FAQs on the Amendments to the PRC Criminal Procedure Law
Q: When is the due date of conducting public consultation on the new amendments to the PRC Criminal Procedure Law?
A: The public consultation on the new amendments to the PRC Criminal Procedure Law lasts until 30 September 2011.
Q: What is the suggestion of amendment of Article 73?
A: Residential surveillance should be carried out in the residence of the suspect or the accused person. For those who don’t have a regular residence, the residential surveillance can be carried out in a specified residence. For offences of suspected endangering national security, terrorist activities and serious graft, it may hinder the investigation if the residential surveillance is carried out in the residence. With the approval of the procuratorate or the public security agency from the above level, the residential surveillance can be carried out in a specified residence. But it should not be carried out in detention facilities or venues to conduct investigation.
Q: What is the effect of the new Article 73?
A: Some people indicates that ‘it might cause more enforced disappearances and arbitrary of human rights lawyers and human rights defenders if the public security will be given more power to decide where they can execute the residential surveillance against the human rights defenders by claiming that they are investigating the cases that involve suspected endangering national security according to the new amendments. The public security will not even be required to inform the family members of the human rights defenders with the excuse that it might hinder their investigation by informing them.’
Q: What is the suggestion of amendment of Article 84?
A: The Article 84 is modified from Article 64 of the existing law. It indicates that ‘After being detained, the detained person should be immediately sent to the detention centre. Except that there is no way to inform the detained person’s family, or the case involves serious crimes such as suspected endangering national security or terrorist activities, or it would hinder the investigation by informing the family, the family of the arrested person(s) should be informed about the reason(s) of the detention and the place of detention within 24 hours after the detention.’
Q: What is the effect of the new Article 84?
A: The definition of “endangering national security” and “terrorist activities” is vague and it is also up to the public security to claim whether “it would hinder the investigation” as an excuse for not to inform the family of the detained or arrested person within 24 hours after the detention or formal arrest. We are extremely worried that it would only make it easier for the public security to detain human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders without informing their families with the excuse that the cases involve “endangering national security” or that it would “hinder the investigation.”
Q: What is the suggestion of amendment of Article 37?
A: In Article 37 of the amended law, it shows some improvements by stipulating that “defense lawyers can understand the details of the case and provide legal consultation service to their clients when they meet with detained suspects and accused persons. Since the day of the case transferred to the procuratorate, defense lawyers can verify relevant evidence with the suspects and the accused. The meetings between defense lawyers and the suspects and the accused will not be monitored.”
Q: What is the effect of the new Article 84?
A: It will give the public security more power to restrict defense lawyers’ rights to meet with detained human rights defenders who are often charged with offenses of so-called “endangering national security.”
Q: What is the Article 76 of the amended law?
A: The law enforcement agency can apply surveillance measures, such as electronic surveillance and irregular checks on the suspect or the accused person under residential surveillance to monitor whether they follow the requirements of residential surveillance. During the investigation period, communication surveillance can be applied to the suspect under residential surveillance.
Q: What is the effect of the new Article 76?
A: The communication of suspects and accused persons’ rights will be completely deprived according to this amended provision. We are worried that it will make journalists and people who are concerned about human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders to get information about the situations of the lawyers and human rights defenders who are put under residential surveillance.