Practice Relating to Rule 99. Deprivation of Liberty
China’s Law Governing the Trial of War Criminals (1946) provides that “making indiscriminate mass arrests” constitutes a war crime.
China’s Criminal Law (1979), as amended in 1997, states:
Article 238 Whoever unlawfully detains another person or unlawfully deprives the personal freedom of another person by any other means shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights. If he resorts to battery or humiliation, he shall be given a heavier punishment.
Whoever commits the crime mentioned in the preceding paragraph and causes serious injury to the victim shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than 10 years; if he causes death to the victim, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than 10 years. If he causes injury, disability or death to the victim by violence, he shall be convicted and punished in accordance with the provisions of Article 234 or 232 of this Law.
Whoever unlawfully detains or confines another person in order to get payment of a debt shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs.
Where a functionary of a State organ commits any of the crimes mentioned in the preceding three paragraphs by taking advantage of his functions and powers, he shall be given a heavier punishment in accordance with the provisions in the preceding three paragraphs correspondingly.
China’s Constitution (1982), as amended in 2004, states:
Freedom of the person of citizens of the People’s Republic of China is inviolable.
No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people’s procuratorate or by decision of a people’s court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ.
Unlawful detention or deprivation or restriction of citizens’ freedom of the person by other means is prohibited, and unlawful search of the person of citizens is prohibited.
In 2005, in a white paper on “China’s Progress in Human Rights in 2004”, China stated:
Since May 2004, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate has carried out a special campaign to severely deal with criminal cases involving government functionaries’ infringement upon human rights by misusing their powers, focusing on cases of illegal detention and search, extorting confessions by torture, gathering evidence with violence, [and] abusing people in custody.