Torture "deeply entrenched" in China

Interrogation chair used for torture in Tibet
Interrogation chair used in Tibet

9th December 2015

UN committee reiterates Free Tibet's concerns.

The United Nations' Committee Against Torture (CAT) has today published its final report after reviewing China's record on torture this year.

Its conclusion is stark:

the practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the criminal justice system

In combination with Tibet Watch and Tibetan political prisoner organisation Gu Chu Sum, Free Tibet submitted two detailed reports to the committee during its deliberations and in November our director and Tibet Watch's research manager met with the committee in Geneva.

CAT's Concluding Observations noted that

the Committee has received numerous reports from credible sources that document in detail cases of torture, deaths in custody, arbitrary detention and disappearances of Tibetans.

Intimidation

The committee expressed concern about the particular risks faced by prisoners who are charged with vaguely defined crimes such as "separatism" - the crime for which almost all Tibetan political prisoners are convicted. It wrote:

political dissidents and members of religious or ethnic minorities continue to be charged, or threatened to be charged, with broadly-defined offences as a form of intimidation.

It also raised the case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, whose death this July after 13 years in prison has never been satisfactorily explained by China.

Almost all of the concerns raised by Free Tibet and Tibet Watch in our reports were taken up by the committee.

Skin-deep changes

China has reviewed a number of its laws recently, theoretically to ensure that torture is banned. However, the Committee Against Torture repeatedly expressed its frustration that the Chinese government refused to answer specific questions or provide evidence that it is taking the necessary action to ensure that it is stopped.

The committee also challenged China's government on its failure to answer questions about the violent suppresion of the Tibetan uprising in 2008. Those were raised in China's last offical review in 2009.

Keep up the pressure on torture

China tried hard to convince the UN that it has put a stop to torture. The findings of the committee are a real embarrassment to China and it is very sensitive to international criticism of its torture record at this time. Please add to the pressure by contacting China's minister of justice and demanding an end to torture in Tibet.