Uyghur News, Uighur and Tibetan News

You are in Uyghur News » Uyghur Human Rights Project »

UN Experts: "Serious Information Gap" on China's Efforts to End Torture

Date: Tuesday, 11-November-2008
Please Uyghur News Bookmark and Share

Human Rights in China
DATE: November 11, 2008

A United Nations (UN) body of independent experts voiced concern today that China has not presented sufficient information to show its compliance with its international obligation to end torture. During a two-day review in Geneva, Chinese representatives defended the country's record, claiming that there is "zero tolerance" for torture in China. The UN body, the Committee against Torture, will issue its findings on November 20, 2008.

"The Chinese delegates largely evaded the substantive issues," said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China (HRIC). "Overall, we are disappointed by the failure of the delegation to address specific issues and cases of concern raised by the Committee. Instead, they focused on reciting formal provisions of law and presenting statistics in isolation."

Committee members pressed the Chinese delegation for clarification of many areas of law and information about cases they saw as relevant to the practice of torture. They included:

  • the state secrets designation of cases, which in effect deprives a detainee of the right to counsel;
  • the exclusion—from the Chinese legal definition of torture—of acts causing mental suffering, or acts of torture committed by non-judicial officials hired by the government;
  • the ongoing crackdown on lawyers; and
  • individual cases, including Yao Lifa (姚立法), Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), and Bishop Su Zhimin (苏志民主教).

The Chinese delegation conspicuously did not address questions about government accountability, truth-seeking and investigation, and compensations for victims of the June 4, 1989 crackdown. It also said that charges of torture reported by NGOs were lies spread by organizations with "sinister ulterior motives."

HRIC has actively contributed to the review process by:

  • submitting a parallel NGO report that discussed issues of concern, including the state secrets system, Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL), intimidation and harassment of lawyers, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO);
  • presenting an oral intervention (including updates on Guo Feixiong, and the firing of Beijing lawyers who recently called for direct elections of the Beijing Lawyers Association);
  • monitoring the review sessions; and
  • participating in meetings with the press.
The Committee against Torture is a body of 10 independent experts tasked with monitoring implementation by State parties of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

As a party to the Convention, China is required to submit periodic reports to the Committee on its efforts to prevent and eradicate torture. Like other states, China must report to the Committee every four years. In addition to reports from the State Party, the Committee also takes into account NGO submissions and other sources of information.

The experts' findings—Concluding Observations—will set forth recommendations for compliance, and China is expected to present a follow-up report in one year.

The 32-person Chinese delegation consisted of officials from 12 ministries and government bodies, including the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Justice. The group's size and composition suggest the seriousness with which China regards its international reputation. The delegation took pains to express its respect for the issues and concerns raised by the Committee and reported that it has transmitted them to the capital. The delegation also promised to follow up and investigate.

For more information on the Convention against Torture review, see:

"A Parallel NGO Report By Human Rights In China," October 2008,;

"Oral intervention of Human Rights in China to the Committee against Torture," November 6, 2008,;

"Written replies by the Government of the People's Republic of China to the list of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the fourth periodic report of China," September 10, 2008,;

"Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," entry into force on June 26, 1987,;

United Nations Committee against Torture,;

Reports from other NGOs to the Committee against Torture,

Other News / Uyghur Human Rights Project

No progress in eighth round of dialogue as Chinese reject autonomy ... - 11-November-2008
China: Legal wheels turn slowly for Uyghur Christian - 11-November-2008
Beijing?s Glorification of the ?China Model? Could Blunt Its Enthus... - 10-November-2008
Sino-Kazakh Relations: A Nascent Strategic Partnership - 10-November-2008
Chinese React to Obama Victory - 10-November-2008
China Won't Give Tibet Greater Autonomy, Communist Party Says - 10-November-2008
Business Over Bluster - 10-November-2008
Rights Groups Claim Torture Pervasive In China - 10-November-2008
China says has "zero tolerance" for police torture, abuses - 10-November-2008
Obama's hard Gitmo choices - 10-November-2008
Philip Bowring: Obama in the Orient - 06-November-2008
China has sentenced 55 over Tibet riot in March - 06-November-2008
China cracking down on Muslim minority Uighurs - 06-November-2008
UNPO and WUC Submit Torture Report on China - 05-November-2008
U.S. - China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy - 03-November-2008
No charges but US may never release Guantánamo Chinese - 02-November-2008
Fear Grows Over Melamine Contamination In China's Food Chain - 31-October-2008
China, Norway to strengthen cooperation on human rights - 31-October-2008
China plans ethnic tour for Dalai Lama envoys - 31-October-2008
US asks China to review Tibet policies - 31-October-2008
China's Worst Nightmare: Unemployment - 31-October-2008
UAA Files Amicus Brief to Urge Guantanamo Uyghurs' Release - 31-October-2008
In Southeast China, Skepticism on Land Reforms - 30-October-2008
McCain tilts towards Taiwan, Obama may favor China - 30-October-2008
Dalai Lama's envoys leave for China talks - 30-October-2008
China listed U.S. athletes as possible troublemakers - 30-October-2008
Guantanamo headache awaits next president - 30-October-2008
The edge of an empire - 30-October-2008
UN Withdraws Tibetan Report from Website - 29-October-2008
China in Dalai Lama talks offer - 29-October-2008
Melamine scandal spreads to Chinese eggs - 29-October-2008
3 indicted for illegal export to China space agency - 29-October-2008
Landslide win for Obama - in China - 29-October-2008
China: Rail Development To Be "Catalyst Of Development" - 28-October-2008
Closing the doors on Gitmo - 28-October-2008

Headline Topics;