Chinese Woman Tortured After Coerced Abortion Faces More Jail Time

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Chinese Woman Tortured After Coerced Abortion Faces More Jail Time Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 5, 2005

Beijing, China ( — A woman whose plight has placed a renewed focus on the human rights abuses associated with China’s population control policy has been sentenced to more time in a reeducation prison camp.

Just weeks after a Congressional committee held hearing on Mao Hengfeng’s forced imprisonment, a human rights watchdog group says the woman who has protested their one-child population control policy will remain in prison an additional three months.

The Shanghai woman has been sentenced to 18 months in the prison camp for her fifteen years-long battle with the Chinese government after she lost her job when she became pregnant a second time.

According to a New York-based human rights agency, Chinese officials, who have subjected Mao to brutal torture, told her of the increased sentence last month.

"The recent increase in Mao’s sentence appears to be another sign of retrenchment by the Beijing government in regard to human rights issues," said Liu Qing, president of Human Rights in China.

Since losing her job and other legal rights in the late 1980s, Mao has been imprisoned, was falsely told she would get her job back if she aborted a third pregnancy, and has been assigned to psychiatric wards.

Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, told a meeting of the House International Relations Committee last month that Mao’s "is the most egregious example of China’s mistreatment of women who do not comply with China’s draconian policies, but there are thousands of other victims.”

"The torture of Mao Hengfeng demonstrates that China’s drive to control its population growth at any cost to the Chinese people is as strong and dangerous as ever," Smith added.

Michael Kozak, a State Department assistant secretary, said Mao’s case highlights the problems in the Chinese system: coercion of abortion or sterilization, the use of forced labor camps, forced imprisonment, and the use of psychiatric hospitals and torture.

Mao has been bound hand and foot and suspended in midair and has been repeatedly subjected to abuse and beatings, according to Human Rights in China.

"HRIC’s sources say camp police bound Mao’s wrists and ankles with leather straps, and then proceeded to pull her limbs in separate directions, while demanding that she acknowledge wrongdoing," the group added.

Congressman Smith indicated he is worried the torture would lead to Mao’s death.

In a surprising development, leading abortion advocates, who normally apologize for the UNFPA and its participation in China’s coercive population control program, wrote a letter to Chinese officials asking for Mao’s release.