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The Associated Press is moving an exclusive package this weekend detailing accusations by some Communist Party officials in China that they were brutalized in order to extract confessions to corruption, as part of the party's little-known internal discipline system.
LILING, China — The local Chinese official remembers all too clearly the panic he felt in Room 109. He had refused again and again to confess to bribery, and his four Communist Party interrogators were forcing his legs farther apart than they could go.
Then, with a loud "ka-cha," Zhou Wangyan heard his left thigh bone snap. The sickening crunch reverberated in his mind, nearly drowning out his howls of pain and the frantic pounding of his heart.
"My leg is broken," Zhou told the interrogators. According to Zhou, they ignored his pleas.
In rare first-hand, on-the-record accounts to The Associated Press, Zhou, a land bureau director, and three other party members in Hunan described the months of abuse they endured less than two years ago, in separate cases, while in secret detention. Zhou said he was deprived of sleep and food, nearly drowned, whipped with wires and forced to eat excrement. The others reported being turned into human punching bags, strung up by the wrists from high windows, or dragged along the floor, face down, by their feet. All said they talked to The Associated Press despite the risk of retaliation because they want justice.
The demands of the officials reflect a surging tide of expectations in today's China, where an increasingly prosperous, better-educated and more Internet-savvy public is pressuring the party to live by its promises of a fairer society. The same expectations have fuelled a general anger against rampant graft, in turn leading to China's biggest anti-corruption campaign in years.
However, the party's methods for extracting confessions to graft exposes its members to abuse, and experts estimate at least several thousand people are secretly detained every year for weeks or months under a system that exists outside the law. 2,500 words, moving Friday in advance for use in newspapers Monday, March 10. By Gillian Wong.
— An abridged version of 1,100 words
— A box on key findings.
— AP video of Zhou Wangyan talking about how he was beaten, starved and abused but not officially charged. Video packages will be made available to APTN, online and APVUS clients. The video will be released late Sunday EST.
— AP photos.
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