Two people from Jiangxi traveled to Hong Kong as part of a group of 57 petitioners from mainland China to protest unofficial detention centers used to hold those who complain about the government.
Once Song Ningsheng and Zeng Jiuzi returned to China, they were handed one-year sentences in a labor camp.
The sentences were issued without a trial.
It seems penalties for participating in demonstrations opposing the central government policies can be handled administratively with no need for a trial. (That ought to warm the hearts of all those who complain about lawyers gumming up the judicial process.)
According to Radio Free Asia, Zeng’s son Liu Zhonghua was given the news verbally by police in Jiangxi’s Ningdu county.
“The police said that my mother and Song Ningsheng went to Hong Kong and took part in an illegal demonstration,” Liu said. “They had also petitioned illegally in Beijing a number of times.”
“I asked [the officer] whether they would give me an official notification document, and he said there was no need, because they could just do this with a nod to the people at the labor camp,” he said.
For those who have forgotten, while Hong Kong is part of China, the people in Hong Kong enjoy civil liberties such as free press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. (That is why anti-Beijing rallies can and are held there.)
In addition, the border between Hong Kong and China is considered a “hard border.” Passports are checked as people move between mainland China and Hong Kong, just as if Hong Kong was another country.
So, what the authorities in Jiangxi have done is send a couple of people to a forced-labor camp for participating in an action that was legal in the place where the action happened. This kind of “justice” has a serious dampening effect on the freedoms in Hong Kong and needs to be watched closely.