In Brief

Torture, forced confessions and abuse still 'rampant' in China

Amnesty International uncovers use of medieval instruments, including spiked rods and torture chairs

Political activists and their lawyers are being routinely tortured by authorities in China, according to an investigation by Amnesty International.

The new report, based on interviews with dozens of human rights lawyers, contains shocking details of arbitrary detention, abuse and forced confessions.

Researchers discovered that a range of medieval torture instruments were being employed, including spiked rods and electric batons. One device commonly used is known as a Tiger Bench.

Using the torture device, a detainee's body is tightly strapped to bench and bricks are gradually added under the victim's feet, forcing their legs to bend backwards.

Despite torture being outlawed in China and repeated promises of judicial reform, such practices remain rampant in nearly every part of the country, warns Amnesty.

"For the police, obtaining a confession is still the easiest way to secure a conviction," said report author Patrick Poon. "In a system where even lawyers can end up being tortured by the police, what hope can ordinary defendants have?"

The foreign ministry has disputed the report's findings, insisting that "China is a country governed by the rule of law" and that the government was working to bring "fairness and justice” to all.

The investigation comes just a week before the United Nations anti-torture committee is set to review China's human rights record.

Recommended

China ‘trying to take control of the Moon’
Moon
Tall Tales

China ‘trying to take control of the Moon’

UK academics probed over links to Chinese ‘weapons of mass destruction’
Chinese missiles seen on trucks as they drive next to Tiananmen Square
Behind the scenes

UK academics probed over links to Chinese ‘weapons of mass destruction’

China's tech landscape
Abstract cityscape of skyscrapers
Sponsored

China's tech landscape

Beijing puts 1.6 million into lockdown after new variant found
Chinese workers wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine jab
The latest on . . .

Beijing puts 1.6 million into lockdown after new variant found

Popular articles

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
James Nesbitt stars in Bloodlands
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Quiz of The Week: 27 February - 5 March
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to Northern Ireland in 2019
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week: 27 February - 5 March

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 March 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 March 2021