Human Rights in China has learned that Shanghai petitioner and rights defender Mao Hengfeng was subject to another round of abuse at the Shanghai Women’s Prison and at a hospital she was taken to earlier this month. Authorities prevented her husband, Wu Xuwei, from visiting her in prison until October 26. He now reports that Mao was beaten and force-fed in retaliation for publicizing mistreatment in July and August this year.
Mao Hengfeng told her husband that on September 13, at the instigation of prison authorities, a fellow inmate beat Mao in retaliation for revealing that she had been held in solitary confinement for 70 days. Mao was covered with bruises from the beating. She also reports being force-fed.
On September 24, prison authorities sent Mao to the Nanhui Prison Hospital. Mao had earlier refused to undergo a check-up because she feared being forcibly injected with drugs; this had been done during her incarceration at a psychiatric institution in the 1980s. At the hospital, Mao was stripped bare and tied to a bed such that she could only move her fingers. She was held this way until October 15, monitored by closed-circuit television, and force-fed by other inmates.
Her husband, Wu Xuwei, was finally able to visit Mao in prison on October 26. He alleges that his visit was delayed for 20 days because the authorities did not want him to see Mao’s bruises evident from the September 13 beating. During his latest visit, Mao and her husband were supervised by prison guards, who stopped her from speaking several times when she attempted to go into details about being force-fed.
Dismissed from her soap factory job in 1988 when she refused to abort a second pregnancy, Mao Hengfeng has been petitioning this dismissal and subsequent abuses since 1989. As a result of these activities, she has been forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital three times, detained multiple times, and served a one-and-a-half year sentence of reeducation-through-labor (RTL). In early June 2006, officers from Shanghai’s Yangpu District Daqiao public security station detained Mao in a guesthouse for violating residential surveillance rules. During her detention there, she broke two table lamps, and on January 12, 2007, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison on the charge of “intentional damage of property.” Mao has been subject to a range of abuses in prison, including an excessive 70-day period of solitary confinement in July and August this year which contravened article 15 of the Chinese Prison Law, stipulating a maximum of 15 days.
Human Rights in China condemns the abusive and humiliating treatment which Mao Hengfeng is being subjected to in prison. Human Rights in China is further concerned about reports that prison authorities instigated another inmate to beat, monitor, and force-feed Mao, violating international standards on the rights of prisoners. “Retaliation against inmates who expose abusive conditions is outrageous,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “These kinds of abuses in prison violate both domestic law and relevant international standards. Instead of retaliating against the whistle-blower, prison authorities should conduct a full investigation.”
For further information on Mao Hengfeng, see: