‘Pull plug on China’s televised confessions’ urges top political adviser ahead of meeting of country’s legislature

The growing number of people paraded on China’s state-run TV to give ‘confessions’ must end, says deputy chairman of the All-China Lawyers Association

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2016, 10:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 March, 2016, 8:43am

A national political adviser has suggested an end to non-judicial televised confessions just days ahead of the annual assembly of the national legislature and political advisory body, mainland media reported yesterday.

Zhu Zhengfu, deputy chairman of the All-China Lawyers Association and a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, criticised televised confessions by suspects before they had gone to trial, Caixin reported.

“A confession made on television does not equate to a legitimate confession or carry any indication he or she is guilty,” Zhu was quoted as saying. “If the confession was staged, it does not help protect the rights of the suspect or the justice system.”

READ MORE: United States voices concern over apparent forced confessions in China

This comments come after international concern last month over the growing number of people in China appearing to “have been coerced to confess” to crimes on state media.

In January, 35-year-old Swedish NGO worker Peter Dahlin confessed on state broadcaster CCTV to violating Chinese law through his activities in China.

Watch: Missing Hong Kong bookseller paraded on China’s state-run television

Zhu suggested an end to televised confessions, if possible. “Even criminal suspects enjoy the right to dignity and no one would make a televised confession without being forced to as part of a deal for a lighter sentence,” he said.

Zhu warned the practice would lead to trial by media and give the public the impression that the suspect was guilty.

“It would be difficult for the court find the suspect not guilty amid this kind of public opinion,” Zhu said.