Prolonged house arrest, a strategy increasingly used on dissidents, is actually a tactic making use of a legal loophope. Siweiluozi writes that China might be moving to close the loophole… by writing it into law!
Based solely on what has been written here, this is a rather shocking development. It means that, for example, individuals suspected of “inciting subversion,” can be taken into custody by police and held in a designated location (as long as it’s not a place of detention) for up to six months without any need to notify anyone of their whereabouts or the charges against them. All on the pretext of “impeding the investigation,” a vague criterion that police investigating these types of cases should have little difficulty convincing their superiors of.
Readers of this blog (among others) will recognize that were this to become law, it would essentially give legal cover to the sort of enforced disappearance that befell Liu Xiaobo, Ai Weiwei, Liu Shihui, and others. Rather than closing the loopholes that police have been using to engage in this sort of activity, China’s legislators seem set to legitimize it.
It’s ironic, given that “residential surveillance” is actually intended to be the least restrictive coercive measure available to police investigators. Indeed, the article above concludes with experts saying that the proposed revisions concerning residential surveillance (which include other, more sensible changes) represent an effort to safeguard citizens’ individual rights.