China’s black sites used and abused by private firms

The massive expansion of a privatised and largely secret world is enveloping the West. Take military contracting and detention centres as two key examples.

This recent feature in the Sydney Morning Herald highlights the foul stench of unaccountable thugs outsourced by the state in China:

…In Tangshan city, a middle-class woman called Liu Yuhong told us how she had travelled to Beijing during the tense occasion of last year’s 60th anniversary National Day military parade. She had wanted to lodge a “petition”, or official complaint, seeking to learn the whereabouts of her parents who were being held in a labour camp (they had been detained for “petitioning” over a trivial property dispute).

Liu was taken by police, handed to private security operatives and dumped in an exposed row of bare concrete cells, where she was starved of food and water for five days. Liu’s face was beaten until the walls were speckled red and she was force-fed an unknown fluid until she vomited. She later miscarried on a concrete prison floor.

Liu’s case is gruesome but not unique. The extra-legal kidnapping of petitioners, subjecting them to abusive treatment and storing them in “black jails” is now commonplace. In fact, it is one of China’s fastest-growing industries. One private security company, Andingyuan, employed 3000 people to kidnap petitioners in Beijing on behalf of local governments, in daylight, until it was shut down two months ago.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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