On Dec. 10, tens of thousands of Chinese from 15 provinces and province-level cities commemorated this year’s World Human Rights Day by going to Beijing to petition the regime, and thousands of them were arrested.
According to a report by Human Rights Campaign in China (HRIC), more than 2,000 petitioners were arrested in the vicinity of the foreign embassy district and sent to unofficial jails. Adding in the number of arrests from other parts of the capital, this figure will increase to over 10,000, the report said.
The main goal of the petitioners in protesting outside the U.N. Beijing Office and foreign embassies was to raise awareness about China’s dismal human rights situation and their individual grievances.
Petitioners from 15 provinces and province-level cities of China including Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangdong, and so on gathered at the Marco Polo Bridge, holding banners saying “Give human rights back to us” and “Legally settle petitioners’ appeals.”
In the morning, protesters went to the U.N.’s Beijing Office, the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Beijing South Railway Station. However, uniformed and plainclothes police had been deployed in these areas before the petitioners’ arrival, with buses waiting to haul away the arrested. According to those present, thousands of the petitioners had been caught and sent to Jiujingzhuang, an unofficial “black jail” on the southwestern outskirts of Beijing.
Petitioner Wang Zaiming said, “Each intersection is guarded by the police, with buses waiting around. There was no way to get in. Upon seeing the approaching petitioners, twenty or thirty of the police would come to chase them to the buses.”
Zhao Chunhong, a rights activist from Hebei Province, told the Epoch Times: “There have been police guarding outside the Beijing South Railway Station, the foreign embassy area, and so on since early today. Petitioners can’t get in at all. All the petitioners were taken by the police. Thus, we moved to the Marco Polo Bridge (in the Fengtai District) to petition. We have a few hundred people here holding banners.”
According to Wang Zaiming, those detained in the Jiujingzhuang jail have yet to be released. He compared the situation to the one during the Communist Party’s Third Plenum, in which detainees were not freed until the conclusion of the high-level political talks.
With reporting by Gu Qinger and translation by Amy Lien and Lu Chen.