As Beijing authorities step up their stability maintenance efforts in advance of the 18th Party Congress, some two dozen former police officers from various provinces who had gathered in Beijing for a planned protest were detained in recent days. Many were picked up on October 21 as they arrived at the Beijing Railway Station and taken to an illegal “black jail” before being escorted back to their hometowns. Other former officers in the group were intercepted at the train stations in their hometowns before departing for Beijing. Still others were simply prevented from leaving their homes.
Many of these former police officers had once been decorated for meritorious service. They were framed, falsely accused, after exposing their superiors’ unlawful acts, including extortion and blackmail. They lost their jobs and sources of income, and have petitioned for many years without getting fair resolutions to their cases.
In all, more than 50 former police officers, joining other Beijing-based petitioners, had planned to participate in this group action, to denounce corruption in the judiciary, demand redress for miscarriages of justice, and call for abolishing the petitioning system and the national petitioning agency, the State Bureau of Letters and Calls. They also wanted to demand the release of detained petitioners such as long-time Shanghainese rights defender Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), and to mourn their fellow petitioners who had died without seeing their cases redressed.
He Zuhua (何祖华), a former police officer from Xinxiang, Henan Province, said that at midday on October 22, 2012, he and fellow former officer Tian Lan (田兰), from Handan, Hebei Province, were detained at the Wanfang Bridge bus stop near the Beijing South Station after police determined their cellular position. They were taken to the nearby You’an’men police substation. Later, a dozen or so other former officers were also taken to the substation. At 4 a.m. on October 23, the former officers and three other petitioners were taken and detained at Jiujingzhuang Relief and Aid Center, a known black jail in Beijing. Afterwards, they were escorted back home by personnel from their hometowns tasked with intercepting and retrieving petitioners.
That evening, when He Zuhua was taken back home, the escorting officer said to him: “We are all old friends and colleagues; don't embarrass us. The next time you go petition in Beijing, let us know.”
Tian Lan managed to flee Jiujingzhuang on October 23. She and Song Xiuling (宋秀玲), formerly of the Heilongjiang Provincial Public Security Department, were picked up at around 3 p.m. that day by some two dozen police and security guards. They were taken to the Nanyuan police substation in Fengtai District for questioning. Also detained and taken to the Nanyuan substation were Jiang Fuyou (江富友) of Hubei Province and Liu Guoqiang (刘国强) of Pingdingshan, Henan Province, who has been fighting for redress of his case for more than 30 years. Early in the morning of October 24, three of the four were forcibly returned to their respective hometowns by intercept personnel. Tian Lan is currently under police watch in Handan, Hebei Province; and Song Xiuling has not been reachable since she was taken back to her hometown.
Among those who never made it out of their hometowns was Lei Fengchun (雷凤春), of Shenyang, Liaoning Province. He was kept at the Shenyang Railway Station police substation, but was released the next day.
For more information on the petitioning former police officers, see: