Around 2,000 petitioners—people in China that protest injustice they have suffered by traveling to Beijing—held banners in front of China’s State Bureau for Letters and Calls on Aug. 29, supporting a man named Gong Jinjun, who killed a thug hired by his home province to abduct him and take him home, all to stop him from continuing his petition.
Those who turned up to protest came from around China, and called Gong a hero who resisted what was an illegal act in the first place.
Gong traveled to Beijing many times seeking justice against the demolition of his home by real estate developers in league with local officials. He was detained by “interceptors,” men hired to abduct people like Gong, and transferred to the notorious Majialou Relief Assistance Center. The facility is colloquially known as a “black jail,” and is an illegal, though established, location for housing petitioners.
On Nov. 14, 2013, Gong was forced into a van with three guards. He had a knife with him. At some point during the trip he fatally stabbed one of the men, and injured another.
Gong is being charged with the crime of intentional injury and is scheduled to stand trial at the Shenzhou City Court in Hebei Province.
Lin Qilei, a lawyer representing Gong, told RFA: “I have reviewed the files and evidence many times. This is a clear case of local government hiring security thugs for illegal interception. It was an act of limiting the freedom of citizens, and citizens fought back in self-defense.”
According to Lin, the workers hired are paid about 100 yuan per day ($16) for their efforts.
Wang Jing was one of those that appeared in support of Gong. “I saw banners held out by petitioners from Shanghai. They demanded that Gong be released and acquitted of all charges,” he said in an interview with Radio Free Asia.
As far as the protesters are concerned, Gong was merely defending himself from illegal acts ordered by the state.