Friday, November 29, 2013

Beijing Recognizes Underground Jails

In a press conference today, the deputy director of the National Petition Bureau Mr. Li Gao was asked to comment on the underground jails scattered around the Bureau. Local governments set up these underground jails to detain appelees who come to Beijing to petition their mistreatment by local governments before they could be transferred back. By letters of current law, this is illegal.

Mr. Li Gao stated, these petitioners were detained when they conducted "illegal petition", therefore, they were not under protection of law.

Mr. Li's comment was puzzling in many ways. First of all, what conducts would make petitioning to the National Petition Bureau 'illegal'? Secondly, regardless of what these petitioners were doing in Beijing, how could local governments from other provinces jail them in Beijing without going through any judicial procedure? Also, what are the legal arguments for local government to set up secret jails in Beijing?

Billionaire and civil activist Mr. Wang Gongquan was arrested this summer. Mr. Wang visited the underground jails in a winter night earlier this year and demand releasing of the detainees. Mr. Wang was charged with disturbance order.

On a separate note, domestic techie tycoons lessoned Party leadership how to make use of Internet technology. Zhongguancun, September 30, a Robin Yanhong Li in a full white suits, founder and CEO of Baidu the Chinese search engine, briefed Xi Jinping the concept of Big Data and applications into social management, such as online surveillance of public events.

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