Mao Hengfeng has been re-arrested and jailed on bogus charges shortly after she was released from prison. Mao has been subjected to repeated human rights abuses for speaking out against the forced abortion injustice in the Asian country.
Mao has been fighting for two decades for the nation to abolish its one-child policy, which prohibits couples from having a second baby. The policy has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations, imprisonment, revocation of jobs, fines, and harassment and assault of family members.
She was detained and reportedly beaten after protesting about forced evictions in Shanghai in January 2009. She was eventually released from a Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) facility but authorities stopped her medical parole just two days later and cited her “illegal activities inconsistent with [the stipulations of] medical parole” as the basis of their decision, but did not specify the exact nature of the activities.
According to Mao’s husband, Wu Xuewei, Mao left home only once, to eat dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant on the evening of her release, February 22. The next morning, more than ten police officers blocked the entrance to their home and did not allow her to leave.
Wu told the group Human Rights in China that, on the afternoon of February 24, the head of the Anhui RTL facility, along with a dozen Shanghai and Anhui police officers, came to their home and took Mao away. The Anhui RTL facility authorities gave him a copy of the Notice Terminating RTL Personnel Medical Release.
In March 2010, Mao was ordered to serve 18 months of RTL for “disturbing social order” when she shouted slogans outside a Beijing court on December 25, 2009. She was first placed in the Shanghai RTL facility, but later was transferred to Anhui, according to HRIC.
The group indicated Mao was granted medical parole because of her high blood pressure, which is classified as “Level III” – the highest-risk level – by the Chinese Ministry of Health, with a systolic count of 230. Mao also said that medical exams showed that the left side of her head and her lower back are badly injured.
In a statement about the arrest, HRIC released a statement from Mao about her experience in the prison labor camp.
I was in poor health to begin with. Half of my body is numb and I have a concussion on the left side of my head from a beating. While at the Anhui Women’s Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) facility, the guards egged other inmates on to beat me more than a dozen times, including a few times when the people in charge of the RTL facility joined in the beating. They said that I shouted “Down with the Communist Party” outside of the Beijing court where Liu Xiaobo was tried and wanted me to bow and admit guilt. I refused to do so. I maintained that if the Communist Party tolerates the torture of RTL inmates, it should be overthrown.
From September 29 through October 2, they tied me to a metal pole and tried to force food and water into me. On September 29, RTL personnel made inmates gag me with a cloth that they used to clean the floor. They tied my legs and arms with plastic rope; my arms became ulcerated.
Being kicked and beaten by other inmates was routine. On May 11, June 22, November 20, December 9, 2010, and other days, RTL personnel joined the inmates in beating me. July 14 was the worst beating. I was tied to a metal pole, and RTL personnel made more than 10 inmates beat me, gouge my eyes so that they bled, and strike me in the head until I had a concussion. I fainted. On the third day and the seventh day of the Chinese New Year (February 5 and 9), they still beat me.
In 1988, Mao began petitioning after she refused her work unit’s demand that she abort her second pregnancy. Over the years, because of her petition activities, she was forcibly placed into psychiatric hospitals and detained many times, and also served time in RTL facilities twice. Mao was forced to have an abortion and dismissed from her job at a Shanghai soap factory, when she became pregnant for the third time.