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Petitioner Mao Hengfeng Has Been Detained after November Release from Prison

January 13, 2009

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), Shanghai-based petitioner and rights defender, was detained on January 12 and will be held for seven days by Shanghai police for shouting slogans in public. Mao was released from prison in November 2008 after serving a two-year-and-six-month sentence for breaking two lamps while under "residential surveillance."

Across from the meeting site, Mao shouted: 'People's deputies should represent the people; oppose torture; oppose persecution; demand human rights.'

According to Mao’s family members, on the morning of January 12, Mao, accompanied by her daughter Wu Juejin, went to Nanjing Road West in Shanghai, to petition the people’s deputies and representatives who were due to attend the annual Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress and the Shanghai Municipal Political Consultative Conference. Across from the meeting site, Mao shouted: “People’s deputies should represent the people; oppose torture; oppose persecution; demand human rights.” Several policemen surrounded Mao and Wu and took them into a police vehicle. Mao and Wu were taken to the Daqiao police station in Yangpu District, and were detained in separate rooms. Later, the police released Wu. According to police records, Mao will be held in administrative detention for seven days for "disturbing public order."

According to a family member who delivered a comforter to Mao at the local police station, Mao’s appearance was disheveled and her clothes were torn. Mao reported that she was beaten by the police, who also withheld food from her. When Mao complained, she was beaten by another policeman, who also pulled her hair.

Mao has been an activist and petitioner for 20 years. In 1988, she was dismissed from her soap factory job when she refused to abort a second pregnancy. As a result of petitioning the authorities for redress of that dismissal and subsequent abuses, including forced eviction, Mao was forcibly admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times, detained multiple times, and served a one-and-a-half year sentence of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL). While she was in the Shanghai Women’s Prison serving the two-and-a-half-year term, Mao was subjected to various abuses, including a 70-day-long solitary confinement, beating, choking that resulted from forced feeding, and suspension in mid-air with her hands and feet bound.

For further information on Mao Hengfeng, see:

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