Torture in China

Although the People’s Republic of China outlawed torture in 1996, human rights groups say brutality and degradation are common in Chinese arbitrary detention centers, Laojiao prisons, and black jails. People who are imprisoned for their political views, human rights activities, or religious beliefs have a high risk of being tortured. Strategies of torture inside black jails include deprivation of sleep, food, and medication. The strategies are all quite inhumane conditions. In a specific case, a woman named Huang Yan was imprisoned for her political views and including the deprivation of medication. She had diabetes and ovarian cancer which required her to take medication. Tests have shown that ovarian cancer has spread throughout her body. While the existence of black jails is acknowledged by at least part of the government, the CCP strongly denies facilitating the operation of such jails and officially cracks down on them, leading to at least one trial.

In May 2010, the PRC authorities officially passed new regulations in an attempt to nullify evidence gathered through violence or intimidation in their official judicial procedures and to reduce the level of torture administered to prisoners already in jails. Little is known, however, about whether or how procedures were modified in black jails, which are not officially part of the judicial system. The move came after a public outcry following the revelation that a farmer, convicted for murder based on his confession under torture, was in fact innocent. The case came to light only when his alleged victim was found alive after the defendant had spent ten years in prison. International human rights groups gave the change a cautious welcome.

Torture is reportedly used as part of the indoctrination process at the Xinjiang internment camps. The torture is alleged to include waterboarding and sexual violence.