Beijing prosecutor and lawyer Tang Jitian was on the grounds of a Chinese black jail last year, investigating a case, when local police officers handcuffed and attacked him.
“I was first strapped to an iron chair, slapped in the face, kicked on my legs, and hit so hard over the head with a plastic bottle filled with water that I passed out,” Tang said to Amnesty International of his sudden detention. Three other lawyers with him received the same treatment that day.
Under the ever-tightening censorship policies of China’s central government, human rights activists and lawyers in the country have found themselves subject to a brutal, sweeping crackdown this year. On Nov. 12, human rights organization Amnesty International released a new report that tells Tang’s chilling story—as well as dozens of others from lawyers who’ve also been assaulted by the Chinese government.
These personal accounts come to light at a crucial time: Next week, China will answer questions from a United Nations anti-torture committee at a conference in Geneva—the UN’s fifth probe into the country’s torture practices.