Skip to content Skip to navigation

Case Highlight for 2015 UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

June 26, 2015

Torture is a pervasive problem in China. To mark the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, HRIC has translated the below case seeking compensation for the alleged torture of a man who died in police custody in China.  The case is a concrete, individual example of the issues people face in China’s criminal justice system, including:

  • The ability of police to extend detention periods without charges for over a month
  • A tendency to think of torture only as physical harm
  • A lack of transparency in the interrogation process
  • The burden being on victims to prove torture rather than on authorities to prove torture was not used

The UN Committee against Torture, an independent expert monitoring body, raised these and other issues in its preliminary questions to China prior to its full review in November 2015 (see e.g., paras 1, 3(a)&(c), 13(c), 14, 15 and 22).   For more information on the upcoming review and how to participate, see here.

Z and 4 others versus Xichuan County Public Security Bureau Notification of Dismissal of Appeal in Relation to State Compensation Case (excerpt)

2. The question of the use of torture.

On the one hand the Xichuan County Public Security Bureau, has, in accordance with your request, and with the approval of its leaders, watched with you video surveillance footage of the time period from Cheng X's loss of consciousness right through to his delivery to the hospital for emergency medical treatment.  You did not discover torture during this process surrounding Cheng X's death and an external examination of his body after death did not show signs of external injury. The objection is therefore not sustained. Meanwhile, in a circumstance where there is no other evidence that proves [that torture occurred], you again propose that if the detention center has not permitted you to watch other video surveillance outside of the footage of Cheng X's death, then this itself shows that the detention center engaged in torture. Moreover you have taken the body away without permission and are refusing to permit an autopsy, meaning that any causes for Cheng X's death outside of a sudden death from heart-related issues cannot be investigated, and you should take responsibility for these unfortunate consequences. The reasons which you have put forward do not establish this ground of appeal. See more

Z等四人与淅川县公安局违法拘留赔偿案驳回申诉通知书 (摘要)