China: Ms. Mao Hengfeng sentenced to one year and six months of RTL
URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
CHN 002 / 1012 / OBS 097.1
Sentencing to RTL /
People’s Republic of China
November 7, 2012
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in the People’s Republic of China.
The Observatory has been informed by Human Rights in China (HRIC) about the sentencing to one year and six months of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) of Ms. Mao Hengfeng, for “disturbing social order”. Ms. Mao is a Shanghai activist who has been active in defending the right to housing and opposing forced evictions as well as in promoting women’s reproductive rights.
According to the information received, on November 5, 2012, Mr. Wu Xuewei, Ms. Mao Hengfeng's husband, received the official RTL decision dated October 30 and signed by the Shanghai Municipal Committee on the Administration of the RTL. The decision cites two “unlawful” acts by Ms. Mao, namely her participation in two public events in Shanghai this year: one on January 5, to commemorate Ms. Teng Jingdi, a woman who died in a black jail in 2008 after being taken into custody while petitioning in Beijing; and the other on July 1, to commemorate Mr. Chen Xiaoming, a housing rights activist who became seriously ill while serving a prison sentence and died in 2007, immediately after being transferred from the prison hospital to a local hospital. The RTL decision states that during these events, Ms. Mao Hengfeng, along with others, displayed banners, shouted slogans, and sang songs, which led to crowds of spectators that affected normal traffic and the “normal life of residents”.
Moreover, the Observatory was also informed that three other Shanghai petitioners, Messrs. Tong Guojing, Shen Yongmei and Cui Fufang, were also ordered to serve one year of RTL for “disturbing social order”, following their participation in commemorative activities for Ms. Teng Jingdi. All were arrested in late September.
The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Ms. Mao Hengfeng and about her sentencing to RTL together with Messrs. Tong Guojing, Shen Yongmei and Cui Fufang. It is believed that Ms. Mao Hengfeng’s detention is aimed at preventing her from carrying out campaigning work during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party scheduled to convene on November 8.
The Observatory fears for their physical and psychological integrity, and calls upon the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them, and to put an end to acts harassment against them, as these acts seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.
On September 30, 2012, Ms. Mao Hengfeng was taken away in Beijing by two men in plain clothes believed to be Shanghai police officers. She was subsequently taken from Beijing to Shanghai, and detained at Yangpu District Police Detention Centre in Shanghai, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” under Article 291 of the Chinese Criminal Code. The Notification of Criminal Detention received by her husband did not mention when Ms. Mao was arrested in Beijing nor when she was brought back to Shanghai.
The Observatory recalls that Ms. Mao Hengfeng has been detained several times and subjected to ill-treatment in the past years due to her human rights activities
Please write to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Mao Hengfeng as well as of Messrs. Tong Guojing, Shen Yongmei and Cui Fufang;
ii. Release Ms. Mao Hengfeng and Messrs. Tong Guojing, Shen Yongmei and Cui Fufang immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary and seems to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities;
iii. In the meantime, guarantee these human rights defenders’ full and unconditional access to their lawyers and families;
iv. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Mao Hengfeng, Messrs. Tong Guojing, Shen Yongmei and Cui Fufang as well as against all human rights defenders in China;
v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the People’s Republic of China.
· Mr. Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Guojia Zongli, The State Council General Office, 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
· Ms. Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Sifabu, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345, Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
· Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Waijiaobu, 2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijingshi 100701, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6588 2594, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Chief of the Public Security Bureau, Yangpu Branch, Shanghai Municipal, Cai Tian Juzhang, No. 2049 Pingliang Road, Yangpuqu, Shanghai, 200090, People’s Republic of China. Fax: +86 22 170130. Email: Shyp@shyp.gov.cn
· Chief of the Public Security Bureau, Shanghai Municipal, Zhang Xuebing Juzhang, No.128 Wuning South Road, Jing’an, Shanghai, 200042, People’s Republic of China. Fax: +86 24 062676. Email: email@example.com
· Ambassador He Yafei, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, P.O. Box 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 463 1160 Auderghem, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 663 30 10 / + 32 2 663 30 17 / +32 2 771 14 97 / +32 2 779 43 33; Fax: +32 2 762 99 66 / +32 2 779 28 95; Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.
Geneva-Paris, November 7, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80