China: Anti-Graft Campaign Powered By Coerced Confessions


The Chinese government should immediately abolish a secretive detention system used to coerce confessions from corruption suspects, said Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The Communist Party-run system, known as shuanggui, has no basis under Chinese law but is a key component of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the U.S.-based rights group said in a statement.

HRW gives details of shuanggui in a report the 102-page report, “‘Special Measures’: Detention and Torture in Chinese Communist Party’s Shuanggui System” released Dec. 6.

The start of a shuanggui investigation is often marked by an individual’s disappearance — family members are given no notification of the person’s detention or location, no information about the alleged infraction, or the length of detention. Detainees have no access to lawyers, said HRW.

Although there are time limits for shuanggui, Commissions for Discipline Inspection (CDI) investigators can seek repeated extensions, permitting detainees to be held indefinitely, often until they confess, reported HRW.

Shuanggui facilities are typically rooms in hostels with special features, such as padded walls or a lack of windows, to prevent suicides or escapes. Detainees are guarded round-the-clock by shifts of officials, often put together in an ad hoc fashion for this purpose, and subjected to interrogation by CDI officers.

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