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Torture Victim Denied Justice as Authorities Refuse to Investigate Allegations
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, November 2, 2009)- It has been nearly three years since Wang Jinyong (王进勇) was allegedly subjected to eight days and nights of torture while in police custody in Linyi City, Shandong Province. And yet, despite clear medical and physical evidence of torture, local courts and officials have repeatedly refused to address his allegations, overturn Wang’s conviction on the basis of a confession extracted by torture, or hold his torturers accountable for their actions. Most recently, on October 21, 2009, Wang’s brother, Wang Jinsheng (王进生), was turned away by an official at the Shandong Provincial Procuratorate in Jinan City, the government organ tasked with investigating allegations of torture.
“Cases like Wang’s demonstrate the lack of an effective mechanism for investigating allegations of torture in China,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s international director. “The Procturatorate, which is charged with investigating allegations of torture by government officials, often plays the role of sheltering alleged torturers in the government!”
Wang Jinyong was formally arrested on suspicion of “bribery” on December 13, 2006, in retaliation by local officials for his refusal to submit to the forced demolition of his family’s home. According to Wang Jinyong, he was tortured from December 15 to December 23, 2006, in the Linshu County Detention Center, Linyi City, by prosecutor Dong Jinwei (董金伟) and seven other members of the Procuratorate. Their objective was to produce a confession from Wang that he was guilty of “bribery,” since, according to Wang, the charge was fabricated and police had no other evidence. While the primary method of torture was keeping him fastened to a chair, depriving him of sleep and withholding food, Wang stated that, on December 20, 2006, he was violently and repeatedly struck in the head by Dong Jinwei and lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he was handcuffed in a hospital bed and his head was bandaged. Wang received an official record of his visit to the hospital, which he and his brother later presented as evidence of his torture. Wang returned to detention following his treatment in the hospital, and was detained until he was tried and convicted of “bribery.” He was then given a commuted sentence and released from prison.
Local courts have refused to hear at least six lawsuits filed by Wang Jinyong. According to Article 12 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the Chinese government ratified in 1988,
Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.
And yet, without an effective independent judiciary, the “competent authorities” to which Chinese citizens are forced to turn are often the very state organs responsible for the torture. This was the case for Wang Jinyong, who has been seeking justice repeatedly and without success through both the judicial system and the Procuratorate for the past three years.
According to Wang Jinyong, Dong has even acknowledged having beaten him. Dong told Wang that he was surprised that Wang has persisted in complaining to the authorities, since Wang was the “least severely beaten” of the detainees interrogated by Dong.
In its concluding observations on China’s state report in 2008, the United Nations Committee Against Torture wrote:
The Committee is deeply concerned by the lack of an effective mechanism for investigating allegations of torture as required by the CAT… there are serious conflicts of interest with the role played by the Office of the Procuratorate which is charged with investigating allegations of torture by government officials… which may lead to ineffective and partial investigations.
CHRD joins the Committee Against Torture in calling on the Chinese government to create an “effective and independent oversight mechanism to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigation into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment.”
CHRD also urges the Chinese government to investigate Wang Jinyong’s allegation that he was tortured, and, if evidence extracted through torture was admitted to court and used to convict Wang, to overturn Wang’s conviction and send the case back for re-investigation supervised by an independent body. CHRD also urges the Chinese government to hold Dong Jinwei and other officials involved in the torture of Wang Jinyong responsible for their actions. The Committee Against Torture noted, and CHRD underlines, the fact that the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law still does not contain an explicit prohibition of the practice of extracting confession by torture, and we join the Committee in calling for the government to “take the measures necessary to ensure that, both in legislation and in practice, statements that have been made under torture are not invoked as evidence in any proceedings.”
For more information, please see:
“Overturn the Second-Level Court’s Ruling, Then Accuse the Prosecutor (推翻两级法院判决 才能控告检察官),” October 29, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200910/20091029123828_17980.html
“Linyi Resident Wang Jinyong Tortured by Prosecutor; Despite Irrefutable Evidence, Courts Refuse to Accept Case (临沂市民王进勇遭检察官酷刑虐待，证据确凿，法院不予立案),” November 25, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081125161028_11965.html
“Persistent Torture, Unaccountable Torturers: A Report on China’s Implementation of
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” November 5, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200811/20081105101541_11571.html
Full text of the Committee Against Torture’s Concluding Observations on China: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.CHN.CO.4.pdf
Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin): +852 8170 0237