Reuters reports China has sentenced 10 people to jail for illegally detaining petitioners from another city:
Those convicted were hired by authorities from Changge city in central Henan province to stop petitioners airing their grievances in Beijing, the People’s Daily said on its website, citing a Beijing newspaper.
They held them in rented houses in a Beijing suburb where the petitioners said they were beaten, the report said.
The men wore badges identifying them as employees of the Beijing representative office of the Changge government, it added.
Petitioning officials has deep roots in China, where courts are seen as beyond the reach of ordinary people, who often try to take local disputes ranging from land grabs to corruption to higher levels in the country’s capital Beijing.
Although this sentencing would be a rare judiciary handling of interceptors, the report could not be confirmed, from AP:
Beijing’s Chaoyang District Court sentenced one defendant to a year and a half in prison on Nov. 28 and gave months-long sentences to nine others, according to state media reports. The plaintiffs were not identified and calls to the court rang unanswered.
The report could not immediately be confirmed and it wasn’t clear when the sentences were handed down. The official China Daily newspaper briefly ran a story on its website saying the sentences had not yet been handed down, but later removed the report.
The official Guangmingwang website said the men had detained a number of people from central Henan province who had traveled to the capital hoping to have their complaints settled by the central government. Such petitioners are frequently intercepted by local government agents and detained illegally in shabby hostels commonly known as “black jails.”
The government has recently begun acknowledging the existence of black jails as part of modest attempts to
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