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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China says doubts Tibet torture report

December 15, 2008

BEIJING Thu Dec 14, 2008 (Reuters) - China is opposed to the use of torture and doubts a new report saying torture is widespread in Tibet, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. The Free Tibet group said in a report released on Wednesday that the use of torture in restless Tibet was widespread and routine and officials regularly ignored legal safeguards supposed to be in place to prevent it.
 
"We have noticed this report, and we think that torture is an abuse of human rights," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing. "China opposes torture, and Chinese law strictly bans it.
 
"I'm not certain about this group or what evidence they have presented to censure China about torture in Tibet. If there is evidence, we are willing to investigate the details. But if there is none, we can't accept this groundless criticism, and it will have no positive effect," he added.
 
Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and the region's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled into exile in 1959 after a failed uprising against Beijing's rule.
 
Mountainous and remote Tibet was rocked by anti-Chinese protests earlier this year, which China blamed on the Dalai Lama, whom it brands a separatist. He has repeatedly denied the claims.
 
China has vowed to stamp out torture in its judicial system, described as widespread by some critics, in the face of international and domestic pressure.
 
Last month, the U.N. Committee Against Torture, in a rare public review of China's record, expressed dissatisfaction with a "very serious information gap" about abuses in the country where criminal justice information is often considered a state secret.
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