Updated 

In Brief | Nation & World | 3-10-14


China Communist Party abuses officials into confessions as part of anti-corruption efforts

LILING, China — The local Chinese official remembers the panic he felt in Room 109. He had refused to confess to bribery he says he didn’t commit, and his Communist Party interrogators were forcing his legs apart.

Zhou Wangyan heard his left thigh bone snap, with a loud “ka-cha.” The sound nearly drowned out his howls of pain.

“My leg is broken,” Zhou told the interrogators. According to Zhou, they ignored his pleas.

China’s government is under strong pressure to fight rampant corruption in its ranks, faced with the anger of an increasingly prosperous, well-educated and Internet-savvy public. However, the party’s methods for extracting confessions expose its 85 million members and their families to the risk of abuse.

In a rare display of public defiance, Zhou and three other party members in Hunan described to The Associated Press the months of abuse they endured less than two years ago, in separate cases, while in detention. Zhou, land bureau director for the city of Liling, said he was deprived of sleep and food, nearly drowned, whipped with wires and forced to eat excrement.

GOP hopes to contain political fallout if Congress fails to enact immigration overhaul

AURORA, Colo. — If the apparent slow death of immigration legislation has any political repercussions this year, they probably will be felt in the subdivisions, shopping centers and ethnic eateries wrapped around Denver’s southern end.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman represents this fast-changing district.

He’s among a few vulnerable Republican members in line to be targeted by immigrant rights advocates if the House doesn’t pass an immigration bill before the November election that would offer legal status to millions of people who entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their visas.

The issue is no easy solution for Democrats needing to gain 17 seats to win back the House majority. Democratic campaign officials are focusing on about two dozen GOP-held seats where immigration could be a factor, but they rank only nine in the top tier of possible pickups.

Immigration advocates acknowledge their impact on House races this year is limited. Most Republicans hold safe seats in districts with relatively low numbers of immigrants. Coffman is one of the most vulnerable incumbents, but the three-term lawmaker’s shift on the issue illustrates the difficulties Democrats may have.

Woman who says US general sexually assaulted her was an ambitious soldier too

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The Army captain who has accused Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair of sexually assaulting her during their three-year relationship was an ambitious soldier with plans to make the military her career, much like the boss she loved and admired.

Stirred by the 9/11 attacks to leave college and join the military, she signed up with the Army, learned the in-demand language of Arabic and showed a laser focus in trying to carve out a reputation as a soldier who could be counted on in the toughest of situations.

Her stunning allegations that Sinclair, a rising star revered by both his superiors as well as those he commanded on the battlefield, has put both of them — and the three-year affair they both admit to — under the microscope at a time when Congress and the Pentagon grapple with how to best deal with cases of sexual impropriety within the military ranks.

Her credibility is central to the case. Is she a woman whose affair with a charismatic and approachable superior ended with him forcing her to perform oral sex and threatening to kill her and her family? Or is she, as Sinclair’s lawyers have portrayed, a jilted lover who fabricated allegations of sexual assault when Sinclair refused to leave his wife?

She testified Friday as Sinclair’s court-martial began. She is expected to return to the stand Monday, where Sinclair’s attorneys will likely ask tough, pointed questions and dissect the relationship in extremely graphic detail.

By wire sources