China’s “Black Jails”

The International Herald Tribune published yesterday an article yesterday on China’s "Black Jails"..

The report reveals that these supposed "legal (re)education centres" are little more that houses of detention.

The IHT reports:

Growing opposition to China’s ‘black jails’

BEIJING: A meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council that started 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 Jiangsu Province.

Despite the Communist Party’s censorship and crackdowns on dissent, demands for rights are spreading throughout this increasingly diverse and fractious society.

Some rights advocates said the detentions should be a top issue at the UN "universal periodic review" of China.

"In a sense, this is the biggest human rights issue, because it involves so many people, it’s so widespread, and it’s so lacking in legal justification," said Xu Zhiyong, a Beijing law lecturer and rights advocate who has organized "guerrilla" citizen rescues of detained petitioners.

Full Report