China’s supreme court has issued a document saying officials must no longer use torture to extract confessions from suspects.
It specified that using “extreme heat, freezing, starving, heat branding or extreme exhaustion” to extract confessions were illegal.
The document also states judges can only use the death penalty if they are absolutely sure of the evidence and that they should not be affected by “public opinion” or the “pressure of local government.”
It’s the latest in a series of reforms which have included relaxing the one child policy and freeing up markets.
They were decided at a four-day, closed-door meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee in Beijing last week.
Observers say the changes are some of the most significant in China since reforms in the late ’70s and early ’80s which eventually opened the country up to the outside world.