China has announced a step forward for human rights by banning the use of evidence obtained through torture.
The new rules posted on the government website on Sunday mean that evidence with unclear origins, confessions obtained through torture and evidence acquired through violence and threats is inadmissible.
Legal experts in China said the new rules constituted major progress in protecting the legal rights of defendants.
"The issue of illegally obtained evidence has long been a controversial one in China and now they made a big step forward in this respect," said Fan Yu, a law professor at Renmin University Law School who specialises in the judicial system.
"This is the first time that a systematic and clear regulation tells law enforcers that evidence obtained through illegal means is not only illegal but also useless," said Zhao Bingzhi, dean of the law school at Beijing Normal University.
"Previously we could only infer from abstract laws that illegal evidence is not allowed. But in reality, in many cases, such evidence was considered valid.
"This is big progress, both for the legal system and for better protection of human rights," he said.
"It will help reduce the number of executions."
The frequent use of torture by police to obtain confessions was highlighted last month in the case of Zhao Zuohai, who spent 11 years in jail after being beaten into confessing the murder of a man who wasn't even dead.
Three former police officers have since been arrested over his torture.