Long-time petitioner Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤) was released from Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) on July 28, 2011. The release comes one month before the completion of her 18-month RTL order. She was escorted by more than 10 policemen and arrived to her Shanghai home in a wheelchair. According to the release order, Mao had been kept in the Shanghai Prison General Hospital since February 24 for treatment of her high blood pressure. The decision to release her early was based on the prison hospital’s suggestion that she get hospital treatment outside of prison.
Mao’s husband Wu Xuewei (吴雪伟) said that Mao is in very poor health. She does not have the strength to walk and cannot talk. Mao wrote this message for Wu: “The hospital was a living hell. I was not allowed to leave the bed or walk around. I was beaten several times for disobeying orders.”
Detained, imprisoned, and reeducated many times for her petitioning activities, Mao began serving her latest Reeducation-Through-Labor order in March 2010 for “disturbing social order.” Mao had shouted slogans protesting the trial of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) before the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on December 25, 2009.
On February 22, 2011, she was released on medical parole. However, just two days following her release she was again taken away by police; her medical parole was rescinded for what the authorities alleged were “illegal activities.” According to Wu, Mao had left home only once during those two days, to have dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant the evening of her release.
Wu initially did not receive any official notice regarding Mao’s whereabouts. He spent months trying to locate Mao by writing to various authorities in Shanghai and Anhui Province, where Mao had been reeducated for a period of time. On June 1, 2011, the Anhui Provincial Department of Justice finally informed Wu in writing that Mao was in the custody of the Shanghai Reeducation-Through-Labor authorities. On June 9, in a phone call to the Shanghai RTL authorities, he was finally told that Mao had been kept in a prison hospital in Shanghai. He was not permitted to see her.
Mao began petitioning in 1988 after being fired for refusing to abort a second pregnancy. She has been forced into psychiatric hospitals by the authorities many times because of her petitioning activities, and suffered many types of abuse and torture in the Shanghai Women’s Prison.
Below is Mao Hengfeng’s Reeducation-Through-Labor Release Order, in English translation by Human Rights in China (HRIC).
For more information on Mao Hengfeng, see:
For background documents (Chinese only) on Mao Hengfeng, see: