CCP holds thousands annually in incommunicado detention to get ‘confessions’

CCP holds thousands annually in incommunicado detention to get ‘confessions’

Radio Free Asia

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) locks up thousands of people annually as part of a system of state-sanctioned kidnapping targeting peaceful dissidents, a rights group said in October 2021.

Safeguard Defenders said in its report on “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) that the authorities have detained more than 57,000 people under the system since its inception in 2013, detailing a system of grueling interrogations and torture used to elicit “confessions” from detainees, who can be held for up to six months without access to a lawyer.

The report cited the case of human rights lawyer Chang Weiping, who was tortured during six months of RSDL between October 2020 and April 2021.

Chang, who was only allowed to meet with a lawyer after nearly a year in detention, was strapped into a “tiger chair” torture device for six days straight and deprived of food and sleep, his lawyer said in September.

Chinese security forces have also used RSDL to hold and interrogate dissident artist Ai Weiwei and human rights lawyers Wang Yu and Wang Quanzhang, as well as recently released Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the report said.

The system is highly secretive, taking place at hidden locations with the victim in isolation and incommunicado, as well as in other facilities.

“They give the police huge powers to detain people in secret facilities and cut them off from any contact with the outside world, and don’t tell anyone where they are,” Safeguard Defenders researcher Chen Yanting said. “It’s the same as disappearing.

“The stipulated limit to such detentions is six months, but actually we have records of some cases where it lasted as long as four years,” Chen said. “Basically, Chinese police and state security police are arbitrarily disappearing and detaining people without supervision, during which time victims are tortured for ‘confessions,’ so it’s a black jail system.”

Chen called on the international community to condemn the CCP’s use of RSDL and other human rights violations.

Lam Wing-kei, a bookseller who fled to Taiwan after being detained in mainland China for selling banned political books in Hong Kong, said he was held in a similar facility for six months in the eastern city of Ningbo.

He said the facilities are designed to prevent detainees from committing suicide or self-harming.

“The toothbrush is very small and is attached to a rope to stop you from swallowing it, while the walls and the corners of the tables and chairs are all padded,” Lam said. “They’re afraid people will try to commit suicide by hitting their head against the corner of the table or the wall.

“In other words, they have a lot of experience, and all of the facilities have this kind of protection,” Lam said. “The CCP knows the psychological state of these people.

“There is round-the-clock monitoring, and they never turn the lights off, even if someone is asleep.”