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We've been telling you about a new revision to China's criminal law that could make currently unlawful secret detentions legal. It would allow authorities to hold suspects at undisclosed locations for up to 6 months without telling anyone where they are. Now Human Rights Watch, which has been monitoring the Chinese regime's secret detention facilities, is speaking out against the new law.
China's campaign to silence dissenters like artist Ai Weiwei through secret detentions could be pushed further into the shadows if proposed crime law changes go through. The comments were made by a prominent rights advocacy group on Thursday.
China has clamped down hard on dozens of prominent critics and dissidents including human rights lawyers, bloggers and civil activists... locking them up incommunicado for weeks and even months at a time in undisclosed locations.
[Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch]:
"Instead of at least the spirit of its international legal obligation, we've actually seen the Chinese government take the shocking steps of trying to legalize this practice rather than eradicate it. There's a new proposed legislation, revisions to criminal procedure law, which would allow people to be held in certain kinds of cases for up to six months at an undisclosed location."
Despite international criticism, the Chinese regime has continued to run so-called "black jails" -- unlawful secret detention facilities used to hold critics and petitioners. There, detainees are often subjected to beatings, sleep and food deprivation, as well as psychological abuse.
Richardson says that mounting pressure on authorities could make a difference.