China Investigates Extralegal Petitioner Detentions
The Beijing authorities are investigating a private security company that allegedly helped local governments detain petitioners and lock them in “black jails” in Beijing. From the New York Times:
According to the English-language China Daily, the company’s employees posed as police officers and dragooned petitioners into “black jails,” where they were held and sometimes beaten until they could be hauled back to their homes in other provinces.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied that such extralegal detention centers exist. In testimony last year to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Li Baodong, the head of the Chinese mission, stated, “There are no black jails in the country.”
News about the company, Anyuanding Security Technology Service, was published by Caijing and Southern Metropolis Daily, two publications that often push beyond the boundaries that constrain much of China’s official media. According to their reports, the company, which earned $3.1 million in 2008, employs 3,000 “interceptors” whose job it is to ensnare petitioners before they can make it to the central government bureaus where grievances are filed.
According to Southern Metropolis Daily, the Beijing Public Security Bureau detained two of Anyuanding’s executives and charged them with “illegally detaining people and illegally operating a business.” The police did not immediately respond to calls for comment Monday. The company, whose Web site was taken down over the weekend, could not be reached.