Torture in China

Torture in China

Today, March 24th, 2015, Al Jazeera published an article entitled “China’s Web of Torture and its Critics.” In the piece, they discuss that there is still an active support for torture in China by the Chinese government. A coalition of human rights organizations and monitors have stated that the state has various locations where members of the security are able to carry out acts of torture. Victor Clemens, who is with the organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders, was quoted as saying that: “”Government critics may be more vulnerable to torture and mistreatment – largely in reprisal for the “politically sensitive” work they do – and it is widespread enough, according to our advocacy and research, to conclude that it is commonplace…”. 

China is a member of the Convention Against Torture, which it signed, as well as ratifying the documenting in 1988. Thus, they are bound by international law on issues of torture. Their record on issues of torture will be examined this year. As Clemens explains, as this United Nations review is coming up, “”The [Chinese] government has already been making statements related to stopping torture, though these appear to be political attempts to improve the image of China in this respect, rather than reflecting effective steps to change practices.””

The state has been critical (and has often arrested and or harassed) individuals who speak out against the state, as well as students and academics who are introducing ideas that the Chinese government finds threatening. Furthermore, they continue to monitor places of work, among other locations. Thus, this issue of torture in China is obviously a gross violation of human rights, and something that needs to be challenged. 

It is critical that the United Nations actors be clear about what is happening, as well as talk about ways to hold the Chinese state accountable. Sadly, the UN Security Council rarely acts on these sorts of issues, and in this case, even if they did, it is virtually impossible that they would, given that China is on the Security Council, and has veto power, thus stopping any sort of legislation from being passed. Thus, in this sort of case, it is imperative to continue to publicize and shame the Chinese government for their human rights violations. It is also imperative to keep building up social movements and transnational advocacy networks on this issue, so that the world can know the types of control that the Chinese government has on its people. 

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