Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that on February 8, 2013, Shanghai petitioner Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), who was ordered to serve one year-and-a-half of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL), was released from the Yangpu District Detention Center to serve her RTL at home. She had been held at the detention center since late September 2012, after being picked up in Beijing where she was petitioning. Mao is reunited with her husband, Wu Xuewei (吴雪伟), who had not been permitted to see her during her detention.
According to informed sources, in late September in Beijing, before being sent back to Shanghai, Mao was dragged out of the toilet by domestic security personnel and beaten. And after she was taken to Shanghai, she was held in solitary confinement in the Yangpu District Detention Center and only recently allowed to have a cellmate. The conditions of the detention facility were extremely poor; hot water was not provided and she was forced to drink tap water.
The sources say that while in detention Mao often experienced rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision, and other symptoms associated with high blood pressure.
On February 6, two days before Mao’s release, Wu Xuewei sent a complaint to the Yangpu District People’s Procuratorate in Shanghai about the Yangpu District Detention Center’s illegal detention of Mao.
Background on Mao Hengfeng
Mao began petitioning after she was fired from her job in 1988 for refusing to abort a second pregnancy. She was subsequently incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals at least three times. In 2007, she was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for the trumped-up charge that she broke two lamps while under “residential surveillance.” While imprisoned, she suffered many types of abuse and torture. In 2010, Mao was sent to a Reeducation-through-Labor (RTL) facility in Anhui on charges of “disturbing social order” for voicing her support for imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). In 2011, just two days after she was released in Anhui on medical parole, she was sent to a RTL camp in Shanghai. She received an early release in July that year due to illness.
Mao went to Beijing in late August 2012 to petition for unpaid pension. She was intercepted by plainclothes police on September 30 and taken back to Shanghai and held in criminal detention at the Yangpu District Detention Center on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.” On October 30, Mao was ordered to serve one year-and-a-half of RTL but was held in the detention center for three more months before a transfer to an RTL facility was attempted on January 30, 2013. The RTL facility refused to accept her because of her high blood pressure and returned her to the Yangpu District Detention Center.
For more information on Mao Hengfeng, see:
For background documents on Mao Hengfeng (Chinese only), see: