Pre-emptive Prevention of Torture

In February 2016, GBCC concluded a 10-month project on ‘the Pre-Emptive Prevention of Torture’. The long-term goal of this project was to assist in the eradication of torture from China’s investigative process. In the short-term, this project helped clarify provisions in the Criminal Procedural Law related to police custody, and improved police working standards.


This project was funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Strategic Programme Fund and conducted in partnership with Renmin University. The project succeeded in laying a strong foundation for GBCC’s follow up project: ‘Promoting Effective Safeguards During Criminal Pre-Trial Detention’ – funded by the EU Commission and due to run from 2016-2018. In particular, the 10-month project began work to strengthen implementation of China’s ‘Regulation on Standardising Some Criminal Investigation and Evidence Collection’, as evidenced by a report compiled by our Chinese project partner, stating that the local police units where project research was conducted are already implementing the ‘Regulation’ more successfully, and that these units have clamped down on methods of unlawful evidence collection. The report calculates that this has in turn reduced the rate of formal arrest (‘Pibu’) in these specific units by as much as 50%. (‘Pibu’ refers to formal arrest by the police after the procuratorate has approved commencement of the criminal trial process).

The final activity of this project was a joint seminar held by GBCC’s partner Renmin University with the Kunming Public Security Bureau, focusing on the standardisation of criminal investigation and evidence collection and providing an opportunity to disseminate the findings of the project work. An audience of officials and experts from the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the China Law Society all attended, along with leading criminal procedure law academics from more than ten law schools across China, and a large number of criminal defence lawyers specialising in criminal law.

The objective of GBCC’s follow-up project, funded by the EU for 24-months and commencing in April 2016, will be to eradicate the use of forced confession and other forms of ill-treatment during criminal pre-trial detention in China’s criminal justice system, with particular attention to the first 48-hours of detention.

Date posted: 26 April 2016

Categories: Criminal Justice

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