Petitioners rounded up in Beijing

July 17, 2008 - 7:21AM

In a pre-Olympic purge in Beijing around 1,500 petitioners were taken into custody, during which a 54-year-old woman lost her life, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said today.

The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the woman broke away after being arrested and jumped from a bridge to her death.

The police deported those arrested, like other petitioners, to their home province, the centre said.

In China, people from all over the country assemble at government offices to petition over complaints and perceived injustices.

Traditionally petitioners travel to the capital Beijing to argue their cases if they are unsuccessful in their home province.

Provincial authorities have reportedly been told to prevent petitioners from travelling to the capital during the Olympic Games, which Beijing holds August 8-24.