A Beijing municipal court sentenced 10 people to jail for illegally detaining and assaulting a group of local residents. The residents had traveled to Beijing to complain about government corruption in their area.
Normally the story would not garner a lot of attention but it did, not only because the residents won… But also because their story made it into the Chinese media.
Or did it?
Like a tree falling in the woods, it’s unclear if this actually happened.
Details are sketchy and the court is backpedaling on whether someone was actually sentenced.
These are poor people from the countryside who have grievances against local officials and travel to the capital city in the ancient tradition of petitioning the emperor, and hoping the central leadership will do something to help them.
What often happens, is that local officials, worried about their positions and who don’t want complaints against them will send thugs to hurt the petitioners, sometimes even killing them.
If the story is true and the local officials are sentenced to jail, this represents a step forward for ordinary citizens to have their grievances dealt with.