Beijing, July 13: China has taken steps to curb forced confessions and other illegal means of obtaining testimony, in order to protect human rights in the country.
Xiong Xuanguo, vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court, said the courts at all levels nationwide heard 81 cases involving forced confessions and five cases of obtaining testimony through violence in 2009 and 2010, after the supreme court outlawed forced testimonies via a new regulation.
The China Daily quoted Xuanguo, as saying that the upholding of the principle of evidentiary adjudication and the prohibition of forced confessions were among steps taken to protect the rights of detained people.
The Criminal Procedure Law, however, still approves the use of self-incriminating testimony in court, a primary contributor to forced confessions and an item being widely urged for amendment.
Xuanguo made the remarks at an assessment meeting of the National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010), the first national plan on human rights.
Tian Wenchang, director of the criminal committee of the All China Lawyers Association, said the Criminal Procedure Law, which will “very likely” be amended this year, may give suspects immunity from testifying against themselves, a major move in human rights protection.
Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, said the fulfillment of all targets and tasks in the action plan as scheduled shows that the cause of human rights in China has ‘entered a new stage’.
Chen added that citizens’ awareness of human rights has been remarkably enhanced and the people’s overall living standards have been markedly improved with progress made in the national economic and social development.
He also announced that China is likely to initiate a new phase of the National Human Rights Action Plan. (ANI)