A Foreigner’s Life in a Beijing Jail

Jeremy Goldkorn of Danwei posts an account of a foreigner’s seven month stint in a Beijing jail:

If I were a Chinese person and not a foreigner, a crime like mine would have been dealt with on the “city district” level, as opposed to the “municipal” level which is much tougher.

The other people incarcerated at Beijing No. 1 Detention Center were all facing life sentences or death sentences, at least as a possibility, so it’s not a place where detainees are given a lot of slack. It’s the site of Beijing’s newly constructed hi‐tech lethal injection chamber.

It was boring as anything, and the rules were strict.

Thankfully, foreigners are housed in a section where we were mixed with big‐time white collar Chinese criminals, who are a better sort than the murderers and cannibals and rapists housed in other parts of the facility. Many of the Chinese people I was in close contact with were college educated, and many had been in positions of high responsibility. The CFO of Gome was in my cell; Huang Guangyu the CEO – formerly the richest man in China – was down the hall. I often saw him walking in the hallway heading downstairs for investigation.

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