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Rights Defender Mao Hengfeng Held in Illegal Criminal Detention

January 7, 2013

Mao Hengfeng

Shanghai rights defender Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤) is being held in a detention center illegally, more than two months after she received an order to serve Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL), Mao’s husband, Wu Xuewei (吴雪伟), told Human Rights in China (HRIC). Mao’s family calls on the authorities to transfer Mao to an RTL facility immediately or release her on medical parole.

Mao was first taken into custody in late September 2012 on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” and she has been held in criminal detention at the Yangpu District Detention Center in Shanghai since. Wu said that on October 30, Mao was ordered to serve one year-and-a-half of RTL, an administrative punishment. The following day, the detention center issued her a Certificate of Release, which should have ended Mao’s criminal custody.

Article 53 of the Regulations on the Handling of Reeducation-Through-Labor Cases (公安机关办理劳动教养案件规定), promulgated by the Public Security Bureau on April 12, 2002, stipulates that an individual must be moved to a designated RTL facility within one month of the issuance of an RTL order. Conditions at RTL facilities are generally better than in criminal detention. RTL regulations also permit relatives to visit RTL inmates, and, in some case, spouses to live with inmates.

But rather than transferring Mao to an RTL facility, Wu said, the authorities have continued to hold her in the detention center and have denied her family visits. Mao’s family has not had any contact with her since late September.

Mao’s family calls on Chinese authorities to immediately transfer Mao to an RTL facility, or to release her on medical parole.

Mao’s lawyer Li Baiguang (李柏光) met with Mao at the Yangpu District Detention Center on November 26, 2012. Mao reportedly told Li that she was being held alone in a cell without windows. And because of a lack of nutrition and a variety of ailments, she had been sent to the Shanghai Prison Hospital for treatment.

On December 28, 2012, Wu Xuewei sent written requests to the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, Public Security Bureau, and People’s Procuratorate, that Mao either be transferred to a RTL facility as soon as possible so that her family could visit her, or that she be released on medical parole.

For more information on Mao Hengfeng, see:

For background documents on Mao Hengfeng (Chinese only), see:

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