Beijing's good legal news turns out to be fake news
Even People's Daily ran with this Beijing Youth Daily story that a Beijing court sentenced 10 people to prison for involvement in the illegal but widespread act of intercepting petitioners who travel to the capital with hopes to obtain justice outside the legal system.
The significance of the news was not lost on web editors across the country, many of whom ran the headline as top story this weekend.
China Daily contacted the court in question and received confirmation that such a case is currently under way but also learned a ruling has yet to be made.
Then the original report quickly disappeared from most major online news portals. Now reports of the Beijing court's denial have also begun to disappear - at least for foreign readers, as People's Daily continues to follow the story on its Sina Weibo microblog.
Legal scholar Xu Zhiyong has points out that while at least four lawsuits have been successfully brought against Beijing "black jails", verdicts in those cases were more for show than punitive and that vigilantes involved in attempting to free captives of those black jails have been arrested and even sentenced to 'reform-through-labour'.
Hong Kong-based China human rights research Joshua Rosenzweig adds:
My guess is that someone published something they weren't (yet) supposed to but the underlying facts are not far from the truth.
— Joshua Rosenzweig (@siweiluozi) 12月 2, 2012
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