On Feb. 12, the third day of the two-week long celebration of the Chinese New Year, Song Qiaozhi, a citizen of Henan Province petitioning in Beijing, was abducted and taken to the Majialou black jail. While her fellow Chinese citizens traveled to and from relatives’ homes, celebrating and sharing in the centuries-old customs of their common heritage, Song was being assaulted by interceptors who stripped her naked because she was hiding in a bathroom. She is reportedly still being detained there.
Petitioning in China is a last resort for those who have suffered some type of legal misfortune that has not been adequately resolved at the local level. Such people can seek redress from the State Bureau for Letters and Calls. Millions go to Beijing every year, expecting their problems to be promptly handled by the bureau, which is charged with reporting the matters to the relevant departments and resolving the issue.
However, local officials have established extralegal black jails, with the support of public security authorities, to avoid the bureaucratic penalties that come with a large flow of petitioners from their respective areas to Beijing. The black jail system includes interceptors, who abduct petitioners, detain them, and often transport them back to their homes. This process happens outside of the legal system; according to the Chinese regime, it does not even exist.
Since 2007, Song Qiaozhi has repeatedly traveled to Beijing to protest her house being illegally torn down, a common occurrence in China. Her plea fell on deaf ears, and Song was detained multiple times as a result of her petitioning. For example in March 2012, she was sent to a labor camp for one year, charged with disturbing social order. Still unwilling to give up her case, Song again traveled to Beijing, just before the 2013 Chinese New Year holiday, simply to seek a proper explanation.
Another petitioner, Wang Jingxian from Zhongmu County in Henan Province, said that while the petitioners in the streets of Beijing were wandering about, waiting to be heard and sharing the New Year’s celebration with each other, he and Song were abducted by interceptors from the Majialou black jail and taken there.
When they reached the facility, they were told they would be transported back to Henan Province. Terrified but determined not to be sent back home without a resolution, Song Qiaozhi hid herself in a bathroom. After the interceptors broke into the restroom, screams could be heard by people outside. When Song was forced to emerge from the building, all her clothing had been ripped off.
“The other female petitioners from Henan Province, who witnessed the entire incident, were utterly shocked!” Wang Jingxian told The Epoch Times. He said that it was inconceivable that guards could rip the clothes off a middle-aged woman, calling it “disgusting.”
Several female petitioners, afraid that they would receive the same treatment, escaped from the room in which they were being held. About 10 interceptors also fled. After Wang pointed out one of the guards involved in the stripping, a male petitioner rushed to grab hold of him. With the help of other interceptors, however, the perpetrator got away.
Outside the gates of the building, a woman passing by recorded most of the incident on her camcorder. The testimonies and phone numbers of the witnesses were added to a video and uploaded to YouTube.
“Even in such cold weather, it was only after a full hour that someone put a blanket on my mother,” Song’s son told The Epoch Times. Reportedly, his father was also outraged after seeing that several policemen had pinned Song down and forcibly dressed her, and then handed her a 10-day sentence in detention. Other family members were similarly furious at her treatment.
Most issues brought to the attention of the State Bureau of Letters and Calls by petitioners are never resolved, according to human rights researchers.
Read the original Chinese article.
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