DPA: UN Rights Chief Engages China, As Group Sees "Little Progress"

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BEIJING, Nov 8, 2001 -- (dpa) United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights Mary Robinson on Thursday said she raised with Chinese officials Beijing's …. "widespread" use of torture.

"I think there is widespread use of torture in China ... It's for that reason that I am very keen that the (UN) special rapporteur against torture visits," she said.


But New York-based Human Rights in China said there had been few signs of improvement since the UN and China began technical cooperation on human rights 12 months ago.

"Since the launch of the technical cooperation program, there has been poor progress on eliminating political imprisonment, administrative detention or torture," HRIC executive director Xiao Qiang said in a statement released on Thursday.


Robinson said she was also worried about how China and other countries might be abusing the need to take measures against terrorism.


On Friday she is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

"I have raised individual cases and serious issues of concern on previous visits and I will do so on this occasion," she said.

But she admitted that she had "not had as much progress on individual cases as I have wished to".

Last month a European Union rights delegation said Beijing had "agreed in principle" to a visit by the UN special rapporteur on torture.

China had a "clear commitment" to curbing torture and had asked the EU to help in the "huge task" of educating officials and police, Spanish EU official Angelos Pangratis said.


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