In China, innocent citizens are regularly detained and tortured, with no redress available to them. On March 27 and 28 groups of people in southwestern Sichuan Province and in the capital Beijing took matters into their own hands and rescued 3 petitioners.
Former Teacher Saved
On the morning of March 27 the human rights activist Liu Zhengyou and four others from Zigong, the third-largest city in Sichuan Province, mounted a rescue mission in the tiny town of Wubao. They came seeking to free a former teacher, who had been wronged 50 years ago, and then detained in 1997 when he sought to petition for redress for the ill treatment he had suffered.
According to Liu, at 11:30 a.m. the small party rushed into the black jail where the former teacher, Hu Jingming, was believed to be held. Black jails operate outside the legal system and are used primarily to detain petitioners, without such legal niceties as a formal arrest or trial.
The rescuers quickly searched the dark rooms of the black jail, hidden within the Wubao Nursing Home, until they found Hu Jingming.
As Hu’s eyes filled with tears, town official Zhu Guobin arrived with several policemen, surrounding Hu and the rescue team and ordering them to stay. Liu Zhengyou answered, “You must produce a subpoena, detention warrant, or arrest warrant; otherwise you are committing a crime!”
As 74-year-old Hu Jingming began to tell about the beatings he had suffered in prison—his hand broken, feet swollen, and body covered in bruises, people began to gather, listening and watching. Eventually moved to indignation by Hu’s story, the crowd began to curse the police and officials, who then decided to resolve the issue in the town government office.
At 2 p.m., Hu and the rescue team were taken to the reception office of the County Office for Letters and Calls, but no one came to meet them. Liu Zhengyou told Zhu Guobin that none of the officials wanted to be involved in this affair. Hu and the rescuers were allowed to leave.
As they left, one petitioner said to Zhu Guopin, “Who gives you the right to abuse power, bully people, and do so much evil? You wait and see; we’ll get you fired!”
In a blog post, Liu Zhengyou recounted how Hu Mingjing had 50 years earlier served as Dean of Student Affairs at Caijia Elementary School in Rong County.
One day, Hu had inadvertently offended the principal. Sometime later, he became ill and had to be hospitalized, which was approved by the supervisors of the school.
After Hu Mingjing’s recovery, the principal, Hu Zekai, destroyed all documents related to Hu’s hospitalization and sick leave request, and accused him of taking “unauthorized leave.” Fan Shaohua, the Education Bureau Chief of Rong County at that time, conspired with the principal to fire Hu Mingjing.
The loss of employment not only caused him extreme financial difficulty, it also led a few years later to his wife leaving and taking their daughter with her—back in the 1960s and 1970s, being the employee of a work unit was the only way for someone to make a decent living.
In 1997 Hu felt he had no choice but to petition for relief for the wrongs done him by the school administrators. After being “intercepted” while petitioning in Beijing, he was thrown into the black jail. “Interceptors” are hired thugs who are used to detain petitioners and transport them to black jails.
Beijing Petitioners Rescue Couple
Taking a simple photograph in Beijing landed a couple in jail and then in the clutches of interceptors, but a crowd of petitioners intervened and secured their freedom, according to “Weiquanwang,” a Chinese-language human rights website
Liu Xiuzhao and his wife Li Yu had come to Beijing from the far northeastern city of Chongqing to petition for grievances.
One petitions at an appeals office. In Beijing, clustered together are the State Council Appeals Office, the People’s Congress Appeals Office, and the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Discipline Inspection Committee’s Appeals Office. Petitioners refer to these buildings as the “Corrupt Three-in-a-Row.”
On March 28 the Chongqing petitioners were arrested after taking a photo in that area and imprisoned at You’anmen Police Station. According to petitioners, the Corrupt Three-in-a-Row area is not restricted, and there are no signs prohibiting photography.
Three hours later, human rights activists and petitioners from various places who had heard about the arrest gathered at the scene. Over 60 petitioners went to the You’anmen Police Station and convinced the police to release Liu Xiuzhao and his wife.
Li Mingcui, also a petitioner, told a Weiquanwang reporter that as soon as the couple was released, “interceptors” from the Chongqing Liaison Office in Beijing arrived.
The petitioners suspected that the police, after agreeing to release the Liu couple, had notified the Liaison Office. The crowd of petitioners decided to stop the interceptors themselves. Faced with this large, united group, along with other members of the public who scolded them, the interceptors left in disgrace.
Shortly afterwards, the interceptors regrouped and recaptured the couple, but the tenacious petitioners saved them again and then drove away the interceptors.
Translation by Alex Wu. Written in English by Barbara Gay.
Read the original Chinese article.