After a female petitioner was raped by a guard at a “black jail” in Beijing on August 4, Netizens came to her defense by posting a Youtube video of her plight.
The 21-year-old victim from Anhui Province, Li Ruirui, had been detained for several days in the Juyuan Hotel, a “black jail” in Beijing, along with 70 other petitioners, according to Boxun.net, a Web site which documents rights abuses in China. Black jails are set up by provincial authorities to lock up petitioners from around the country. Prisoners report beatings and other forms of mistreatment before being sent home.
Chinese petitioners usually go to Beijing to appeal to the central government after local authorities fail to resolve their grievances.
In a speech on August 6, Zhou Benshun, head of the Communist Party's Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, called on local officials to pay particular attention to citizens arriving in Beijing to protest. The order is meant to "promote stability" for the coming Oct. 1 celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party; petitioners’ future journeys to the capital city are expected to be more dangerous during this time.
On July 31 Li had traveled to Beijing to petition the authorities about an issue with her schooling from several years ago; as she was penniless, she was forced to sleep on the street. On August 3, she was picked up and taken to the black jail.
Another petitioner at the jail, who identified himself as Peng to an Epoch Times reporter, said, “At around 2:00 a.m., a guard snuck into the bed, burying his head in a bed sheet, and then raped the girl. She kept shouting and struggling.”
Wang Xueliang, a petitioner from Henan, told the Epoch Times in a phone interview that the suspected rapist works as a guard at the jail, and has keys to the petitioners’ rooms.
“They frequently beat petitioners or rape female petitioners in Juyuan at their disposal. If this crime was not exposed to public, we have to swallow our grief and suffering,” Peng, the petitioner, said.
In the morning several petitioners accompanied the victim to the Beijing Public Security Bureau, carrying the bloodstained sheets. They were then intercepted and detained, according to the rough and ready nine-minute video they posted on Youtube, which consists mostly of the victim and her supporters describing their ordeals into a hand-held camera.
"The girl was a college student. … She is mentally sick now after the rape. Police sent her back to another black jail. One witness is detained," according to the video.
Officially, Chinese authorities encourage petitions and have an extensive governmental bureaucracy to handle them. In practice, however, as petitioners bring complaints about lower levels of government to higher authorities, they face harassment and retaliation, according to the report “Silencing Complaints: Human Rights Abuses against Petitioners in China” released in March 2008 by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a nongovernmental network of rights activists.
Officials at all levels of government have a vested interest in preventing petitioners from speaking up about the mistreatment and injustices they have suffered, according to the report.
Chinese petitioners, officially estimated to be 10 million, are among the most vulnerable to human rights abuses in China today, according to the CHRD.
Li Ruirui’s story is still circulating on Chinese online bulletin boards. On August 6, one anonymous poster wrote: “There’s only one way to describe this: without restraint! Even a guard hired by the lowest level of government dares to do as he pleases to China's helpless people.”
Read the original Chinese article