Petitioners Arrested during May 1st Holiday

May 5, 2006 Updated: May 5, 2006

On May 3, petitioners arrested by the police during the May 1st Labor Day holiday were released and told a reporter they were detained in Majialou [1]. Inside Majialou, it was extremely crowded and insufficient food and water supplies were prevalent. Some petitioners fell ill, but the police would not let them seek medical attention. A few petitioners were taken away after they failed an attempt to hang themselves.

The May 1st holiday week is not over, and neither are the protests by petitioners. Around 8am on May 2, some petitioners shouted “I've been wronged.” Without any hesitation, security guards and policemen arrested them in front of many people and threw them into police vans. The petitioners were taken to Tiananmen Police Station.

One petitioner told the reporter, “I went to Tiananmen Square the day before yesterday. When I got there, he (a policeman) wouldn't allow me in when he found my petition materials, even though we were not trying to distribute flyers. They check everyone who looks shabby. The policemen at Tiananmen Square do not let petitioners enter. If you tried to sneak in, they'd arrest you. First they'd take you to Tiananmen Police Station, and then transfer you to Majialou for further detention.

“On May 2 over 300 petitioners were detained in Majialou. People cannot leave till they are 'claimed' and repatriated by their local government. At one point in time there were two or three thousand people detained in Majialou. In the past few days, both the south and north sections were fully occupied. Majialou is a big place. Its yard is so big that two buses can make U-turns at the same time in it.

“Each day we got two steamed buns and a small pack of pickles…they gave us only 200-300 ml water a day. It was hot and crowded, and people were sweating a lot; the water provided was not enough at all. Yesterday there was some hot water, but only one barrel. We queued up to drink, but the water ran out quickly. I think they don't treat petitioners as human beings. They want to push us to extremes so that they can put horrible labels on us like they do to Falun Gong practitioners. That's what I think.”

[1] Sub-branch of the Beijing Aiding Management Center, referred to as Majialou by petitioners. Majialou is located at No. 221, North Panjiamiao, Fengtai District, Beijing.