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China's detention system urged to reform to curb police violence
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15:17, March 18, 2009

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Following repeated scandals of detainees being tortured by the police, Chinese experts have urged making judicial or independent institutions take over the running of detention facilities.

"The police not only investigate and question the suspects, but also detain them before they are put on trial. This is not appropriate," said Duan Zhengkun, a retired deputy minister of justice and a top political advisor, was quoted by Wednesday's China Daily as saying.

In Shaanxi province, 19-year-old high school student Xu Gengrong, suspected of stoning his schoolmate to death, died on Mar 8, on the seventh day of his detention. Autopsy results showed Xu was starved and suffered several injuries.

Xu's classmate Wu Ming, also detained for two days, said the police seemed to consider them suspects from the very start. "I was kept awake, beaten till my nose bled and arms grew numb from carrying a pile of bricks on my back," he told the local media.

No police officers were asked to account for the incident yet, the local government said.

Insiders said the guidelines on a new round of judicial reforms, issued by Central Politics and Law Committee of the Communist Party of China in January, will not, however, make a difference to the public security department's control on detention facilities, China Daily reported.

"Government-dispatched agencies should oversee and protect human rights in prisons and detention facilities, with emphasis on uncovering and punishing violations, such as extortion of confession by coercion and torture, obtaining evidence by force and corporal punishments," said Chen Weidong, a criminal procedure law professor with the Beijing-based Renmin University.

Source: Xinhua

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