The parallel justice system that China reserves for members of the Communist Party “strongly rests” on torture and is “abusive and illegal,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) says, calling for its closure.
About 88 million Chinese Communist Party (CPC) members, the sole power party in China, are subject to a so-called “shuanggui” system, which operates outside the control of judicial authorities.
Since 2007, more than 15 government officials have died due to abuses in that system.
After rising to power, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched an anti-corruption campaign, considered to be the most persistent and widespread in the history of communist China, which has already resulted in the punishment of one million party members.
The campaign is governed by the discipline and internal inspection body of the CPC.
Several of the suspects disappear without notice and are held in illegal detention centers until they “confess” the charges against them.
Only then do they move to the courts, in a process that invariably results in their punishment.
“President Xi has built his anti-corruption campaign based on a system of abusive and illegal detention,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.
Based on the analysis of court rulings, news and interviews with former detainees and their families, the organization’s report details the abuses of that system: long periods of deprivation of sleep, food and water, beatings, detainees forced to be in uncomfortable positions Or threats to their family members.
One of those cited recalls how he was coerced into creating stories for his crimes: “They forced me to invent. I had to invent or beat myself.”
Another detainee recalls that he was forced to sit up and stand up consecutively for periods of 12 hours in a routine that made his legs “swell and the buttocks get irritated, until pus runs,” the statement said.
One of the lawyers interviewed describes a case where a client of his slept only an hour a day and was forced to balance a book in the head the rest of the time.
After eight days, “he confessed all that he was accused of.”
“When he got to that point, his feet were so swollen they looked like an elephant’s paw, and he could not pee any more,” he recalls.
The conviction rate of the Chinese courts is 99.92%.
“The courts function as a stamp, legitimizing an illegal process led by the Communist Party,” says Richardson.
In October, after a four-day meeting, the CCP’s elite dictated tighter control of its members, announcing more control of ideological scrutiny and a “reform of the guidelines for political life.”
The new rules of internal discipline force CPC members to oppose actions contrary to party leadership and promise to increase investigations of “out of line” behavior of the organization.