A UN body has expressed deep concern over allegations of widespread torture in China and called on the country to fully investigate rights abuses.
The UN Committee Against Torture, meeting in Geneva, also revisited the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, urging the government to grant reparations and investigate the crackdown.
“The committee remains deeply concerned about the continued allegations, corroborated by numerous Chinese legal sources, of routine and widespread use of torture and ill treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings,” it said in a report released on Friday.
It hit out at “continued reliance on confessions as a common form of evidence for prosecution, thus creating conditions that may facilitate the use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects,” quoting the case of dissident and human rights militant Yang Chunlin (楊春林).
The committee also criticized China's handling of its relations with the Tibetan Autonomous Region, noting there had been “longstanding reports of torture, beatings, shackling and other abusive treatment, in particular of Tibetan monks and nuns.”
Regarding the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown, the committee said China “should conduct a full and impartial investigation” of the events.
It added that Chinese authorities should “provide information on the persons who are still detained from that period” as well as “offer apologies and reparation as appropriate and prosecute those found responsible for excessive use of force, torture and other ill treatment.”
More generally, the committee pointed to “reports of abuses in custody, including high numbers of deaths ... Re-education through labor for individuals who have never had their case tried in court, nor the possibility of challenging their administrative detention,” and secret detention facilities.