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Woman Who Had 2nd Baby To Protest China One Child Policy Tortured In 'Re-Education Camp'

News 24 | November 24 2004

Beijing - A woman campaigning against China's stern one-child policy is being tortured in a re-education through labour camp, including being bound hand and foot and suspended in mid-air, a rights group said on Wednesday.

Mao Hengfeng, a Shanghai resident and a mother of two, is serving an 18-month labour camp sentence and has been repeatedly subjected to abusive treatment and severe beatings, Human Rights in China (HRIC) said.

"According to the latest reports HRIC has received, Mao has more recently been subjected to even more brutal treatment," it said.

"HRIC's sources say camp police bound Mao's wrists and ankles with leather straps, and then proceeded to pull her limbs in separate directions, while demanding that she acknowledge wrongdoing."

Clashed with police since 1980

Mao was sentenced to one-and-a-half years of re-education through labour - an administrative procedure that bypasses the courts - in April after petitioning the government for years to defend her rights.

Her clashes with authorities date back to the late 1980s, when she broke Chinese law by insisting on giving birth to a second child despite severe pressure to have an abortion.

After her second delivery, she was dismissed from her job at a soap factory and entered into a lengthy court battle for her right to work.

At the time of a key court hearing, she was seven months pregnant with her third child and was told by the trial judge he would rule in her favour if she agreed to abort the child, the group said.

She had an abortion against her wishes, but in the end the court ruled that because she had contravened China's family planning policy, the factory had a right to dismiss her, the group said.

Mao subsequently embarked on a 15-year struggle for her right to work and other basic rights.

HRIC said Mao had complained of her treatment to visiting family members, who saw injuries on her wrists and ankles.

She also displayed her injuries at a November 18 hearing for legal action against the authorities for terminating her welfare assistance.

"Mao's brutal treatment by camp officials clearly contravenes the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which China has ratified," said HRIC president Liu Qing.

"Higher authorities must step in and require that camp officials desist in any further actions of this nature against Mao Hengfeng and any other prisoners."

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