COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
1-19 May 2000
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
106. The Committee considered the third periodic report of China (CAT/C/39/Add.2)
at its 414th, 417th and 421st meetings on 4, 5 and 9 May 2000 (CAT/C/SR.414,
417 and 421), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
107. The third periodic report of China consists of two parts. Part
I covers the whole of China, with the exception of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region, and Part II covers the Hong Kong Special Administrative
108. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report of China, which
conforms with the general guidelines for the preparation of State party
reports. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the additional
information and replies provided by the State party and the continued
and constructive cooperation of China with the Committee.
Part I China, excluding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
2. Positive aspects
109. The Committee appreciates and encourages the continuing efforts
of the Government of China to introduce such amendments into its legislation
and practices as would bring them into line with international human
rights norms and to entrench legality constitutionally.
110. The Committee welcomes the action taken by the Government of China
to implement a number of the recommendations made previously by the
Committee, in particular with regard to timely access to defence counsel,
the presumption of innocence, amendments to the Criminal Law and Procedure
pertaining to fair trials and the introduction of more severe punishment
for acts of torture.
111. The Committee notes the effective abolition of the procedure of
shelter for investigation and protection and the introduction of certain
aspects of fair trial in respect of other proceedings of administrative
detention, including re-education through labour.
112. The Committee notes the State party's expressed willingness to
cooperate internationally to provide rehabilitation for victims of torture.
113. The Committee welcomes the assurances of the State party that the
Convention is binding on Chinese law enforcement and judicial organs.
114. The Committee expresses its appreciation of the State party's communication
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, dated 19 October 1999,
whereby it extended the application of the Convention to the Macao Special
3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions
of the Convention
115. There are no new factors and difficulties impeding the application
of the Convention apart from those referred to in the Committee's conclusions
following the examination of the second periodic report of China.
4. Subjects of concern
116. The Committee is concerned about the continuing allegations of
serious incidents of torture, especially involving Tibetans and other
117. The Committee notes with concern the absence of detailed information
and statistics regarding torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, disaggregated by gender.
118. The Committee is concerned that reforms are not implemented uniformly
and equally in all parts of China.
119. Concern is expressed about the fact that rules and practices of
certain procurators limit the prosecution of torture suspects to certain
120. The Committee is concerned about the system of administrative sanctions
that permits extrajudicial custodial orders in respect of individuals
that have not committed, or are not charged with, a violation of the
121. The absence of a uniform and effective investigation mechanism
to examine allegations of torture is noted with concern.
122. The Committee expresses concern about reports of coercive and violent
measures resorted to by some local officials in implementing the population
policy of the State party, contrary to the relevant provisions of the
123. The Committee recommends that the State party incorporate in its
domestic law a definition of torture that fully complies with the definition
contained in the Convention.
124. The State party is invited to consider, in respect of both its
mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, declaring
in favour of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention and withdrawing its
reservation under article 20, and to ensure the continued applicability
of article 20 in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
125. The Committee recommends that the State party continue the process
of reform, monitor the uniform and effective implementation of new laws
and practices and take other measures as appropriate to this end.
126. The Committee recommends that the State party consider abolishing
the requirement of applying for permission before a suspect can have
access for any reason to a lawyer whilst in custody.
127. The Committee recommends that the State party consider abolishing
all forms of administrative detention, in accordance with the relevant
128. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the prompt,
thorough, effective and impartial investigation of all allegations of
129. The Committee encourages the State party to continue and to intensify
its efforts to provide training courses on international human rights
standards for law enforcement officers.
130. The Committee recommends that in the next periodic report the State
party provide answers to questions that it did not find possible to
address during the present consideration and include detailed statistics,
disaggregated, inter alia, by region and gender.
Part II Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
6. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions
of the Convention
131. The Committee notes that the reintegration of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region into China created no factors and difficulties
impeding the application of the Convention.
7. Positive aspects
132. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the Government of China
for the steps taken to ensure the continued application of the Convention
in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the authorities of which
have prepared parts of the report.
133. The Committee welcomes the release of all Vietnamese refugees and
migrants and the closure of the Pillar Point detention centre.
134. The Committee welcomes the adoption of legislation to facilitate
the extradition of persons suspected of having committed acts of torture.
135. The Committee notes as positive the strengthening of the independence
of the Independent Police Complaints Council.
136. The Committee welcomes the increase of the maximum sentence for
certain sexual crimes, such as incest, and the abolition of the requirement
of corroboration in respect of sexual offences.
137. The Committee welcomes the introduction of training courses and
other educational measures targeting law enforcement personnel, and
the fact that interviews of detainees are videotaped.
8. Subjects of concern
138. The Committee is concerned that the reference to "lawful authority,
justification or excuse" as a defence for a person charged with
torture, as well as the definition of a public official in the Crimes
(Torture) Ordinance, chapter 427, are not in full conformity with
1 of the Convention.
139. The Committee is concerned that there have as yet been no prosecutions
under the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance, despite circumstances brought
to the attention of the Committee justifying such prosecutions.
140. Concern is expressed that not all instances of torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are covered by the
Crimes (Torture) Ordinance.
141. It is noted with concern that practices in the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region relating to refugees may not be in full conformity
with article 3 of the Convention.
142. The Committee recommends that the necessary steps be taken to ensure
that torture, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, is effectively
prosecuted and appropriately sanctioned and that efforts be made to
prevent other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,
in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
143. The Committee recommends that continued efforts be made to ensure
that the Independent Police Complaints Council becomes a statutory body,
with increased competence.
144. The Committee recommends the continuation and intensification of
preventive measures, including training for law enforcement officials.
145. The Committee recommends that laws and practices relating to refugees
be brought into full conformity with article 3 of the Convention.