Update on Mao Hengfeng – August 25, 2011

Mao Hengfeng outside Shanghai petition office with her daughters. © Private, 2003

Chinese authorities  released Mao Hengfeng July 28, 2011, but in very poor physical condition.  We will be working with Amnesty International USA’s Country Specialist on China at our next monthly meeting (September 14, 2011) to determine how we can best continue to act to hold the authorities accountable for any mistreatment and help her secure her rights to freedom of movement and speech.  Click here to take action today.

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One Response to Update on Mao Hengfeng – August 25, 2011

  1. Here’s an August 13, 2011, letter from Amnesty USA’s Senior Campaign Director of Individuals at Risk:

    Dear David,

    The last time Mao Hengfeng was home from jail, the celebration was short-lived. She had roughly two days of freedom before being re-detained on vague charges.

    Two weeks ago, when Chinese police returned Mao Hengfeng home from her most recent term of “Re-Education through Labor” – it didn’t feel right to celebrate at all.

    She was home, but she was delivered unconscious in a wheelchair…severely beaten…clearly tortured…barely alive1.

    It gets worse. Shanghai authorities have been known to return detainees to their homes shortly before they die so that they can later wash their hands of all culpability. Because her release was completely unexpected, Mao’s husband and family could only expect the worst.

    I can honestly tell you that some of my happiest moments here at Amnesty International have been the days when a prisoner of conscience is released. Just knowing that they are being reunited with their loved ones makes our work all the more satisfying.

    But bittersweet doesn’t even begin to cover the disgraceful “homecoming” of Mao Hengfeng.

    Not only should she have never been detained in the first place for voicing her beliefs, but no one – and I mean no one – should ever experience the appalling treatment she did while in detention.

    Help us demand accountability for the torture and abuse of Mao Hengfeng.

    For simply demanding political and social change, Chinese authorities have repeatedly arrested this wife and mother of three.

    Her most recent detention stems from her 2009 protest of the detention of Liu Xiaobo, a prominent human rights defender in China and the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. She has also been a strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights and the victims of forced evictions in Shanghai.

    We’ve been told that since being home, Mao’s condition has improved slightly. She regained consciousness and has started to walk and talk again slowly. We couldn’t be more relieved to hear this news and hope that her progress continues.

    But even though Mao’s condition may continue to improve, Amnesty International will not let her wounds be forgotten.

    Take action for Mao Hengfeng. Please take action to support this courageous woman’s struggle for human rights!

    Thank You,

    Michael O’Reilly
    Senior Campaign Director, Individuals at Risk
    Amnesty International USA

    1. http://blog.amnestyusa.org/women/mao-hengfengs-bittersweet-homecoming

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