The Nanfang / Blog


2 British women in Guangzhou detained in “hellhole” for 38 days

Posted: 08/29/2013 10:48 am

In another example of why it is sometimes better to just bite your tongue than kick up trouble in China, two British women were detained by police for 38 days “after becoming embroiled in a dispute at a shoe shop” in Guangzhou, according to a report by the UK’s Daily Mail on Sunday (though the South China Morning Post must be credited with the original scoop).

The conditions they were kept in have been described as “hell-like,” with only wooden planks to sleep on and an open toilet in their cell that they had to share and use in front of six other prisoners, the Mail said.

Perhaps what has really driven this story to the mainstream media is the fact that the two women’s ordeal is not yet over: authorities have refused to issue them with new visas after their current visas expired, though it is not clear whether they expired before or during detention — it would seem likely it was during their detention in view of the fact that tourist visas are usually only valid for between 1-3 months.

The women claimed they were assaulted at the shoe shop, but have since paid the owner £4,500 in a damages settlement, which suggests either that they had genuinely damaged property or else were forced into the settlement.

The report said that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of the situation but could do little to resolve it by themselves because “it was a matter for the Chinese [government].”

For the full story and to read the full range of claims from the two women and their families, check out the Daily’s report.

Photo credit: Epictoon

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV