07/29/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Mao Hengfeng released from prison in a wheelchair

The well-known dissident was sent to a Shanghai prison hospital where she endured physical and moral torture. She had been sentenced to 18-months in jail for protesting during Liu Xiaobo’s trial. “The hospital was a living hell,” she said.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dissident Mao Hengfeng was released from a re-education-through-labour camp yesterday, a month before the end of her 18-month sentence. Her husband Wu Xuewei said she endured physical and moral torture whilst in prison.

Escorted by more than 10 police officers, Mao arrived in her Shanghai home in a wheelchair (pictured), Human Rights in China reported. She had been in the Shanghai Prison General Hospital since 24 February where she was not allowed to walk around or communicate with others.

“The hospital was a living hell,” Mao wrote in a message to her husband. “I was not allowed to leave the bed or walk around. I was beaten several times for disobeying orders”.

Mao Hengfeng became an opponent to China’s one-child policy after she was fired in 1988 from the soap factory where she worked for refusing to abort her second child despite the law requiring couples to have only one child.

In March 2010, she was sentenced to 18 months in a re-education-through-labour camp, a form of forced labour camp, without trial or right to a defence, on charges of “disturbing the social order”. On 25 December 2009, she had shouted slogans protesting the trial of Liu Xiaobo outside Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

On 22 February 2011, she was released because of poor health, but was re-arrested two days later for unspecified “illegal activities”.

Her husband Wu said that in those two days, they were under constant police surveillance and that her wife went out only once for a dinner with friends the evening of her release (see “Chinese dissident arrested for struggle against “one child” law,” in AsiaNews del 25 February 2011).

After his wife’s second arrest, Wu was not told where she was held. On 9 June, he was told but was told he could not see her.

Mao was forcibly sent several times to psychiatric hospitals where she endured abuses and torture because of her petitions activities.
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