Update (2/24): Unfortunately, we celebrated too soon; Mao Hengfeng has been detained again. According to her husband, Shanghai Yangpu district police came to her house today, saying they wanted to talk with her. Soon after, officials from Anhui Provincial Women’s Re-education Through Labour (RTL) facility also arrived, and in total over 30 police surrounded her house.
The police told her that she had committed activities which violated the terms of her medical parole, and was being sent back to RTL. She was not allowed to change her clothes or pack anything she needed.
After being unexpectedly released on 22 February, Mao Hengfeng celebrated with a group of friends in a restaurant that evening. Since then, she had been prevented from leaving her house. One friend who came to visit her was stopped by police and detained. Others who tried to visit were stopped and sent away.
Take action now to stop the re-incarceration of Mao Hengfeng.
Mao Hengfeng outside Shanghai petition office with her three daughters. © Private
We have great news to report — Mao Hengfeng was released unexpectedly yesterday, six months before the end of her sentence. She had been detained since March 2010 for protesting the arrest of Liu Xiaobo, a prominent human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
This most recent detention was only one of many for Mao. Mao has courageously worked for human rights in China for years, and has suffered torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities.
Mao was featured as a case in Amnesty’s 2010 Write for Rights campaign, which generated an incredible number – 636,139 – of appeals, from 51 different countries worldwide, for the release of Mao and other human rights activists. Mao’s husband, Wu Xuewei, believes that international pressure was integral to Mao’s release, and he sends his thanks to Amnesty for all the campaigning we’ve all done on Mao’s behalf.
This year’s Write for Rights campaign has already seen some amazing successes, including the release of Femi Peters in Gambia, and now the release of Mao Hengfeng. We sincerely thank you for your letters, which have already delivered hope for so many.