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ICC Note: While China has announced it is abolishing it’s notorious system of labor camps, where “dissidents” could be sentenced to up to four years of imprisonment without a trial, other methods of punishing and imprisoning house church Christians remain. So called “black jails” exist outside the judicial system. Four human rights lawyers investigating one of these jails in Northeast China have been detained. Two have disappeared and two others have been sentenced to two weeks of detention. This report says that the black jail was being used to hold house church Christians among other political “criminals.” 
3/25/2014 China (ChinaAid) – Four prominent human rights lawyers were detained Thursday during their efforts to seek justice for individuals serving time in a black jail in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province; two of the lawyers were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention on Monday.
Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng and Zhang Junjie were detained after visiting the “Jiansanjiang Rule of Law Education Center” on Thursday for the third time during their attempts to gain their clients’ freedom from the extrajudicial detention center. Nine family members of the clients accompanied the lawyers.
The lawyers were taken from their hotel, located in Jiamusi city, Friday morning, according to Radio Free Asia. China Aid learned Monday that Tang and Jiang had been placed under 15-days administrative detention for “utilizing cult activities to harm society,” according to a notice sent to their families (see end of story).
Wang and Zhang’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
China Aid also learned that the black jail has been in operation since 2010 and has held several hundred dissenters on long-term bases. Those detained have included members of house churches, Falun Gong practitioners, rights defense petitioners and any citizen the government deems to have “problems.” Black jails are often used to detain individuals who intend to petition issues at a higher level than the local government.
Chinese netizens began calling their local police and denouncing the detention of the lawyers after learning of the incident online. In addition, other human rights lawyers and citizens began arriving in Jiansanjiang on Sunday to show their support and concern for the illegally detained lawyers.
This violation of human rights comes shortly after the close of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress, where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stated that respect for the legal system is the starting point for the new administration’s plan to rule the country according to law. Last week’s human rights abuse emphasizes the lack of communication between China’s central government and smaller county, township and village governments.
Tang, Jiang, Wang and Zhang have been involved in major human rights cases in China. Friends say they have often been severely suppressed by the various public security bureaus and judicial departments they encounter. The four have been illegally deprived of their rights to practice law. The lawyers have also been monitored, disappeared, beaten and harassed throughout their careers as human rights defenders.

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