What a “black guard” does

28 Dec

One of Shanghaiist’s top longform China articles of 2013, this Caixin piece about a black guard is a striking one about a rather dirty job. A black guard is basically a guy hired off-the-books by provincial departments to intercept and take back petitioners who come to Beijing to their home provinces. There’s some chilling stuff about grabbing people and confining them into hotels or secret jails before escorting them home, though the former guard in the article says,”Usually we don’t hit anybody.” The black guards have no official power, but are basically “hired muscle” of local governments.

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