Proposed amendments to China’s Criminal Procedure Code will only lead to more “Gestapo-like” police abuses, a prominent rights activist wrote in a recent public letter to the National People’s Congress.
Having only been released in June from a three-year sentence, Hu Jia knows first-hand how few basic rights any suspect, especially one who advocates for freedom of political expression, really has in China.
Nevertheless, his letter is being read online.
And it echoes the fears of other lawyers and scholars. Attorney Jiang Tianyong cites his two months of “disappearance” as a warning to Chinese society of what may be in store.
He Depu and his wife, members of the outlawed China Democracy Party, have said that “residential surveillance” can include kidnapping people from their own houses and moving them to other residences for extralegal beatings and torture.
Hu said in his letter that when dealing with political targets, police ignore the law and strip suspects of the supposed rights. They act primarily to strike terror into people’s hearts, he said, carrying out forced disappearance for prolonged periods, or torture and other abuses.
He said that the proposed legal change will simply make these abuses legitimate.
“It will be like giving a tiger wings, and will bring untold troubles,” he said.
Further, the three proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure all contain the perilous phrase “suspected of crimes against national security.” Hu said that this bundles non-crimes with state crimes, and gives a free hand to police for abusing suspects.
People cannot be visited if detained, or if killed the family is not allowed to see the body, he said. “To suspects who are not convicted and to their innocent family, it is a loss of basic humanity,” he wrote.
Hu Jia’s is a case in point. In 2006 he was secretly detained without any criminal charges and his family given little news of his whereabouts. In the forty days of his disappearance his mother’s weight dropped over 20 pounds, she was often in tears, and frequently suffered nightmares of her son’s death.
Pressure was also put on his family not to talk about his disappearance. And such tactics are frequently used against human rights lawyers, petitioners, and families of political prisoners.
Hu said that people have flooded the People’s Congress with letters expressing concern over possible legalized “secret arrests,” that anyone could be subject to.
Read the original Chinese article