Information on whether a person can be imprisoned for 15 days prior to a formal charge being laid [CHN9956]

Elaborating on the trials and punishments in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, an Amnesty International publication reports that:
[h]undreds of people arrested in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy protests as well as other dissidents, including advocates of Tibetan independence and religious activists are detained without charge or trial for months (Amnesty International, AI Index: ASA 17/34/91, 2).
According to Country Reports for 1990,
[s]everal hundred persons detained for activities related to the 1989 demonstrations were held throughout 1990 in "detention during investigation" or "administrative detention" status. These persons were not formally "arrested" or charged with any crime, though at year's end authorities began to press charges against at least some detainees. Similarly, many members of unofficial Catholic and Protestant churches have been detained for months before being charged or released, according to credible reports (p. 848).
A lawyer in New York, trained in China, states that it is possible for a claimant to be kept in police custody for 15 days without being charged with a specific crime (23 Dec. 1991).
A representative of the Chinese Community Centre in Ottawa holds that it is possible that a person be kept by the Chinese police for 15 days or longer prior to being officially charged with a crime (2 Jan. 1992). The source refers to the frequent practice of this policy by the police in the 1980s. The source adds that this also happens at the present time, but its occurrence and frequency depend on the types of crimes and their locations; hence it may be used against "counter-revolutionary" suspects. Generally speaking, imprisonment of individuals without laying charges against them is less frequent in large cities where people tend to be more educated and more likely to be aware of legal rights than in the rural areas (Ibid.).
According to a Chinese expert and professor of History at York University, Chinese individuals can be kept by the police without being formally charged with a specific crime for as long as the Chinese authorities consider necessary; this practice is not illegal (3 Jan. 1992). The professor points out that several pro-democracy activists who had been arrested in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre were formally charged after two years.
Additional information on the subject is currently unavailable to the IRBDC.

Amnesty International. (AI Index: ASA 17/34/91). "The People's Republic of China: Trials and Punishments Since 1989."

Chinese Community Centre, Ottawa. 2 January 1992. Telephone Interview with Representative.

Chinese Lawyer, New York. 23 December 1991. Telephone Interview.

U.S. Department of State. 1991. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1990. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

York University, Toronto. 6 January 1992. Telephone Interview with Professor.

Amnesty International. (AI Index: ASA 17/34/91). "The People's Republic of China: Trials and Punishments Since 1989," pp. 1-10.