China: Report of First Death in New Discipline System Censored

The secretive extra-legal shuanggui  system operated by the Party’s internal disciplinary organs attracted sustained criticism for reported abuses and lack of accountability. According to a 2016 Human Rights Watch report, detainees were routinely subjected to “ and other ill-treatment including beatings, prolonged sleep deprivation, and being forced to stand or maintain uncomfortable positions for hours or even days,” leading to at least 11 known deaths since 2010. News last October of its impending abolition and replacement as part of broader supervisory reforms did little to reassure critics, however: as HRW’s Sophie Richardson commented, “putting a veneer of legality on an extra-legal detention system makes it no less abusive.”

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On Wednesday, Caixin reported the first death within the new regime of liuzhi 留置, or “retention in custody”: that of Chen Yong, the 45-year-old former driver of a Fujian official who had come under investigation for corruption. Chen’s death illustrates the expanded scope of the new system, and supports fears that liuzhi will replicate its predecessor’s abuses.

But when his family arrived last week to visit him, they were taken to a dimly lit funeral parlor, where, in a morgue refrigerator, they found him dead and “with a disfigured face,” Chen’s sister told Caixin.

[…] Chen was a driver hired by the Jianyang district government in Fujian’s Nanping city from 2006 to 2016. He was detained last month so authorities could gather information into Lin Qiang, a vice director of the district, who was suspected of corruption, according to Chen’s sister.

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[…] “I pulled his shirt up and saw a cave-in in his chest and black and blue bruises on his waist, but was stopped when I tried to check his lower body,” his sister said.

[…] When confronted by Chen’s family, the local branch of the commission admitted to certain negligence, but rejected request for access to video recorded during his interrogation, despite such requests being guaranteed by law, Chen’s sister said. [Source]

Caixin’s Chinese-language report has been removed, but remains available in Google’s cache and, thanks to Donald Clarkeat perma.cc.

The NGO RSDL Monitor highlighted the case in the context of similarly abuse-prone secret detentions outside the official disciplinary apparatus:

Liuzhi replaces the much feared and extremely secretive  system for CCP party members, but has expanded its reach to include all party and government workers. Theoretically, even teachers, nurses and doctors could be detained under Liuzhi. The legal framework for the system is very similar to Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL), a system for secret, prolonged, incommunicado detention that has so far mostly been used on lawyers, journalists and rights defenders.

The news of this first death under liuzhi is extremely concerning. Like RSDL, the new liuzhi system will likely significantly expand cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and maltreatment. [Source]

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The group’s work includes a recent study on Chinese authorities’ use of televised confessions and a collection of RSDL accounts by former detainees.

Amnesty International’s William Nee commented:

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