[img]http://www.sermonindex.net/images/forum/2004/may/featured_news.gif[/img]CHINA AGAIN POSTPONES VISIT OF U.N. INVESTIGATOR ON TORTUREChina has again postponed a visit by the U.N. investigator on torture in what human rights groups say is part of a strategy to avoid scrutiny of its overcrowded labor camps and prisons.In a statement, the Chinese government said it had postponed a planned two-week visit this month by Theo van Boven, the special rapporteur on torture, until later this year to allow more time to prepare given the many different authorities, departments and provinces involved, news reports said. Van Boven, who was due to present his report to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission, condemned the delay, saying that freedom to make inquiries as well as access to places of detention were necessary for a proper assessment. He also stressed the need for confidential interviews with detainees and other people without fear of reprisal. Chinas controversial decision followed detailed reports by human rights groups last week about a major Beijing-backed crackdown on underground congregations. This includes the recent arrests of more than 100 evangelical believers and the death of 28-year-old house church teacher Gu Xianggao who died after being beaten by Chinese Public Security Bureau officers on April 27. Chinese officials have not reacted to these reports, but the government has said that China must protect itself against evil cults. Human rights watchdogs argue that the term is used as an excuse to attack growing evangelical churches and dissident groups because the Chinese Communist Party fears it will lose control on some sectors of society.