Authorities in Beijing on Wednesday detained hundreds of activists after they gathered outside United Nations offices and other major buildings in Beijing, calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to uphold human rights.
Petitioners and rights activists converged on United Nations offices, national complaints offices, and other landmarks on Wednesday in a bid to highlight human rights violations by the government and law enforcement.
Others arrived at Tiananmen Square, or handed out leaflets on public transportation calling on the government to respect protection for human rights enshrined in China’s constitution.
All were detained by police and taken to Jiujingzhuang, an extrajudicial detention center on the outskirts of Beijing, they told RFA.
Yu Nanzhe, a petitioner from the eastern province of Jiangsu, said he had arrived outside U.N. headquarters in Liangmahe in the early morning.
“There were so many police at Liangmahe,” Yu said. “They were waiting for us as soon as we came up out of the subway.”
“They grabbed us by the arm and shoved us onto the bus and took us to Jiujingzhuang,” he said. “There was one bus after another coming in to Jiujingzhuang, all packed with people.”
Yu said he had personally counted 29 buses, each of which can carry 40 to 50 people.
“There were at least a few thousand people [brought here on buses today],” he said. “They were pretty much all of them petitioners.”
“I was brought to the front gate of Jiujingzhuang at about 11.00 a.m., and I had to line up until about 2.00 p.m. before I got inside,” he said.
‘The only option left’
A second detained petitioner from Jilin, Zhang Jixin, said all the petitioners had turned out in force to mark Human Rights Day.
“We thought we would go to a global human rights organization on World Human Rights Day,” Zhang said in an interview from Jiujingzhuang.
“It seemed the only option left to us.”