Law re­opens de­bate on de­ten­tion houses

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

Pro­ce­dure Law, the pow­ers of ju­di­cial de­part­ments — in­ves­ti­ga­tion, cus­tody, pros­e­cu­tion and en­force­ment — must be used in­de­pen­dently, he said, “so trans­fer­ring man­age­ment of de­ten­tion houses is in line with the law”.

Al­though pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reaus say they re­quire two separate di­vi­sions to in­ves­ti­gate and de­tain sus­pects, “I don’t think the su­per­vi­sion can be car­ried out by just one author­ity”, he added.

The po­lice have tra­di­tion­ally fo­cused on se­cur­ing con­fes­sions be­cause they can quickly end a case, “but rapid de­vel­op­ments in tech­nol­ogy have changed the sit­u­a­tion”, ac­cord­ing to Bi Xiqian, a pro­fes­sor at the Peo­ple’s Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Univer­sity of China.

Most ev­i­dence can to­day be ob­tained us­ing video cam­eras and other surveil­lance de­vices, so po­lice of­ten no longer need a con­fes­sion, she said.

Bi said a sur­vey about 10 years ago showed 90 per­cent of pub­lic se­cu­rity of­fi­cers were un­will­ing to trans­fer cus­tody man­age­ment to jus­tice de­part­ments, yet in a more re­cent poll it had dropped to about half. She cred­its this to an in­creased aware­ness of hu­man rights pro­tec­tion as well as progress in the rule of law.

Some ex­perts warn that such a trans­fer would still face dif­fi­cul­ties.

“If jus­tice administrations take over, they should also make spe­cific rules on reg­u­lat­ing man­age­ment,” said Mao Lixin, another Bei­jing at­tor­ney, adding that the Min­istry of Jus­tice has not shown a clear at­ti­tude to cus­tody man­age­ment since the draft law was re­leased.

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