Controversial clauses that permit detention, arrest or surveillance of suspects at specific places, without informing their families, have been partially revised in response to an outcry to curb possible abuses of public security measures, as the latest amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law is tabled for lawmakers to read.
Clauses in the previous draft amendment to the law, which permit police to arrest suspects or hold them at a specific place under surveillance without telling their families, have been removed from the latest version delivered to the National People's Congress for a third review on Thursday.
The proposal requires public security to inform the suspect's family within 24 hours after arrest and surveillance, Wang Zhaoguo, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, told members of the top legislature.
As for detention, the proposal still permits the police not to inform the family "if the case is related to state security or terrorism, and if telling families would impede the investigation", Wang said.The changes are made to ensure the rights of suspects, he said.
Thursday's proposal is also significant for "respecting and safeguarding human rights" as an essential principle in the proposed code. This is the first time this has been stated since the code was introduced in 1979.
Prior to this, the National People's Congress Standing Committee had already reviewed stipulations in August and December, and had included major refinements such as the prohibition of forced confession under torture.
Dai Yuzhong, a member of the inspection committee under the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said in the new draft amendment that the modifications of evidence, defense, enforcement measures, investigation, as well as trial systems, all, to some extent, embody the protection of human rights.
Dai acknowledged that sometimes the police use torture to force suspects to make confessions.
The draft amendment has made clear that confessions extorted through illegal means, such as torture, should be excluded from evidence during trial.
1. When was the third review delivered to the NPC?
2. Under the proposal when should a suspect’s family be informed?
3. When was the code first introduced?
2. within 24 hours.
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）
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Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.