Southern Metropolis Daily reported today on the use of detention centres by village governments in Jiangsu province. The centres are used to imprison petitioners, violators of the one child policy, as well as who refuse to consent to forced demolitions.
The report traces the origins of the detention centres back to ‘study classes’ （学习班）, which were first established around 2008 to deal with ‘abnormal petitioners’ (非正常上访). According to the article, almost every village in the province established similar study classes, which were used to force villagers to consent to demolitions of their property, marking a transition in local government tactics away from forced demolition （强制拆迁）towards ‘forced voluntary demolition’ （被自愿拆迁）
The article describes conditions in the detention centers as ‘hellish’, One man from Sihong village who refused to consent to a demolition recalls the kind of physical trials imposed on prisoners, including
1. Crouching in a stance 蹲马步
2. Slapping with the sole of a shoe 互扇鞋板
3. Sit on the cold floor 坐凉地
4. Keeping the head up 头不能低
5. Holding a water basin flat 端水盆
According to the article, the central Jiangsu government was unaware of the centers, kind of surprising given how widespread the practice apparently is.