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HRIC Press Advisory: Petitioners Face Ongoing Abuse

March 3, 2008


Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤) petitioned for redress of coercive and abusive implementation of China’s Family Planning Policy. Shuang Shuying (双淑英) petitioned for official intervention in cases of forced eviction. Ye Jinghuan (野靖环) petitioned for a government investigation into an investment scam that cost Chinese workers tens of millions of dollars from their life savings. The response to their exercise of the right to petition, protected under Chinese law: all three are in detention and subject to ongoing abusive treatment, including solitary confinement, physical punishment, and denial of medical treatment. “In the final lead up to the Olympics, instead of cracking down on and rounding up petitioners and other activists, the Chinese authorities need to constructively address the serious problems petitioners are raising,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom.

In the final lead up to the Olympics, instead of cracking down on and rounding up petitioners and other activists, the Chinese authorities need to constructively address the serious problems petitioners are raising.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

Like many petitioners, these three women are the victims of a range of abusive tactics, including detention, forced retrieval, beatings, surveillance, house arrest, Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL), forced admission to psychiatric hospitals, and the detention and harassment of family members. “Softer” tactics—restrictions on housing, denial of medical treatment, and forcing signatures on agreements to stop petitioning—are also common. All these tactics directly undermine the lawful right of Chinese citizens to petition the government and violate international law, including obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

  • Mao Hengfeng has been an activist and petitioner for 20 years and is now suffering a range of humiliating abuses in prison. 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 her petitioning, she has been detained, forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and sentenced to RTL. She is now serving two and a half years in prison for having broken two table lamps and other objects while in detention for petitioning in 2006.

  • Shuang Shuying is a 77-year-old petitioner serving a two year sentence, also for “intentional damage of property.” Shuang, the mother of house church activist Hua Huiqi (华惠棋), was petitioning over forced eviction when she was detained. Human Rights in China has learned that Shuang’s health, already precarious, is deteriorating in prison. After a recent visit, family members reported that her health has suffered under the poor prison conditions, and her eyesight has deteriorated due to complications with diabetes and high blood pressure, to the point where she could not even see the visitors sitting in front of her.
  • Ye Jinghuan, 55, has also been petitioning for years and is now facing serious deprivations that are gravely affecting her health in a RTL facility in Beijing. Ye was one of the thousands of people affected by the August 1998 Xin Guo Da Futures Scam, which resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars from individuals’ savings. In RTL Ye is monitored by 4 inmates who frequently humiliate, ridicule, and punish her. She is currently held alone, in a small room, and required to maintain a single position for five hours each day as punishment, for what the facility officials have labeled as bad behavior. Since her arrival at the facility she has suffered serious weight loss.
  • Visit HRIC’s Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Olympics Take Action Campaign (http://www.ir2008.org) for more information on these cases and on petitioning.


    For further information on Mao Hengfeng, see:

    For further information on Shuang Shuying, see: