China’s black jails get a lick of fuschia

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By HEI JIANYU
Crime Correspondent

After a much-needed pastel infusion, this formerly ‘black’ jail is now somewhere  you’ll want to detain yourself

QIUTAOSHANZHANG (China Daily Show) – Standing in front of a well-known ‘black jail’ in Shanxi province, Officer Gu Laofung looks amused.

“Looking for a black jail? They’re actually more of a fuschia, these days,” Gu claims.

This particular jail was once notorious among the local community for its use as an illegal detention centre – as well as boasting an unpleasant shade of weathershield ‘bowler hat’ matt black.

But that’s all changed now: neighbours say the inoffensive new  hue blends in nicely with the 24-hour barbershop next door.

This particular ad hoc prison currently contains Li Dongwei, a labor activist whose campaign to promote mine safety has upset local bigwigs.

Li admits to preferring the new shade of pink, saying that, after being detained and beaten, it is “restful” to have a soft palette to gaze at when one slumps to the floor.

“And the fuschia really brings out the blood,” adds Officer Gu.

Foreign media were permitted a brief tour of the new set-up.

Asked about the prison conditions, Li only replied, “I have offended my provincial leaders and deserve to be held until further notice.”

But he later added in a whisper: “Please, I beg you: tell my family I live. My daughter, she is sick. She needs the silver under the old poplar tree. Tell her. Tell her I love them all. Pray for me.”

Experts predict Shanxi could start a trend for pastels among the country’s many extra-judicial detention houses.

The UN, meanwhile, says it will begin an inquiry later this year into China’s ‘fuchsia jails.’

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