A Beijing court has denied widespread media reports that it had sentenced 10 people to jail terms for allegedly illegally detaining citizens who had come to the capital to complain against officials in Henana Province.
A court spokesperson said the report was "fake news" and that it would seek a retraction from the "Beijing Daily Youth" newspaper.
The earlier report said the 10 men had been given prison sentences of up to one year.
There is a long-standing tradition in China of citizens petitioning to Beijing about local issues.
Such petitioners are often intercepted by agents of local officials and detained in so-called black jails.
In recent months, the central government has begun acknowledging the existence of these black jails and has begun trying to crack down on the most egregious abuses.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP