China rejects UN report on torture as 'untrue'

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BEIJING (AP) -- The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a U.N. panel's report alleging that police in China used torture, calling the accusations "untrue and slanderous" and saying some panel members were prejudiced against Beijing.

The U.N. Committee against Torture said it was "deeply concerned about the continued allegations, corroborated by numerous Chinese legal sources, of the routine and widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings," in a 15-page report released Friday in Geneva.

Qin Gang, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said some members of the committee were "prejudiced" against China, had ignored evidence presented by the Chinese government on the issue of torture and were citing unverified or fabricated information.

"They put untrue and slanderous comments into the committee's final conclusion, which lacks justice and professional objectiveness, against which China firmly opposes," Qin said, according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry's Web site.

Qin did not go into specifics.

The U.N. report alleged the use of torture in police custody in present and past incidents.

It called for a "full and impartial" investigation into those who were detained in the June 1989 military assault on student-led protests in Tiananmen Square and urged the Chinese government to compensate and apologize to their families.

Last year, the U.S. State Department said that between 10 and 200 Tiananmen activists were estimated to still be in prison. Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in the crackdown.

The panel urged Beijing to abolish all forms of forced labor, which are imposed for minor crimes and often without trial. China should also stop the use of "secret prisons" and the harassment of lawyers and human rights campaigners who highlight abuses, and investigate the March crackdown on anti-government forces in Tibet during which exile groups say at least 140 people were killed and more than 1,000 were detained, the panel said.

While acknowledging that China has made an effort to outlaw torture in some instances, the panel said Beijing still had to do more to meet its obligations under the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Qin said China has fulfilled the obligations set out in the U.N. convention and that it continued to make efforts to address the issue.

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