Friday, November 13, 2009

Obama Should Raise “Black Jails” with China’s Leaders

At the same time China welcomes President Obama on his first official visit, thousands of Chinese suffer in secret, unlawful detention facilities known as “black jails,” the existence of which the Chinese government denies.

Human Rights Watch has interviewed dozens of people who were forcibly detained in these facilities, used primarily by provincial and municipal officials as a means of stopping local residents from complaining to national officials about abuses like illegal land grabs and corruption.
Said one 43-year-old man of his 55-day detainment: "I was beaten [by guards] every three days...they said I didn't respect their work. I couldn't endure it and several times considered suicide." Detainees – men, women and teenagers -- are often physically and psychologically abused. Many are denied food and sleep, and fall victim to theft, extortion or sexual abuse by guards.
Obama should voice concerns regarding China’s use of black jails on his visit.
Beijing is moving backwards on important human rights issues, and it will take focused pressure to stem the government’s hostility towards respecting the rule of law.

Read more witness testimony of black jails

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