Chinese Complainers Kidnapped

People routinely held in 'black jails,' journalists beaten
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2009 4:44 AM CST
Human rights activist Liu Dejun looks through a room in a "black jail" in Beijing, China.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
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(Newser) – Chinese citizens en route to Beijing to lodge complaints with China's central government are routinely nabbed by thugs and tossed into makeshift "black jails" where they are illegally detained for days or months, deprived of food and water, beaten and threatened—then sent back home without filing their complaints. So claims a new report by Human Rights Watch, which alleges that police and officials refuse to crack down on the problem.

The report blames a point system that penalizes regional officials when residents of their jurisdictions complain to Beijing, motivating the officials to pay kidnappers to head off complaints. News of the kidnappings comes at the same time that a Beijing lawyer has released a report documenting more than 30 cases in the past two years of Chinese journalists being beaten, detained, or sued.