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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 10:08 GMT
China to record police interviews
Prisoners in China's Fujian province
China is accused of using torture to send suspects to jail
China is to begin recording police interviews in workplace-related crimes to stop confessions being extracted through torture, state media has said.

Procurators will start making audio recordings this year and introduce video next year, officials were quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying.

Legal representatives said that if deemed a success, recordings could be introduced for all criminal cases.

A UN envoy recently stated that torture remains widely used across China.

Beijing outlawed torture in 1996, but human rights organisations report it is still used by police to extract confessions.

Wang Zhenchuan, from the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), said that making recordings of workplace-related investigations would "help prevent violations of the law during interrogation".

He said it would also stop criminal suspects from revoking confessions or bringing false charges against interrogators.

The recordings would only be made of interrogations in workplace-related crimes, like corruption and dereliction of duty.

Analysts warned that China was unlikely to extend the practise to more sensitive areas, like politically-linked investigations.

The announcement follows a string of cases in the Chinese media highlighting torture and coercion by the police.

In one recent case, a man who had been sent to prison for murdering his wife was released after she was found alive.

The man, She Xianglin, said he had been tortured into confessing to the murder, and had already served 11 years of his sentence.

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