China: Hide those beggars : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

China hides thousands from IOC

By David Rennie, Beijing

Police clearing Beijing for an Olympic inspection have taken thousands of migrant workers and beggars to a brutal detention centre at a rate of "500 to 600 a day".

The 17 Olympic inspectors have been assessing Beijing's bid for the 2008 Games.

According to people living and working near the centre, the streets have been swept of unwanted people.

Street children, disabled beggars, flower-girls and pirate CD sellers have all vanished from central Beijing.

Many thousands of Chinese without the proper permits, or who simply looked wrong to police snatch squads, have passed through the Huilongguan custody and repatriation centre in Changping County.

Large tracts of the capital have been groomed for the benefit of the Olympic visitors.

Drivers entering the city were being stopped at police roadblocks on Friday and made to wash dirty vehicles. Winter grass has been dyed green, flyovers have been hand-scrubbed, and walls built to conceal shabby housing. Buildings have been freshly painted, if only the parts visible from a passing motorcade.

The driver of a mini-van waiting to pick up detention centre workers said the clean-up began a month ago.

"We've had 500 to 600 people a day. We get adults and children too. If they bring a mother in, they sometimes have a kid with them and they can't separate them," he said.

The detainees, or their families must pay for their food in the centre and their transport back home.

"If they have no money, they are sent to a labour camp for 10 days, 12 days. They work a bit, then that's enough, they can go," the driver said.

Staff at the centre, which is also known as the Thirteenth Section of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, refused to answer any questions about the Olympic clean-up.

"Custody and repatriation" is technically not a punishment under Chinese law, but an act of "welfare", and therefore requires no trial or even charges to be brought.

In 1999, the group Human Rights in China published interviews with former inmates from the centre. They reported seeing prostitutes, children and mental patients locked together, sleeping in groups on wooden boards, or mattress pads caked in dried excrement. There were no bathing facilities, food was poured from buckets and fought over by mice, and beatings with leather belts were common.

More than two million Chinese a year pass through such centres, of whom between five and 20 per cent are children, says the human rights body.

The Daily Telegraph, London

-- Martin Thompson (, February 24, 2001


If you connect the dots on this article then it would say, "look how demeaning life becomes when there are over 1.1 billion to care for. If you need another example, look at India. If you need more examples, I've got them. If you want to know what the U.S. is going to be like 50 years or 100 years from now, I believe I can provide that answer too.

-- Guy Daley (, February 24, 2001.

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