“Black Jails” in the Host City of the “Open Olympics”

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“Black Jails” in the Host City of the “Open Olympics”

Secret detention facilities in Beijing are illegally incarcerating petitioners

A report of Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Table of Contents


Detention facility managed by the Beijing liaison office of Nanyang City government, Henan Province

Facility managed by the Beijing liaison office of Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province

Other detention facilities in Beijing

Beijing liaison office of Shiyan City, Hubei Province

Beijing liaison office of Liaoning Province

The Green Tree Inn

Beijing liaison office of Pingdingshan City, Henan Province

“Black jails” and other detention facilities outside Beijing

“Black Jails” Violate Chinese Laws and International Human Rights Laws



Appendix 1. Addresses/locations in Beijing of “black jails” documented in this report

Appendix 2. Exterior views of several “black jails” in Beijing



As preparations for the 17th Communist Party Congress and the 2008 Summer Olympics enter their final stages, clean-up operations to rid the city of protesters and “trouble makers” have also intensified. In recent weeks, official operations in Beijing have driven out, intercepted, detained, intimidated, and repatriated petitioners (persons who travel from the provinces to Beijing to lodge grievances with the central government). Local officials from provincial and municipal governments have used their liaison offices or rented spaces in the capital as temporary detention and interrogation centers before escorting petitioners back to their home provinces, where they often face interrogation, mistreatment, and imprisonment.

“These detention facilities, known as ‘black jails’ due to their secret locations and under-cover operations, operate completely outside China’s judicial system. They have no legal basis in Chinese law. They violate due process rights and arbitrarily deprive people of liberties guaranteed in international human rights conventions,” said Mr. Zhong, who participated in documenting the cases in this report.

The arrests and interrogation, in most cases involving beating and other forms of mistreatment, are carried out not by law enforcement officers, but by government officials or staff members who work in the Beijing liaison offices of the various provinces or cities, as local governments are pressured by the central government to control the flow of petitioners into Beijing. These operations take place under the eyes of the Beijing police, and often with their cooperation.

Most petitioners are taken from the streets, often in front of the State Council’s Office of Letters and Visits. They are intercepted by officials or staff from their own local cities or provinces’ Letters and Visits Offices, which have set up temporary or permanent stations in Beijing, or by men hired by these liaison officials.

According to petitioners interviewed, the hot spots for intercepting petitioners or taking them into custody are Majia Building (Ma Jia Lou), areas near the Beijing Public Security Bureau’s South Train Station; Fuyou Street Police Station; the area surrounding the State Council Office of Letters and Visits, and the National People’s Congress Office of Letters and Visits; as well as nearby cheap restaurants and inns where the petitioners gather.

The detainees can be incarcerated in the “black jails” for days or months. They are crowded into small rooms, poorly fed, without proper sanitation facilities or health care. Many are elderly and some have children, while significant numbers have medical conditions or are disabled. They are prohibited from contacting the outside world. They can only be released if (1) their local governments, notified by those running the detention facilities, send officials to escort them home or to local detention centers, or (2) the local governments do not want to pay for their detention and agree to monitor them and make sure they stop petitioning the government, or (3) the detainees sign a paper promising to stop petitioning, generally under duress.

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