China defends its handling of human rights under the glare of international scrutiny this week, while homegrown activists are waging their own scrappier battle over secretive detentions in the nation’s capital.
A meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council starting in Geneva on Monday gives groups and governments a chance to press Beijing on secretive executions and jailed dissidents as well as labor camps and other forms of detention.
Yet contention over China’s restrictions on its citizens is not confined to international conference rooms. Activists at home have also been galvanized, most recently against what locals call “black jails” — detention centers holding protesters without official procedures or right to appeal.
“These black jails are clearly against the law. But local officials call them legal study classes, and that shows how they treat the law as just a tool for abusing rights,” said Zhang Jianping, an activist in eastern Jiangsu province who runs a website focused on grassroots rights issues.
Read this report from The Washington Post.