More on the black jails, detention centers established to intercept petitioners and stop them from reaching government offices:
Xu Lingyong, the elder brother of the victim Xu Lingjun, said the center in Benggu county, which was called a “training class,” resorted to violence and starvation to force people detained not to petition the government over their various grievances.
Jinan Daily reported that the detention center was set up in May 2008 with staff from the Public Security Bureau, the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, the Bureau for Letters and Calls and the courts. The center uses “protective” measures to prevent the public from filing grievances against authorities, the report said.
Xu Lingyong, a 47-year-old disabled man who had served in the military, was in the center before he was sent to a hospital in April on account of illness. However, his brother Xu Lingjun was not so lucky and died after suffering from a prolonged period of hunger at the center.
Several “trainees” at the center said that they were not given meals or water for the first four days of their detention. Later, they were given two meals a day without water. Breakfast was a bun the size of a potato, combined with half a bowl of rice porridge or soy bean milk. Dinner was a bowl of noodles, with 21 noodles in the bowl at most. The detainees were locked all day in the center and lying down was forbidden; they were only allowed to stand or sit beside the bed.
“You feel acutely the sense of hunger every minute, every hour and every day there,” Xu Lingyong said.
Those detained suffered from blurred vision or loose teeth after long-term hunger and almost everyone suffered difficulty defecating because they were not properly fed.
The suspicious circumstance surrounding Xu’s sudden death drew the attention of county authorities.