The embassy of the Peoples Republic of China in Nigeria has provided clarification on the status of Nigerians serving prison sentences in Chinese jails, denying that they have been subjected to unfair trails and inhumane treatment.

A statement at the weekend by spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Yang Guanda, in reaction to a story published in THISDAY titled ‘Nigerians Languish in Chinese Jails’, said all foreigners residing in China are treated equally without discrimination.

 “China is an open and civilised country practicing rule of law, where the foreigners residing are treated equally without discrimination. It is stipulated clearly in the Article 32 of the Chinese Constitution that China protects the lawful rights and interests of foreigners within Chinese territory and foreigners on Chinese territory must abide by the laws of China,” Guanda said on behalf of his embassy.

Guanda, who disclosed that a few Nigerians in China engaged in illegal activities had been arrested, prosecuted and sentenced by Chinese judicial authorities according to Chinese laws and judicial sovereignty, said such criminals were treated equally and fairly by the Chinese authorities.

The Chinese authorities, according to Guanda, also provide Nigerian prisoners with education and rehabilitation programme as well as humanitarian care.

On the prisoners’ rights and protection, Guanda said: “China has established and constantly improved a series of relevant legislations and systems as well. According to the Constitution, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedural Law and Prison Law of China, all prisoners in Chinese prisons enjoy general rights composed of personal rights, property rights and political rights.

“For instance, the prisoners’ personal safety shall not be infringed upon, and they are accorded food, medical service and other material treatment necessary in daily lives to ensure their physical and mental health. More than that, the prisoners also have special rights of appeal, complaint, communication, meeting, rest, obtaining reward from work, labour protection and commutation.

“To ensure implementation and protection of the general and special rights of prisoners, the prosecution and supervision system has been introduced to each prison in China. Through monitoring the life, study and work of the prisoners, investigating relevant documents and files, proceeding individual talks and receiving petitions and complaints of the prisoners, the inspectors deployed by Chinese prosecutorial institutions to the jails can effectively protect prisoners’ human rights.”

Guanda also denied that the Chinese government harvests and trades on human organs. “The fact is that the trade of human organs is illegal in China and strictly forbidden. Donation of organs is encouraged, as in other countries, but voluntary consent is the prerequisite. And this applies to both the public and condemned criminals.”

The Chinese spokesman said that the Chinese government comprehensively advances law-based governance. “Respect and protection of human rights is enshrined in the Chinese Constitution and implemented fully as a basic constitutional principle. All aspects of human rights in China, including the right to development, rights of the person, democratic rights, right to impartial trial, rights of ethnic minorities and etc., are respected and protected effectively.”

Making reference to China-Nigeria relations, Guanda added that in recent years, the relations between both countries have kept a good momentum of overall development, “with growing political mutual trust and frequent high-level exchanges, roaring fruitful economical cooperation and deepening mutual understanding between Chinese and Nigerian people.

“This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations. The two countries will hold a series of commemorative events.”

Under this positive and amicable context, he said the article by THISDAY was entirely inappropriate and to some extent will shadow the development of bilateral ties.