30 Nov 2009

Chinese state media reveal secret, illegal jails

Secret, illegal "black jails" exist in China, a state-run weekly has confirmed, despite official denials otherwise.

Chinese citizens in search of justice often end up in such detention centers when they file complaints against the government, the state-run weekly magazine Outlook reported last week.


A network of such jails awaits the petitioners when they travel to Beijing and provincial capitals to seek redress or compensation for injustices. Many are victims of land grabs, physical assault, discrimination and corruption, often at the hands of local officials.

"They come to Beijing out of desperation after they hit a dead end in their localities," said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

Government officials have adamantly denied that such facilities exist.

The report by Outlook -- detailing a "gray industry" of illegal detention centers -- also was published online by its parent company, the official Xinhua news agency. It was a rare reference to illegal detention centers in official Chinese media.