Shanghai based activist Mao Hengfeng was released on medical parole from “Re-education Through Labor” (RTL) today in the early morning hours. Her husband Wu Xuewei was woken up by a mysterious phone call. The caller told him to collect a person. He had a hunch that his wife was coming home. He ran downstairs from the family’s apartment and found Mao Hengfeng. She was released because of high blood pressure. The US-based Chinese language media Epoch Times reported that her blood pressure was recently measured at 230.

Wu believes that international pressure has contributed to the release, and sent his thanks to everyone at Amnesty International who has campaigned on her behalf.

Prior to this good news, the family was finally allowed to visit her in mid-January after having no access to her for many months. Mao Hengfeng was a featured case in the AI Global Write-a-thon last December. A report on the Write-a-thon provided some details of the visit. She was very happy to hear that Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was sentenced to 18 months in RTL because she protested outside the court during Liu’s trial in December 2009.

In case you haven’t noticed, the header image of this blog was created from a photo of Mao Hengfeng. She is my heroine!

Update (2-23-2011): The good news didn’t last long. I just heard that the police is keeping Mao Hengfeng from leaving home. I have a hunch that her fate will follow right behind the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s. Chen is under house arrest with his family after he spent more than four years in prison for his attempt to sue local officials who were involved in the forced abortions and sterilization of villagers in Linyi of Shandong Province.