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Mao Hengfeng held in abusive conditions, appeal denied

April 16, 2007


Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Shanghai petitioner Mao
Hengfeng
was denied her appeal for the two-and-a-half year sentence for
"intentionally destroying property," following a ten-minute session at which
only her judgment was read. Neither Mao nor her lawyer were permitted to present
any argument or evidence.

The Shanghai Municipal No. 2 Intermediate
People's Court opened a session on April 16 during which the judge read the
judgment to affirm the original sentence against Mao Hengfeng. After this, the
session ended, and when Mao protested the result, she was forcibly
removed.

Mao, 46, who has petitioned the authorities since 1989 on family
planning and other issues, has repeatedly been harassed and abused for her
activities, including being detained, forcibly admitted for psychiatric
treatment and sentenced to Reeducation Through Labor (RTL). Mao's most recent
detention occurred several days before the 2006 anniversary of the June 4
crackdown, where she was detained by Shanghai's Yangpu Public Security Bureau in
a guesthouse. During her detention, Mao broke two table lamps in the guesthouse
room, and as a result was formally arrested on June 30, 2006, on charges of
"intentionally destroying property." Mao was sentenced to two-and-a-half years
by Shanghai Yangpu District Court on January 12, 2007. The judgment was based on
evidence that the lamps were worth over six thousand yuan despite the fact that
guesthouse rules require only 50 yuan in compensation per broken table lamp.


During her appeal, Mao Hengfeng's husband, Wu Xuwei, and her lawyer
presented new evidence with regard to the value of the lamps to demonstrate the
disproportionate nature of her sentence. Further, her lawyer argued that her
first sentence was unjust because Mao's case was not open to the public. Only
her family was able to attend her hearing, and her lawyer, Li Boguang, was
prevented from entering the room. However, Mao's appeal hearing provided no
opportunity to present these issues, and her sentence was affirmed without their
consideration.

In addition, according to Mao Hengfeng's family, before
her trial in January, Mao was held in a very small cell where urine and
excrement covered the floor. Guards covered the only window in the cell, and Mao
was unable to sleep due to the smell. Since her trial, the condition in which
Mao is being held is unclear.

HRIC condemns this new development in Mao's
case and the abusive conditions in which she is being held. Mao Hengfeng has the
fundamental right to petition the authorities, but has been consistently
harassed and abused by local authorities, most recently by placing her in
substandard detention conditions. HRIC urges the international community,
including governments and relevant UN bodies, to raise her case with the Chinese
authorities and ensure that detention conditions comply with international
standards. The handling of Mao's case by local public security and judicial
authorities raises serious concerns of retaliation against individuals invoking
their constitutionally-protected right to petition the authorities. HRIC calls
for a full, fair and transparent review of Mao's case.








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