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China defends record at UN watchdog hearing
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China told a United Nations' watchdog yesterday that it had "zero tolerance" for abuse in police stations, jails and on the streets.

Beijing delegation chief Li Baodong rejected as "groundless and untrue" accusations raised by some activist groups about reported "brutal physical and mental treatment of detainees".

On the second and final day of a review of China's record on the issue by the UN Committee Against Torture, Li said the country had introduced laws to ban and punish such practices.

"We have zero tolerance for torture," he told the 10-member independent committee, which monitors compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture, which China ratified in 1988.

On Friday, the UN panel had asked the Chinese delegation to reveal more details about people held in custody.

In its oral response to the committee yesterday, China defended the actions of its police who sought to restore order when the Tibet riots broke out on March 14.

More than 1,200 people arrested for their roles in the riots "have redeemed themselves and been released", Li said.

Sixty-nine have been imprisoned for arson, robbery and other crimes, he said.

(China Daily via agencies November 11, 2008)

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