Wonderland Wire

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China’s ‘Black Jails’ Uncovered

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27 Apr 09 | AJE

Some Chinese seeking help from the central government against local injustices are instead ending up in secret detention centres controlled by local politicians. The politicians are believed to arrange for petitioners to be abducted before they reach Beijing to complain, fearing central government investigations that could hurt their reputations. The central government denies the existence of such “black jails”, as Melissa Chan reports.

Beijing denies any knowledge of the jails.

Jiang Yu, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, responding to a question by Al Jazeera on the use of “black jails” in China, said: “I don’t know what prompted you to ask this question.

“Things like this don’t exist in China. China is a country with the rule of law, and everything is handled according to the law.”

Rights groups, though, have questioned the extent to which Beijing is unaware of the secret prisons.

Petitioners punished

Wang Songlian, the research director of China Human Rights Defenders, told Al Jazeera that some facilities in Beijing functioned as centralised black jails and were used to house petitioners caught by Beijing police. >>>

Written by Editors

27 April 2009 at 2:01 pm

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