Beijing: Chinese lawmakers on Wednesday passed into law controversial changes that give police powers to detain some suspects for up to six months in so-called "black jails".
The controversial bill was passed at the final session of the National People`s Congress, with 2,639 delegates voting in favour of the amendments. Only 160 lawmakers opposed the bill, and 57 abstained from the vote.
Critics say the amendments to China`s Criminal Procedure Law would legalise secret detentions for people considered a threat to the Communist Party such as political dissidents, dozens of whom were detained last year.
Secret detentions in locations away from formal detention areas, usually hotels, are already well-documented in China.
Last year many people, from renowned artist Ai Weiwei to rights lawyers and petitioners, were held illegally in informal detention, sometimes for months.