China is the biggest source of torture instruments used around the world, Amnesty International said in a report released on Tuesday.
The number of Chinese companies engaged in the manufacture and export of “intrinsically cruel, inhuman and degrading” law enforcement equipment has quadrupled to 130 in the past decade, the Financial Times quoted the report as saying.
Many of these tools have been banned in the European Union and condemned by the United Nations, the report said. These include spiked clubs, electric stun batons, weighted leg cuffs and rigid restraint chairs known as “tiger benches” in Chinese.
The devices are exported to countries with poor human rights records in Africa and Southeast Asia, the newspaper said.
“This trade — which causes immense suffering — is flourishing because the Chinese authorities have done nothing to stop companies supplying these sickening devices for export or to prevent policing equipment falling into the hands of known human rights abusers,” Patrick Wilcken, security trade and human rights researcher at Amnesty, was quoted as saying.
Amnesty said many of these items are still widely used by police and law enforcement officials in China, although the country’s top officials have pledged to stop resorting to torture to extract confessions from suspects.
The group identified at least seven Chinese companies that export spiked batons to countries such as Cambodia, Nepal and Thailand. Electric shock batons, on the other hand, are sold to several countries in Africa, it said.
Many of the Chinese companies identified in the report are state-owned or have deep ties to the government or domestic security services, according to the newspaper.
Amnesty also criticized the United Kingdom for hosting arms fairs in London and other parts of the country where illegal Chinese equipment is advertised.
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