My prediction for what would happen to Mao Hengfeng after she was released from Re-education Through Labor was way off. I thought she would just be placed in house arrest for a long time. Instead, police took her back to RTL today. She was released because her blood pressure shot to the sky. She also lost feeling partially in her left side and a CT scan showed signs of bleeding in her brain. That is still not enough for the power that be to let her go. I can’t recall anyone treated worse than her. If there is a force out there that can right this wrong, please come forward now. She might not last much longer.

Amnesty International USA

24 February 2011

Further Information on UA 95/10 (26 April 2010) – Risk of torture/Prisoner of conscience

CHINA – Mao Hengfeng (f)

Mao Hengfeng, a Shanghai-based human rights defender, was released from Re-education Through Labor (RTL) on medical parole on 22 February. On 24 February she was sent back to RTL on the grounds of having violated the terms for medical parole. She is at risk of torture.

According to Mao Hengfeng’s husband, Shanghai Yangpu district police came to their home at about 4:00 pm on 24 February 2011 and said they wanted to talk with Mao Hengfeng. They were soon joined by officials from Anhui Provincial Women’s Re-education Through Labor (RTL) facility, and in total over 30 police surrounded their house.

The police told her that she had committed activities which violated the terms of her medical parole, and was being sent back to RTL. She was not allowed to change her clothes or pack anything she needed before being taken away.

When Mao Hengfeng was released on 22 February, an official told her this was due to her high blood pressure. She also has serious injuries caused by torture she suffered in detention. She said she has partially lost feeling on the left half of her body and could not move properly. Shortly before her release, Mao Hengfeng had been sent to two different hospitals for medical checks. A doctor did a CT scan on her head and found signs of bleeding in her brain.

After being unexpectedly released on 22 February, Mao Hengfeng celebrated with a group of friends in an evening meal at a restaurant. Thereafter she was prevented from leaving her house. On 23 February she attempted to visit a doctor, but was stopped by the police. According to her family, Mao Hengfeng did not confront the police and stayed at home. Later on 23 February, several friends came to visit her but were stopped by police and detained. More people heard about her situation and tried to visit her but they were all stopped and sent away.

Mao Hengfeng was sentences to 18 months’ Re-education Through Labor (RTL) punishment on 4 March 2010 for “disturbing public order,” in front of the Beijing municipal intermediate court on 25 December 2009, where she shouted slogans, ignored police warnings and attracted the attention of passers-by in support of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who had been on trial that day. In October 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to her family, Mao Hengfeng has been repeatedly tortured and ill-treated in detention. From 13 May – 1 June 2010, Mao Hengfeng was on hunger strike in protest against the RTL center, as they would not allow her to appeal her case. RTL facility officers force-fed her by putting a tube down her throat, causing a lot of pain. According to Mao Hengfeng, the tube caused a lot of pain, scratches in her throat and bleeding.

When Mao Hengfeng ended her hunger strike in June, RTL facility officers used her family’s money to buy food and then throw it away in front of her. Since RTL centers often only provide little food of poor quality, most inmates need their families to send money in order to buy more food.

RTL facility officers instructed other inmates to beat Mao Hengfeng, and she was beaten by about 10 people each time. This continued until November 2010, but it is unclear how many times it occurred. She was also forced to work over the summer sorting rubbish in a toxic and dirty environment. Sometimes after work she was not allowed to take a shower.

On 9 September 2010, due to her protests about the human rights abuses in RTL, guards tied Mao Hengfeng’s hands behind her back using rope, and also tied up her legs. They then put dirty plastics and clothes into her mouth. For four days she was left in this position and was not given any food or water. On 29 September, RTL staff did this again to her for another four days.

Since 2004, Mao Hengfeng has been repeatedly detained for her work defending women’s reproductive rights and victims of forced evictions, and her support of human rights defenders. Often her family have not been allowed to visit her and they have since found out that it was at these times that she has been tortured.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

  • Calling on the authorities to release Mao Hengfeng immediately and unconditionally;
  • Ensure that she is allowed access to her family, independent medical assessment and any medical treatment that she may require;
  • Guarantee that Mao Hengfeng will not be tortured or ill-treated while she is in custody;
  • Initiate a full, independent and impartial investigation into reports that Mao Hengfeng was tortured or ill- treated in the Re-education Through Labor facility and ensure that those responsible for torture or ill-treatment are brought to justice in accordance with international standards.


Director of the Shanghai Bureau of Public Security
ZHANG Xuebing Juzhang
Shanghaishi Gong’anju
128 Wuningnanlu
Qing’anqu, Shanghaishi 20042
Fax: 011 86 21 2402 3089
Salutation: Dear Director

Director of the Anhui Provincial Bureau of Re-education-Through-Labor Administration
WANG Yinghui Juzhang
Anhuisheng Laodong Jiaoyang Guanliju
310 Anqinglu, Hefeishi 230061
Fax: 011 86 551 2828979


Premier of the People’s Republic of China
WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
Fax: 011 86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Dear Premier

Ambassador Zhang Yesui
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 495-2138

Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 7 April 2011.

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