The Washington Post
By Maya Wang
Maya Wang is a China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a state visit in Washington next month, will
President Obama press him to improve China’s disturbing record on torture in detention?
If so, Xi might point to the case of Nian Bin, who was released last year through a rare exoneration after spending eight years on death row in China, convicted of a crime he did not commit on the basis of a confession that he says was obtained through torture. But Xi will probably not mention the reality that Nian remains plagued by flashbacks of being tortured in detention and reflexively assumes the position of being shackled while he sleeps.
Beijing has adopted some measures over the past six years to rein in abusive police conduct during criminal investigations, but research for a new Human Rights Watch report shows there is a long way to go before routine torture is eradicated.
Former criminal suspects told us that, to make them confess, police officers shackled them for days to “tiger chairs” — metal chairs with hand and leg cuffs — hung them by the wrists and deprived them of sleep. Others described beatings at the hands of cell bosses, fellow detainees who oversee cells for the police in detention centers. Like all those given death sentences, “Yang Jinhua” — not his real name — spent eight years shackled hand and foot. His sister told us he was unable to feed or properly dress himself. [FULL STORY]