Police Snatch Chinese ‘Black Jail’ Activist
Friends who were visiting her told CHRD that seven or eight police broke in, refused to show a warrant when Ding and others asked, and “stormed the second floor.”
Ding, an activist against demolitions, illegal land grabs and black jails, had been free less than a month after being released from detention on bail March 19. She and four other activists were arrested on charges relating to a daring black jail rescue of petitioners last year.
During their eight month detention they were tortured, they told news media after their release. Ding said that police hooded her and then beat her for 12 hours.
At midnight June 22 last year, Ding Hongfen and more than twenty other people rushed a black jail (the name for extralegal detention centers) housed in a hotel in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province.
Forcing open the iron gates, they kicked in the doors and rescued five people being held there, including an 82 year old woman, and Ding’s father. The next day, Ding and others were arrested, and held until last month. Wuxi police rounded up another 20 people following the jail break. All have been charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.”
Wuxi has about 100 illegal jails, which have taken the place of shut down re-education through labor camps, where activists and repeated petitioners are held with no administrative or legal accountability in “legal education centers.” These are often set up on an ad-hoc basis almost anywhere: in schools, military bases, research institutes, hotels, warehouses, police stations, as well as in abandoned houses.
Black jail abuses have come to public attention recently with the detention of four high profile human rights lawyers as they attempted to free Falun Gong practitioners held in a “legal education center” in Heilongjiang Province.