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    March 14, 2013

    Mao Hengfeng, a human rights defender in China, was released on February 8, 2013 to serve the rest of her term at home.

    She had been sentenced to "Re-education Through Labor" on October 30, 2012. It was the latest in a series of detentions dating back to 2004 because of her work standing up for human rights.

    Mao wants to thank everyone who campaigned on her behalf. Her husband Wu Xuewei believes she is now home again due to the international and domestic calls for her release.

    Mao Hengfeng, who suffers from poor health, is now resting at home with her family. She told us how on September 30th last year she was in Beijing to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival. While there, she was followed by 20 men in plain clothes. She tried to hide, but they found her and punched and kicked her and pushed her to the ground. She was forced into a van and taken to Yangpu police station in Shanghai for questioning. A month later she was sentenced.

    During her detention she was held in solitary confinement in a dark cell without windows and was not given access to clean hot water until her health worsened.

    February 27, 2013

    We received the good news that Gao Zhisheng was granted a visit by his family on February 12th!  His wife Geng He has written this message that she would like to pass on to all who have been working on Amnesty's campaign to free Gao::

    "Following a Letter-Writing Marathon ('Write for Rights') organized by Amnesty International at the end of last year and the international community’s actions, the family of the Gao Zhisheng was granted a second prison visit on 12 January of this year. It is a small improvement, but it could not be achieved without the international community’s concerns and the effort and support from the membership of Amnesty International, for which my family and I feel most grateful. I hope Amnesty International will continue to promote this activity, allowing more people to come to know my husband’s situation, until he gains his freedom."

    While it is very difficult to know exactly what led to the prison visit being granted, the huge amount of action generated by the Write for Rights may have contributed, and has definitely been greatly appreciated by his family.

    January 23, 2013

    A Chinese woman who beat her husband to death with a gun after suffering months of domestic violence should not be executed, Amnesty International urged on Wednesday.

    Li Yan, 41, from Sichuan province in South West China could be executed any day between now and the Chinese New Year in early February.

    “Justice is not served by executing Li Yan.  Amnesty International calls upon the Chinese authorities to commute her death sentence to a term of imprisonment,” said Roseann Rife, Head of East Asia at Amnesty International. Li was sentenced to death in August 2011 for the murder of her husband, Tan Yong, in late 2010.

    Tan inflicted frequent beatings on his wife, he cut off one of her fingers, stubbed cigarettes out on her face and during the freezing Sichuan winters locked her outside on the balcony of their apartment for several hours with little clothing.

    The prolonged violence at the hands of her husband began not long after the couple were married in early 2009.

    Li Yan contacted the authorities, including the police, on several occasions to seek protection and required hospital treatment after one attack.

    November 12, 2012

    Lui Xiaobo is the co-author of Charter 08 which calls for effective protection of universal human rights and democratic reform. The Court considered Charter 08 “slanderous” and an attempt to incite the subversion of the current regime. In six articles, Liu Xiaobo criticized corruption, censorship and one-party rule and advocated developing a democratic multi party political system. The Court considered this ”rumour mongering, slander and smear” which exceeded the limits of freedom of expression, constituting a criminal offence.

    October 11, 2012

    The forced eviction of people from their homes or land they occupy without adequate legal protections is banned under international law. In spite of this, forced evictions in both rural and urban settings have become a routine occurrence across China.

    Forced evictions are so pervasive that they represent the single largest source of popular discontent in China. The rise in forced evictions in recent years have resulted from the rapid pace of urbanization and the Chinese government incentivizing local officials to deliver economic growth at any cost. 

    Individuals and communities that seek redress face beatings, harassment, imprisonment and even death at the hands of thugs hired by local officials, with the complicity of local police. Additionally, the lack of independence of Chinese courts means that individuals seeking redress face barriers to gaining justice and asserting their rights. Evictees are often offered minimal or no compensation and inadequate alternative housing, in direct violation of international law.


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