I don’t know if the US actually consulted with anyone after 9/11 when it set up its extra-judicial carcerial archipelago, but it’s chilling how much it resembles the Shuanggui system as described here: black jails, ‘enhanced interrogation’, facilities repurposed as pop up prisons, no clear exit into the judicial system or access to families or legal aid. It’s got the lot. There are, I suppose, only a limited number of ways to enforce star chamber justice, so they naturally come to resemble one another.
Of course the difference here is that while the US system is designed to deal with people it deems enemies of the state, shuanggui is how China disciplines its power elite: 880,000 party members passed through the system between 2003 and 2008, just under 1% of the entire party membership. And of course we're dealing with that subset of Party members who also hold positions in the government, army SOE's etc, not your average Mr Pooter type. If we say that about 15,000 party members per year are put through shuanggui, then at any given time officials are offered an excellent chance of getting away with it, while the public is compensated with a non-negligible prospect of revenge. Thus is harmony maintained.
There’s almost something theological about this. A legal scholar quoted in the piece says that shuanggui is useful because officials have the power to manipulate the legal system. So the little people live under the law, in a permanent state of purgatory. The big people are above the law, until they suddenly find themselves below it. They live in heaven or, occasionally, hell.