End the use of any unofficial places of detention and ensure all detainees have prompt access to a lawyer.

These were two of our key recommendations as the international community prepares to review human rights in China as part of the United Nations process of Universal Periodic Review.

Every five years member states of the United Nations subject their human rights record to review by their peers. The third review of China will take place in November 2018. The Rights Practice was one of many NGOs to submit information for the “other stakeholders” report.

The Rights Practice report focused on our concerns with the use of detention in China and, in particular, the practice of using unofficial locations to detain people. These include the use of "residential surveillance in a designated location", which we highlighted in a report to the Committee Against Torture in 2015, as well as the practice of liuzhi or "retention in custody" which has been introduced by the new Supervision Law. We are concerned that unofficial places of detention lack adequate monitoring and restrict access to lawyers placing detainees at high risk of torture. Despite China abolishing re-education through labour in 2013 we are seeing both an expansion of extra-legal detention, particularly now in Xinjiang, and the use of unofficial facilities to detain people. We urge states’ recommendations at the UPR to highlight this deeply troubling development which is increasing the risk of torture and ill treatment and ignores the right to freedom from arbitrary detention.