A federal executive department that is responsible for foreign policy criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for recording forced confessions before trial.
The U.S. Department of State has accused the CCP of recording dissenters publicly confessing to crimes under duress before the matter can be heard in court.
The department’s worldwide portal called the CCP state-run television’s broadcasting of forced confessions a “mockery of due process and the right to a fair trial.”
ShareAmerica cited a recent United Nations report that proves the CCP repeatedly broke the country’s domestic law and international treaties by forcing critics and activists to admit to wrongdoing before they had a chance to plead innocent.
“Forced televised confessions are part of a chain of systematic and widespread abuses of human rights perpetrated in order to serve the political interests of the CCP,” the report said according to foreign policy writer and editor Leigh Hartman.
Hartman revealed many of these so-called admissions appear to be staged and could even be intended for CCP propaganda to discourage concerned citizens from questioning the integrity of the country’s political and judicial systems.
“There is little to distinguish them from the repugnant practices of Mao [Zedong]-era public struggle sessions or [Joseph] Stalin’s infamous show trials,” the report said.
Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) Safeguard Defenders and Human Rights Watch compiled the “China’s practice of extracting and broadcasting forced confessions before trial” report from 87 confirmed cases where state security officials or police allegedly forced pretrial confessions that aired on state-run media dating back to 2013.
Reporters Without Borders, Front Line Defenders, World Organization Against Torture, ChinaAid, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide co-authored the report.
“The report calls the CCP’s forced confessions an attack on human dignity and the basic right to due process and a fair trial,” Hartman said. “It says the practice is linked to torture, threats, and arbitrary detention, and shows the People’s Republic of China lacks a legitimate criminal justice system.”
The NGOs want the U.N. to urge CCP leaders to introduce new legislation that bans forced televised confessions and gives Chinese citizens greater protections.
The Chinese Constitution currently does not guarantee a fair trial even though suspects are legally presumed innocent and have a right to a lawyer according to University of Hong Kong law associate professor Amanda Whitfort.
The CCP has a history of targeting critics or perceived enemies with “vague national security or public order laws, such as ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.'”
These victims include lawyers, human rights activists, journalists, underground Christians, Falun Gong adherents, Tibetan Buddhists, and Uighurs.
New Yorker Leeshai Lemish and Ethan Gutmann from Vermont interviewed several peaceful Falun Gong adherents who were allegedly forced into confessing they regularly performed four standing exercises, sitting meditation, and behaved truthfully, compassionately, and tolerantly in daily life.
Witness Li Weixun revealed that the CCP continued to hold her a prisoner of conscience until she agreed to confess to her so-called wrongdoing.
“I chocked back tears [and said,] ‘I will kneel before you!’ I held her and said, ‘Mom, you know Falun Gong made me healthy and happy, what I did was perfectly legal—they are the ones breaking the law,'” she said according to the Falun Dafa Information Center website. “My heart bled as I watched my mother leave.”
Lemish and Gutmann also found evidence of prison guards resorting to different forms of torture in order to obtain a confession. For example, Falun Gong adherents claimed they were hung and beaten in several painful positions. They were also allegedly moved to labor camps where they were forced to work very long hours in unlivable conditions.
“Some reports estimate that over half the camps’ total population are Falun Gong,” the New Statesman reported. “In these camps’ cells they work as slaves making products exported to the West. The cell reeks of feces and urine.”
Labor camp supervisors even appeared to disregard basic hygiene practices.
“When the disposable chopsticks they are wrapping fall on the floor, Chen Ying told us in Paris, they are ordered to wrap them anyway, their fingernails [are even] stained with pus and blood,” the New Statesman said.
From 1992 to 1999, Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) enjoyed immense popularity with an estimated 70 million to 100 million people practicing in mainland China alone. The practice has also spread to the United States and more than 70 countries across the world while Falun Gong books have been translated into over 40 different languages.
However, the CCP grew increasingly unsettled by the group’s rapid growth and high number of influential party members who joined. Late in 1999, Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin decided to arbitrarily arrest and torture adherents to death, confiscated and destroyed more than 2 million Falun Gong books, and ordered state-run media to publish hundreds of articles that defamed the practice.
The two-decade human rights crisis has caused at least 4,363 known Falun Gong adherents to be persecuted to death, with “tens of thousands more [cases] to be confirmed” according to the latest data collected by the Minghui website. The CCP’s policy to cremate the deceased bodies of victims without asking permission from family members, has only added to the difficulty in ascertaining exactly how many Falun Gong adherents have been persecuted to death since 1999.