Communist Party officials are being held prisoner and interrogated by their own party in a secret detention programme outside of the country’s legal system.

The Chinese ruling party’s internal investigation department has held thousands of its own in ‘shuanggai’ this year alone.

The process, which translates as ‘dual designation’, denies legal representation to those held captive, who are usually questioned in hotels, houses and military bases.

 
Shuangguai is the internal Communist Party process for disciplining corrupt officials

Shuangguai is the internal Communist Party process for disciplining corrupt officials (file photo)

Three officials have died mysteriously in the past four months, reports the Daily Telegraph, while hundreds have committed suicide or died suspiciously in the past decade.

One man was said to have suffocated on his quilt during his sleep, while others died from playing hide and seek or having nightmares, according to the Guardian.

It is known as ‘the sharp sword for corrupt party officials’, according to a favourable 2011 behind-the-scenes report, since taken down, by Chinese blogger Chu Zhaoxian.

Chu said officials last no longer than three days before breaking down and confessing after facing interrogations, inquiries and psychological examinations.

Prisoners are deprived of sleep, beaten, burned with cigarettes and waterboarded, according to the Dui Hua Human Rights journal.

The sound-proofed rooms are padded and have bars on the windows to prevent suspects from harming themselves.n March, biologist Guan Shaofeng, 50, disappeared from the northern city of Dandong in Liaoning province, where he was in charge of the custom house’s inspections.

He was held for seven days in the same room under shuanggui and questioned over 42,000 yuan (£4,300) of alleged bribes by party agents, who do not know each other before they assemble for a case, according to the Atlantic.

His wife, economics professor Wang Jinping, told the Telegraph that she found her husband with a broken coccyx and newly deaf in one ear when she was finally called to a local hospital to see him.

‘He said he had not been allowed to sleep for four days and from the surveillance video they allowed us to see it is very clear that his right eye was bruised and he had difficulty getting up from his chair,’ she said.

 
Interrogation: A restraining chair in meeting room inside the No.1 Detention Center in Beijing (file photo)

Interrogation: A restraining chair in meeting room inside the No.1 Detention Center in Beijing (file photo)

Former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was held for ten months under shuanggui

Former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was held for ten months under shuanggui

Mrs Wang said the family was modestly wealthy from the couple’s joint earnings and denied her husband was corrupt. He faces an imminent trial under the normal Chinese legal system.

This year alone, 2,300 officials have been disciplined under shuanggui, the Telegraph said, under a new mission to drive out corruption – though it is thought many are targeted purely for political revenge.

The secrecy tries to keep all scandal within the party, instead of ruining its reputation within the country and abroad.

High profile detainees include disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, amid the scandal of his alleged role in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

He was detained for ten months in the process before being expelled from the party and handed over to the courts to await trial for corruption.

In April, Yu Qiyi died in hospital after being held for 38 days on suspicion of bribery in his position as chief engineer of the state-owned Wenzhou Industry Investment Group.

Pictures of his bruised and battered body which found their way online were at odds with the Chinese government’s announcement of accidental death.

Former local government official Li Jianning told the Telegraph about his own time under the process in 1997.

‘For eight days and seven nights, I was not allowed to sleep. There were six people taking it in turns to interrogate me for eight-hour stretches. Finally I caved in and admitted taking 10,000 yuan of bribes,’ he said, adding that promotions were handed out to the agents who handled his case.

Human Rights Watch has spoken out against the treatment of the party officials, though the allegedly corrupt are unlikely find much sympathy among ordinary Chinese.

They said it amounts to arbitrary detention, rather than voluntary investigation as the Communist Party would like it to be seen.

 

 
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