Author: Neil Connor
Posted on: Telegraph, December 6th, 2016
Communist Party officials ensnared in China’s corruption crackdown are beaten, forced into stress positions and deprived of sleep, food and water, campaign group Human Rights Watch claimed on Tuesday.
A new HRW report said the measures are routinely carried out in China’s parallel extrajudicial justice system which has punished more than one million officials in the four years since Xi Jinping, the President of China, assumed power.
Many of those who are “disappeared” into the system without charge are forced to confess their crimes before being handed over to China’s criminal justice system – which has a conviction rate of more than 99.9 percent.
Chinese state media said at least 11 people have died since 2010 in China’s parallel justice system.
The corruption crackdown has been one of President Xi’s key policies, although critics have questioned its lack of transparency and also claim it is more a tool to ensure potential rivals are removed from key positions.
“President Xi has built his anti-corruption campaign on an abusive and illegal detention system,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
“Torturing suspects to confess won’t bring an end to corruption, but will end any confidence in China’s judicial system.”
All 88 million members of the ruling Communist Party are subject to the system, which is overseen by the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
Authorities often detain suspects without notifying family members, forcing them into padded cells without windows, said the 102-page report, which is called “‘Special Measures’: Detention and Torture in Chinese Communist Party’s Shuanggui System.
A former detainee told HRW: “If you sit, you have to sit for 12 hours straight, if you stand then you have to stand for 12 hours as well. My legs became swollen, and my buttocks were raw and started oozing puss.”
Another detainee told a Beijing-based lawyer that he was forced to stand for 23 hours a day for more than a week with a book on his head until he confessed. After he said it, he was allowed two hours of sleep every day,” the lawyer said. “At that point his feet were swollen like an elephant’s, and he could no longer urinate.”
The system is called “shuanggui”, which translates in Chinese to having to report to authorities at a “designated location” and “designated time”.
President Xi has said that corruption threatens the party’s grip on power, and officials routinely say China is a country governed by the rule of law.