March 8, 2012
China’s parliament unveiled legislation on Thursday solidifying police powers to hold dissidents in secret, prompting an outcry from artist Ai Weiwei and other rights campaigners caught in a surge of clandestine detentions last year.
The ruling Communist Party, however, retreated from the most draconian part of rules for one kind of detention, “residential surveillance”, which were proposed last year.
Police powers to hold suspects facing subversion and other state security accusations are set out in revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law presented to parliament, the National People’s Congress, now in annual full session.
“Detainees’ families should be notified within 24 hours, except when impossible, or when they are involved in crimes concerning state security or terrorism, and notification could obstruct investigations,” the government said in a provision on detention in legal amendments issued to delegates and reporters.