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The Chinese regime has formally announced changes to its criminal procedure law. The original proposed changes gave police the power to detain suspects outside official detention centers without notifying their families. It drew public outcry last summer. Now the law has been watered down, but still allows secret detention under some instances. The law will likely pass at this week's meeting of China's NPC, which is in effect a rubber-stamp legislature.
At the National People's Congress the Chinese regime unveiled its revised criminal procedure law. The law sets what powers police have in detaining suspects. Although the new law enacts some reforms, it still allows police to detain suspects without informing their families.
The new draft law would dictate that police must notify the families of suspects under residential surveillance within 24 hours of arrest. Residential surveillance means holding a suspect at a location other than a jail, often hotels or private buildings. These makeshift prisons have come to be known as "black jails," and suspects held in them often report torture at the hands of police.
For those held in official detention centers, police would also have to notify families, unless the cases involve crimes of "endangering national security" or "terrorism." In those cases suspects could still be held secretly with no need for police to inform their families. But those are the very charges that are often slapped on dissidents, human rights activists and anyone critical of the regime.