1988, China is subject to a compliance review every four years.

China missed the last review in 2004 by ignoring it completely. This year it submitted a report spanning eight years but failed to respond to the 11 pages of questions raised by the UN follow-up committee. The Chinese regime’s 38-page report is largely a list of constitutional amendments and penal code reforms, which rights groups say are empty words.

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