SHANGHAI, China, February 28, 2011 ( – Chinese prisoner of conscience, Mao Hengfeng, was re-arrested last week and shipped back to a labor camp for her struggle against China’s one child policy.


Amnesty International issued an urgent call for universal action after Hengfeng’s re-arrest from her home in Shanghai. 

In March last year, Hengfeng was sentenced to a year and a half of “re-education through labor” (RTL) for “disturbing public order.”  Hengfeng had been released on parole due to health concerns from her ill-treatment and torture during imprisonment on February 22, but was arrested and sent back to labor camps on February 24.  Her whereabouts remains unknown.

A human rights activist in China, Hengfeng has fought China’s brutal one child policy since 1988 when she was fired from her job for violating the law with her third pregnancy.  Hengfeng appealed the court’s rule and was reinstated in her job.  Later, however, she was denied appeal, dismissed from her job, and forced to abort her fourth child.  Since then Hengfeng has been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured for her activism.

Prior to her release last week, Hengfeng had seen two doctors for medical examinations.  From a CT scan, doctors confirmed she had bleeding in her brain.  She was also inhibited from normal movement by a partial loss of feeling on the left half of her body.  After her release, Mao Hengfeng returned home, but was detained by police when she attempted to see a doctor for further medical treatment. 

Police prohibited all interaction between Hengfeng and anyone outside her family and on February 24 arrested her on charges of “illegal activity.”  District police, as well as agents from the RTL, totalling over 30 persons, surrounded the Hengfeng’s home and took Mao away before she could gather any belongings, reported her husband Wu Xuewuei.

“For 24 hours every day, since her return police have kept our door under close watch. We could not even visit the doctor. What chance had she to break the law?” demanded her husband.  “We are very concerned … We do not know where she is.”

Over many years, Hengfeng has suffered brutal conditions and torture during imprisonment. In 2004 Human Rights In China (HRIC) reported that Mao was being tortured, including being bound hand and foot and suspended in mid-air, and being subjected to severe beatings.  HRIC’s sources said RTL 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.

Hengfeng’s arrest last week is part of the Chinese government’s response to protests relating to the recent ‘Jasmine Revolution’ uprisings.

“Mao’s arrest is part of a nationwide crackdown against activists of all stripes,” Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute told “There have been attempts at pro-democracy demonstrations in China over the past two weeks, but these, along with the demonstrations themselves, have been quashed.”

“Now activists like Mao, who protest the vicious and inhumane one-child policy, are being swept up in a nationwide dragnet and deposited in labor camps and prisons on the slightest pretext to keep them off the streets.”

Mosher concluded, “Mao has done nothing wrong—except protest a policy that cost her her fourth child to abortion, huge fines, and years in prison.”


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