China denies U.N. investigator's torture reports

China on Tuesday denied a special U.N. investigator's report of widespread torture in the country, saying authorities had mechanisms in place to prevent the problem. Manfred Nowak, the U.N.'s first torture investigator to visit China, said last week that he had heard stories of beatings and sleep deprivation during his trip to detention centers in Beijing, Tibet and the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang.

"China cannot accept the allegation that torture is widespread in China still," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular briefing.

"We understand that the rapporteur's work is to find out problems and to give criticism but within short two weeks and a trip to only three cities, the rapporteur may jump to conclusions," Qin said. "This is short on factual grounds and does not conform to reality."

Qin said monitoring and punishment systems have been set up to prevent torture cases. "We have made effective efforts in this regard," he said.

Nowak's visit, which began Nov. 21, capped a decade-long effort by the U.N. to send an investigator to look into claims of torture and mistreatment by Chinese authorities. Beijing has repeatedly agreed to allow the visits and then postponed them, reports the AP. I.L.

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