“Chinese civil rights under new threat”

From the Sydney Morning Herald, another piece about the legalization of enforced disappearance:

A proposed change in the Chinese criminal code that would allow authorities to detain suspects for up to six months in a secret location is a dangerous step backwards for the country, activists said.

The change would essentially enshrine what has become a common practice for silencing dissidents, many of whom have disappeared for months without formal charges being filed. Under the change, the suspects can be held without their family members or lawyers being notified.

China is revising its criminal code, which has not had an overhaul since the mid-1990s. Bits and pieces have been leaked to the media in recent days, some of them winning praise from human rights advocates. For example, another revision would ban the use of evidence obtained by torture in criminal cases. Also, family members of defendants would not be compelled to testify against them.

I have to say: I just don’t see it. “New threat”? This is the exact same old threat. Now it’s legal? Wow, what an irrelevant change. Before, people were disappearing contrary to what some piece of paper says. Now, people will disappear in a way allowed for on a piece of paper. The legal code bears no relation to what police do here, why do we care what it says?

Look at it this way: the same legal code update bans the use of torture. Does anyone believe China will stop torturing people? Show of hands.

Nah? Ok, so lets worry about what Chinese police are doing, not what a meaningless pile of paper says they can or can’t do.

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Filed under enforced disappearance, law, torture

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