Long-time Shanghai petitioner Mao Hengfeng has been ordered to serve one-and-a-half years of “Reeducation-Through-Labor” for “disturbing social order” by shouting slogans outside a Beijing court on December 25, 2009. Mao was one of the protestors who gathered outside the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on the morning the court found prominent intellectual Liu Xiaobo guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced him to 11 years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights.

According to Mao’s husband, Wu Xuewei, Mao shouted: “This country has no regard for human rights; this country has no regard for law” and other “slogans.” (See below for HRIC’s English translation of the decision.)

Wu said that Mao was first detained on February 23, 2010, in Beijing. At 2:00 a.m. that morning, according to Shen Peilan, a fellow petitioner who had traveled with Mao to Beijing, a group of Beijing and Shanghai police officers dragged Mao from the hotel room where they were staying and took Mao away in a police vehicle with a license plate that read “A2968.” Wu, who was at home in Shanghai, said that he received a notice from the Daqiao public security substation in Shanghai’s Yangpu District on February 25, that Mao was being held in administrative detention for ten days for disturbing social order. Mao did not return home at the end of the detention period, and Wu did not know about the RTL order until he went to the Daqiao substation on March 8 to inquire about Mao.

Another Shanghai protestor, Tong Guojing, who shouted slogans outside the Beijing court on December 23 (the day of Liu Xiaobo’s trial), has also been ordered to serve one and a half years of RTL, though his “Reeducation-Through-Labor” (RTL) decision cited his participation in a gathering of more than 100 people in Shanghai in January 2010 - not the Beijing court incident - as the basis for the punishment.

“Reeducation-Through-Labor is a highly problematic form of administrative punishment; it is prone to abuse as it allows the police to lock people up for prolonged periods of time without having to go through judicial review,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “In the period leading up to the May opening of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in particular, we urge the international community to pay close attention to the Chinese authorities’ continued use of RTL as a means to cleanse the city of activists and petitioners.”

Mao’s detention and RTL sentence came barely a year and three months after her release in late November 2008 after completing a two-and-a-half-year prison term for breaking two lamps while under “residential surveillance.”

In January 2009, Mao was placed under administrative detention for seven days after shouting slogans on Nanjing Road in Shanghai, where she went to petition the deputies and representatives who were due to arrive at the annual Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Mao has been an activist and petitioner for over 20 years. In 1988, she was dismissed from her soap factory job when she refused to abort a second pregnancy. As a result of petitioning the authorities for redress of that dismissal and subsequent abuses, including forced eviction, Mao was forcibly admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times, detained multiple times, and served a one-and-a-half year sentence of RTL. While she was in the Shanghai Women’s Prison serving the two-and-a-half-year prison term for breaking two lamps, Mao was subjected to various abuses, including a 70-day-long solitary confinement, beating, choking that resulted from forced feeding, and suspension in mid-air with her hands and feet bound.

Shanghai Municipal Committee for the Management of Reeducation-Through-Labor Reeducation-Through-Labor Decision

Shanghai RTL Committee (2010) No. 668

Mao Hengfeng: Female; born December 9, 1961; Han ethnicity; resident of Gaoyou, Jiangsu Province; identification no. 310110196112090820; junior high school education; unemployed; registered residence: 3B Alley 433, Hangzhou Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai.

In July 2003, Mao was judicially detained for 15 days for “disrupting order in the court”; in April 2004, she was ordered to serve one year and six months of Reeducation-Through-Labor for “disturbing social order”; in January 2007, she was given a fixed-term sentence of two years* for the crime of “intentional destruction of property”; in January 2009, she was placed under administrative detention for seven days for “disturbing order in a public place.”

Current investigation has clearly shown: On the morning of December 25, 2009, Mao Hengfeng loudly shouted inciting slogans outside the west front gate of the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. Furthermore, she did not obey the advice of the police at the scene, and attracted many onlookers, and caused disorder at the scene. She was later found and captured.

The aforementioned facts have been verified by witness testimony and audio-visual materials, etc. The facts are clear and the evidence is definitive. Mao Hengfeng has yet to make a confession.

In order to maintain social order, and following the provisions of Articles 10(4) and 13 of the Experimental Methods of Reeducation-Through-Labor** [unofficial English translation], [this Committee] has decided to order Mao Hengfeng, who has disturbed social order, to serve one year and six months of Reeducation-Through-Labor.

If Mao does not accept this verdict, she may submit an application to the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government for reconsideration within 60 days of receipt of this decision; she may also file a suit with a relevant people’s court, such as the Shanghai Municipal People’s Court of Huangpu District, within three months of receipt of this decision.

Shanghai Municipal Committee for the Management of Reeducation-Through-Labor March 4, 2010

• Translator’s note: The actual sentence was two years and six months.

** Translator’s note: Unofficial translation by HRIC.

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