Imprisoned Activist Mao Hengfeng Allegedly Tortured

Comments Off on Imprisoned Activist Mao Hengfeng Allegedly Tortured

Imprisoned Activist Mao Hengfeng Allegedly Tortured

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, July 11, 2008) – CHRD learnt that Mao Hengfeng (毛恒), a reproductive rights and housing rights activist, had been tortured in a prison hospital in Shanghai.

On July 4, Mao told her family of her torture when they spoke on the phone. On June 3, against her will, Mao was taken to the prison hospital in Nanhui district, Shanghai. At the hospital, Mao was guarded by a dozen female prisoners who were selected by the prison authorities. They stripped Mao naked and tied her tightly to a bed, where she was left for fourteen days. With the help of the prisoners/guards, doctors forcibly injected Mao a dozen kinds of unknown medication, which left her a severe headache and an intense burning sensation in her body. Doctors also forcibly drew blood from Mao. As she struggled against those restraining her, Mao bled profusely.

Mao was also beaten. The prisoners/guards pinched and beat her, injuring her breast, mouth and genitals.

In the sweltering heat of Shanghai summer (with temperatures in high twenties Celsius), the prisoners covered Mao in a blanket. Sometimes they would cover Mao’s mouth and nose with clothes, which nearly suffocated her. Mao was also not allowed to wash.

On June 16, Mao was released from the hospital. Mao is held in the Shanghai Women’s Prison. The prison authorities recently added a shutter to Mao’s only window, leaving a crack to her cell and making it very stuffy.

CHRD condemns the torture, barbaric and inhuman treatment of Ms Mao Hengfeng by the Shanghai prison authorities. CHRD calls on the Chinese government to respect Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed but not yet ratified, as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which China ratified in 1988. The Chinese government must hold accountable those officials responsible for torturing Mao.

CHRD reiterates its call for Mao’s immediate and unconditional release. CHRD believes that Mao has been detained solely for peaceful expression of opinion and organizing fellow citizens to voice their concerns and defend their human rights. The authorities have abused Mao’s rights to freedom of expression and of association guaranteed in, respectively, Articles 19 and 22 of the ICCPR. These rights are also enshrined in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. The right to defend human rights is guaranteed in the Declaration to Protect Human Rights Defenders, which China endorsed in 1999.


Mao is a Shanghai activist who has been active in defending housing rights and opposing forced evictions and also in promoting women’s reproductive rights. On January 12, 2007, Mao was convicted of “damaging hotel property” and sentenced to two-and-half years in jail. Prosecutors accused Mao of breaking two desk lamps worth about $900 during her detention by police at a guest house. Mao’s lawyers argued that the hotel only asked guests to pay $7 for each damaged lamp.

Mao has been frequently denied access to her family and repeatedly tortured and ill-treated during her incarceration. For example, on October 26, 2007, Mao was stripped naked and tied to a bed, where she was left for some twenty days. During this period, Mao was force-fed, beaten and humiliated.

For more information, please see:
Human Rights Defender Mao Hengfeng Tortured in Prison (July 4, 2007)
Mao Hengfeng, f. imprisoned activist (May 31, 2007)
The Conviction of Mao Hengfeng: Trump-up Charges against a Human Rights Defender (January 12, 2007)

  • Back to Top