BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Petitioners' rights were upheld when a court on Tuesday jailed 10 private security guards who illegally jailed petitioners in Beijing.
Similar abuses, however, will not end until those responsible for hiring these kinds of guards are stopped and punished.
Private security guards are occasionally hired by local governments in China to prevent petitioners from traveling to Beijing and voicing their grievances.
The court verdict handed down for the 10 guards in the city of Yuzhou in central China's Henan Province did not say whether they were hired by the local government. However, common sense and experience indicates that the guards are probably mere pawns in a bigger game.
In this case, the thugs illegally detained petitioners from Henan in order to prevent Beijing officials from hearing their complaints.
The officials who ordered the illegal detention must have been quite fearful of the petitioners' efforts to communicate directly with central government officials, who hold significant sway over local officials' political careers.
It is the entrenched belief of some local officials that their power is granted by their superiors, rather than by the people.
Their actions, however, are cowardly, despite claims that they are trying to maintain stability.
In fact, their efforts to silence petitioners with thuggish pawns have only served to destabilize society. The repeated detainment and release of the protestors has had the effect of making them even more disgruntled and angry. Their anger will grow until it is finally vented in a massive, violent outburst -- this is what local officials should truly be afraid of.
Relying on "interceptors" to silence protestors is like drinking poison to quench one's thirst.
"Problems are the voice of the times," Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), told the country's publicity officials at the beginning of the year.
Going to Beijing is, in most cases, the last means petitioners have to voice their complaints after efforts to solve their problems, which are often about illegal land grabs and corruption, end up faltering.
Local officials who have gone to lengths to label protestors as "insane" and "paranoid" have made themselves look lazy and out-of-touch.
They should instead pay heed to petitioners who have reasonable complaints and address the root causes of their troubles.
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