Chinese officials are finally taking action against "black jails", which have been used to illegally detain people who traveled to Beijing to appeal to the government.
According to Yahoo! News, a Beijing court today sentenced 10 men, hired by local government officials from the central province of Henan, to prison for staffing an illegal “black jail.”They're being charged with seizing a number of citizens who had come to Beijing seeking redress for their grievances.
The sentences, which range from six months to two years, are currently being seen as a step toward in the positive direction to end extralegal detention—a common practice in China.
One victim hoever, Sang Shuling, believes it's not enough, stating, "The men behind the case were not even charged. The representatives in Beijing of the Chang Ge city government were the ones responsible, but the court said the case had nothing to do with our local government.”
Sang traveled 478 miles from Chang Ge to Beijing last April to complain that her soldier son had not been awarded a proper pension after being discharged, disabled, following an accident. She said she was seized on April 28 by men working for Chang Ge’s representative office in Beijing, forced onto a bus, and held captive in this black jail for five days, which was guarded by dogs and the 10 “thugs” sentenced. Police eventually raided it and released her and three other prisoners.
Lawyer Lu Fangzheng says today’s ruling “means there will be fewer illegal detentions of petitioners in future. Local governments will have to consider the risks of doing this.”