A new report, titled China's Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression, alleges that more than 130 Chinese companies are currently involved in the "production and trade of potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment."
According to AI, "Some of the devices openly marketed by these companies - including electric shock stun batons, metal spiked batons, and weighted leg cuffs - are intrinsically cruel and inhumane and therefore should immediately be banned. Other equipment - that can have legitimate use in policing - such as tear gas and plastic projectiles or riot control vehicles - is being exported from China even when there is a substantial risk of serious human rights violations by the receiving law enforcement agencies."
"Increasing numbers of Chinese companies are profiting from the trade in tools of torture and repression," said Patrick Wilcken, an AI security trade and human rights researcher. "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."
"There is no excuse whatsoever for allowing the manufacture and trade in equipment for which the primary purpose is to torture or inflict cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on people," said Wilcken. "These heinous acts are totally banned under international law and Chinese authorities should immediately place a ban on the production and trade in such cruel and inhumane devices."
Most of the Chinese companies are state-owned.
AI and Omega are urging the Chinese authorities and those of all other countries to:
- impose an immediate ban on the production and trade of inherently abusive equipment;
- immediately suspend or deny trade licenses for the supply of other equipment to law enforcement agencies and forces where there is a substantial risk the equipment will be used to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations;
- establish export control regulations and practices for the control of security and police equipment that can have a legitimate use but is easy to abuse; and
- end all torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment, as well as the use of arbitrary force, and investigate all allegations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice.