Abusive tactics and detention in illegal jails and psychiatric hospitals await petitioners in China, who are simply exercising their lawful rights.
Although International Women's Day has now passed, you can still make a difference by using the resources below at ongoing community events to raise awareness about the situation for Mao Hengfeng and other women in China.
International Women's Day Event Kit
International Women's Day is a global event connecting all women around the world. Thousands of activities are held throughout the world to inspire women, raise awareness of their rights and celebrate their achievements. While there are many large-scale initiatives, a rich and diverse fabric of local activity connects all women, ranging from political rallies, business conferences, local government activities and networking events, to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, parades, and more.
Check to see what is being planned in your community and use the occasion to raise awareness of Mao Hengfeng's case and of the situation of all petitioners in China. International support and pressure can make a difference and help stop abuse. HRIC has created an events kit to help you make a difference for Mao Hengfeng and promote women's human rights in China.
- Sample media advisory to send to local media
- Sample leaflets on Mao Hengfeng's case and on petitioning
- Sample petition to collect signatures at your event, calling for Mao Hengfeng's release
Below is some sample text to announce your event that includes a paragraph describing Mao Hengfeng.
Celebration for International Women's Day
on March 8, 2008
March 8, 2008
[Insert Name of your Group/Association] will hold [insert type of event: march, demonstration, conference] at [insert time and date] at [insert place]. With the Olympic Games approaching, we believe pressure from international actors can help stop abuses and violations of rights in China. On International Women's Day we hope to raise awareness of Women's Rights violations in China. We will be asking individuals to support women like Mao Hengfeng, a female petitioner currently in detention.
[Organizations might want to include information
about outreach and invitations to media here]
Background on Mao Hengfeng
Mao Hengfeng, a petitioner and rights defender, is currently serving two years and six months in prison for "intentional damage of property."
Mao has been an activist and petitioner for 20 years. She was dismissed from her soap factory job in 1988 when she refused to abort a second pregnancy, and since that time has petitioned the government for redress on that dismissal and subsequent abuses, including forcible eviction. As a result of petitioning, she has been forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital three times, detained multiple times, and served a one-and-a-half year sentence of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL).
In the first half of 2006, Mao was twice detained and placed under "residential surveillance." During her detention, she broke two table lamps and other objects, damage for which she is now serving prison time. Mao has been subject to a range of humiliating abuses in prison.
For further information on the event, please contact:
[Insert Name of Event Organizer], [Insert Organizer telephone contact], [Insert Organizer email address]
For further information on Mao Hengfeng and other petitioners in China, please visit:
Below are leaflets on Mao Hengfeng and on petitioners. These leaflets can be printed to letter- or A4-sized paper, and can be used for your International Women's Day or other events.
The leaflets encourage individuals to take action and sign a petition to support the legal rights of women and petitioners in China as the 2008 Beijing Olympics approach.
If you would like to create your own leaflets, posters, banners, or other items to support women and petitioners, an image of Mao Hengfeng
is available for use under Creative Commons.
- Leaflet on Mao Hengfeng - Includes a basic profile on Mao Hengfeng, as well as information on her background as a woman and as a petitioner.
- Leaflet on Petitioners - Includes information on the tactics used by government officials, police and hired thugs to restrict petitioners in China
Sample Petition to Release Mao Hengfeng
Below is a sample petition to adapt for your event:
RELEASE MAO HENGFENG!
Mao Hengfeng, a petitioner and human rights defender, is currently serving two years and six months in prison for "intentional damage of property."
Mao has been an activist and petitioner for 20 years. She was dismissed from her soap factory job in 1988 when she refused to abort a second pregnancy, and since that time has petitioned the government for redress on that dismissal and subsequent abuses, including forcible eviction. As a result of petitioning, she has been forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital three times, detained multiple times, and served a one-and-a-half year sentence of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL). While held under "residential surveillance" in for petitioning in 2006, she broke two table lamps and other objects, damage for which she is now serving prison time. She has been subject to a wide range of abuses in prison.
We the undersigned call on the People's Republic of China to immediately and unconditionally release Mao Hengfeng and others detained for peacefully invoking their lawful rights to petition, and their rights to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Chinese Constitution and international law.
Please address your petition to one or both of the following addresses:
Ms. Wu Aiying
Minister of Justice of the PRC
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
People's Republic of China
Ambassador / Consul General
Embassy / Consulate of the PRC
[Insert address in your locale, available at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg