The Supreme Peoples' Court, the highest court in China, urged lower courts to prohibit admissions of guilt obtained from torture. The directive reinforces existing laws prohibiting the admission of such evidence in court. Despite such theoretical protections, according to Tian Wenchang, head of the criminal committee of the All China Lawyers Association, prosecutors and police can override prohibitions against admitting confessions obtained through torture by simply asserting that police did not commit torture during interrogation. Moreover, the high court directive does nothing to impose penalties on police who commit torture. As such, despite receiving praise from international observers, this most recent development will likely have little impact on existing practices.
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