With top Chinese leaders hashing out national policies behind closed doors at a hotel managed by the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing, tens of thousands of Chinese across China are gathering in the capital city as well—not to celebrate the national event but rather to air their grievances.
“At about 10 a.m., there are over ten thousand people lining up,” said Wang Jing, a rights activist from Jilin Province, in reference to the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, where petitioners have the legal right to appeal state wrongdoing.
“Every time the party has an important meeting, every petitioner wants to go to Beijing hoping that somehow the government will listen and help solve their grievance,” said Wang in a telephone interview with Epoch Times.
The national event is the 4th Plenum of the Central Committee of the 18th National People’s Congress—the biggest meeting of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders of the year.
“We’ve just walked by the west side of [the CCP leadership compound] Zhongnanhai and it is heavily guarded … there are thousands of interceptors,” said Zhang Baozhu in a telephone interview with Epoch Times. “Police are checking IDs and if they realize anyone is a petitioner, they will forcibly put you into a car.”
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“I shouted ‘Down With Corruption’ and then the police dragged me into a car and took me to a police station,” said Zhang.
The “interceptors” are basically hired thugs—individuals sent by local governments to abduct people from their areas and prevent them from protesting.
“I have been in detention 7 to 8 times, and every time the local government spends 13,500 yuan [US$2,205] to take me back,” said Zhang. “So, tens of thousands of yuan have been spent on me alone. But the government is still not willing to help me out.”
Zhang said that the police kidnapped her to a local psychiatric ward and then demolished her 1,300 square meter house in 2004. Since then, she has been traveled frequently to Beijing as a petitioner.
“Now oppression in Beijing is very severe. Anti-terrorism tactics are used on petitioners as if they are some sort of terrorists,” said Lu Qiumei, a petitioner from Linyi City, Shandong Province, in a telephone interview with the New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television.
Huang Qi, the editor of the 64 Tianwang, a well-known human rights website in China, said a large number of petitioners tried to go into the Jingxi Hotel, the hotel where the top Chinese leaders are holding the political conclave, but they were all taken away.
“There are about 6,000 petitioners at Zhongnanhai,” said Huang, reported Radio Free Asia on Oct. 20.