Police torture in China and its causes: A review of literature

  • Wu W
  • Beken T
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This study reviews a selection of research articles on police torture in China, published in Chinese language academic journals between 1994 and 2008 as well as recent literature on Chinese policing and crimi- nal procedure in English. The study shows that Chinese legal scholars have devoted considerable attention to the subject of police interroga- tional torture and have presented evidence that interrogational torture is a pervasive problem in criminal investigations in China. While the mainstream legal scholarship treats the gaps or ambiguities in the law as the major cause of police torture, others relate it to the organisation and structure of the Chinese criminal justice system. Some studies conclude that traditional and cultural Chinese values account for the tolerance and acceptance of police torture. The article concludes that answers about how to protect suspects’ rights and reduce interrogational torture in criminal proceedings in China can be found in adaptations of structural elements of the legal landscape, but also in practices and traditions with strong cultural connections.

Author-supplied keywords

  • China
  • Criminal investigation
  • Criminal justice
  • Culture
  • Interrogation
  • Police torture

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  • Wei Wu

  • Tom Vander Beken

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