Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Manfred Nowak MISSION TO CHINA (Excerpt)

E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.6, pgs 56-57 10 March 2006

11. Ms. Mao Hengfeng, aged 44, Shanghai (subject of previously transmitted communications, E/CN.4/2005/62/Add.1, para. 296) (Interviewed in Beijing on 24 November 2005). She alleges that she has been targeted by officials for various petitions she has made to Beijing authorities.

[…] On 16 March 2004, she was detained, and later sentenced on 5 April 2004 to 18 months’ of re-education through labour for “disrupting social order”, to be served at the Qingpo Women’s RTL camp, Shanghai. The camp reportedly manufactures Christmas tree lights, sweaters, and small toys. She was released on 12 September 2005.

During her first 15 days at the camp, education consisted of being forced to stand from 5am to 11pm, with 15 minute breaks for meals. Non-compliance would result in beatings, often by other prisoners upon the orders of the guards. On other occasions, the prisoners would be forced to march in the hot sun for a half day, and those that disobeyed would be forced to march the whole day.

She reported that one prisoner, Ms. Li Limao, who was a Falun Gong practitioner, died one month after the Chinese New Year in 2005 following a punishment for disobedience. She was hung from a window from her hands tied behind her back, and with her toes just touching the floor.

Mao Hengfeng reported that a “white powder” was often mixed in the prisoners’ meals which had a sedative effect. Following the 15 day education period, when she refused to work, Mao Hengfeng was placed in a cell with two other prisoners. There she was regularly forced to sit or stand for long durations at the risk of being beaten if she did not comply. Between 9 to 17 August 2004, on the orders of the guards, the prisoners had tied her arms and legs to a bed and attempted to force drugs into her mouth to force her to admit her wrongdoing.

During this time she was refused access to a toilet. After 17 August 2004, she was moved to a small disciplinary cell for one week, tied to a bed, and her face covered with a mask with only a hole for her nose. Again she was forced to admit her crime, but when she accused the other prisoners of being ‘fascist’ they attempted to suffocate her. Between 9 to 12 November 2004, she was brought back to this cell, tied to the bed, and not provided with appropriate bedding and clothing despite the cold, and lack of heating. Speakers in the cell blasted loud music. Visits were granted at the discretion of the prison management, despite regulations stipulating monthly visits, and usually after injuries had sufficiently healed. Medical treatment for her injuries consisted merely of lotion, and when she appealed for further treatment she was threatened with being handcuffed and shackled.

On one occasion, a doctor diagnosed her erroneously with high blood pressure and prescribed her medication which left her mouth numb for days. She indicated that she has complained to the authorities about her treatment with no effect. Mao Hengfeng also alleges that she has been detained by Daqiao Police Station officers on a number of times to prevent her from raising her complaints at high-level events and during visits of foreign dignitaries.

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