Guo Yongxiang, chairman of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles in China’s Sichuan province, is the latest high-ranking official to face the Communist Party’s terrifying internal disciplinary system known as “shuanggui.” Party officials like Guo who are suspected of “disciplinary violations”—a euphemism for corruption—are held in extra-legal detention.
The facilities are often in converted hotel rooms, carefully screened to make sure that detainees can’t hurt themselves, with padded walls and barred windows. Some of the shuanggui facilitators are also getting creative with technology, with a little “Clockwork Orange” thrown in. A professor at the Central Party School, which trains officials, described a recent tour of one facility to the Telegraph:
“The rooms are divided symbolically into a light half and a dark half. On the light side, they show images of the official’s family and the highlights of their career. On the dark half they show surveillance photos of them committing crimes or behaving badly. The officials are supposed to reflect on why they decided to follow the dark path.”
Inside, a desk is provided for the officials to record their admissions of guilt. The consequences for refusing to comply can be severe; several officials have died in custody.