Chinese firms are widely and in many cases "openly" distributing devices that can readily be used for torture, Amnesty International says in a new report. The number of companies involved has surged from 28 to more than 130 in the past decade, the activist organization notes, and most of these firms are government-owned. Pointing to "intrinsically cruel" equipment, Amnesty says that "while some of the exports are no doubt used in legitimate law enforcement operations, China has also exported equipment that has inhumane effects or poses a substantial risk of fueling human rights violations by foreign law enforcement agencies" in Africa and Asia, the BBC reports.
Among the items are shock batons, which "make it easy for security officials to apply extremely painful multiple shocks by hand to sensitive areas of the body, including the genitals, throat, groin, or ears, without long-lasting physical traces." There are also spiked batons (no other country is known to make these), heavy leg cuffs, and neck shackles. Cambodia, Egypt, Ghana, Nepal, Thailand, Madagascar, and Senegal are among the recipients, notes the report, which calls on China to "fundamentally reform its trade regulations." China's foreign ministry says it has "no knowledge" of the practice, noting a "strong bias" at Amnesty against the country, CNN reports. (Read more China stories.)