China jails local government 'interceptors' for illegally imprisoning citizens: Report
BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese court handed jail terms to 10 "interceptors" for illegally imprisoning citizens hoping to lodge complaints with the central government, state media said on Sunday.
The 10 were imprisoned after they illegally detained people from the central province of Henan who had travelled to Beijing to complain about local government abuses, the state-run Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Under China's long-standing "petitioning" system, people can request that the central government step in to investigate abuses by local officials at a dedicated complaints office in the Chinese capital.
But the officials, eager to protect their reputations, often employ "interceptors" to catch petitioners and detain them in secret facilities known as "black jails" to prevent them from lodging complaints.