09/13/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Shanghai: hundreds of people held in ‘black jails’ without trial

One prison held some 300 inmates. Some detained petitioners go on hunger strike. About 200 residents of Anting township were arrested and handed back to their district police. Despite its economic success, China is plagued by widespread corruption and “mass protests”, more than 90,000 incidents a year.
Shanghai (AsiaNews/CHRD) – Chinese authorities are using ‘black jails’ to hold demonstrators and petitioners, sometimes for months, and usually without formal charges or trial. Often, hotels, mental hospitals and shelters are used for such a purpose. In one case, the building had about 300 prisoners.

Last Saturday, a group of about 20 petitioners were riding a public bus in Beijing when police officers stopped the bus and demanded they show their ID cards. When the petitioners refused, the police officers seized them and sent them to Jiujingzhuang Black Jail.

According to some who were released, they counted about 300 inmates inside the facility.

On Sunday, about 150 of these prisoners were moved to another black jail in Beijing South Train Station, where some decided to go on a hunger strike.

Unlike their Beijing counterparts, some 200 residents in Anting township (Jiading District, Shanghai Municipality) were able to mark some points when they tried for the 35th time to protest against the seizure of their lands.

A number broke through a police blockage and took the underground train to their destination. However, that is how far they got. Police eventually stopped them, throwing them into waiting vans before they were handed over to Jiading police.

It appears that China’s economic success is coming at a heavy price, namely widespread corruption and injustice.

According to official figures, on average more than 90,000 incidents of mass protest are recorded each year, including demonstrations and clashes with police.
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