U.N. special investigator announces torture lees widespread in China

Torture by authorities remains widespread in China, although the practice appears to be in decline in big cities, the United Nations said Friday. "The practice of torture, though on decline particularly in urban areas, remains widespread in China," the U.N. said in a statement released at the end of a trip by Manfred Nowak, the world body's special investigator on torture.

The statement also said that government security authorities "attempted at various times throughout the visit to obstruct or restrict his attempts at fact-finding."

"Victims and family members were intimidated by security personnel during the visit, placed under surveillance, instructed not to meet with him or physically prevented from meeting with him," it said. Nowak arrived in China on Nov. 21 following a decade-long U.N. effort to send an investigator to look into claims of torture and mistreatment by Chinese authorities.

Nowak has visited detention centers in Beijing, Tibet and the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, and held talks with top Chinese prosecutors and justice officials. China outlawed torture in 1996, but activists and lawyers say it is still widely practiced, reports the AP. I.L

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