Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that a number of Shanghai petitioners have been detained in Beijing and Shanghai, with several being beaten and mistreated.
According to HRIC sources, on the afternoon of December 28, veteran petitioner Mao Hengfeng and several dozen other petitioners were detained in Beijing by police when they went to view the ceremonial lowering of the flag in Tiananmen Square. Mao and her two daughters, along with fellow petitioners Zhang Cuizhi and Zhang Xueying, were forcibly taken to Beijing's Tianhai Reception Center that evening, while the other petitioners were immediately put onto the next train back for Shanghai. Among the latter group, Sun Xicheng, He Guoguang and others were reportedly beaten by Shanghai “retriever” officials in charge of intercepting petitioners (jiefang renyuan). Sun suffered a concussion as a result of his beating.
According to information received by HRIC, Mao was reportedly dragged by her feet down a flight of stairs by three special police agents. She and her daughters, along with Zhang Cuizhi and Zhang Xueying, were forced to return to Shanghai by train on the evening of December 29. Attempts were made to contact Mao through her cellular phone, but communication was interrupted by a person identified as one of these “retriever” officials from Shanghai's Yangpu District.
Following her arrival in Shanghai on December 30, Mao immediately returned to Beijing with her daughters, but early on the morning of January 1 she was detained once again and forcibly returned to Shanghai, where she and her daughters were taken directly to the Yangpu District dispatch station. Mao's daughters were released that afternoon, but Mao remains under the illegal custody of the Daqiao neighborhood municipal office. When her husband telephoned the neighborhood office, an official surnamed Jiang reportedly told him that Mao would not be returning home for three or four more days.
In addition, sources told HRIC that on December 15, petitioners Zhou Xiudi, Chen Zonglai, Wu Yuping, Jin Huijun and others have been placed under criminal detention on charges of "disturbing public order" by Shanghai Hongkou public security authorities for their participation in a petition to the Shanghai municipal committee conference. On December 22, Shanghai petitioner Ma Yalian was also detained by local police and neighborhood committee members and held until December 28 without her family being allowed information of her whereabouts.