A woman campaigning against China's stern one-child policy is suffering brutal treatment in detention, a New York-based rights group said yesterday. \nMao Hengfeng, a Shanghai resident and a mother of two, is currently serving an 18-month labor camp sentence and has been subjected to torture, Human Rights in China said in a statement. \n"While in detention Mao has been bound hand and foot and suspended in mid-air, and has been subjected to severe beatings to her limbs and abdomen," the group said, citing unnamed sources. \n"In addition, police are alleged to have assigned two criminals to monitor her activities in detention," it said. \nMao was sentenced to one and a half years of re-education through labor -- an administrative procedure that bypasses the courts -- in April after petitioning the government for years to defend her rights. \nHer clashes with the 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. \nAfter 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. \nAt 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 favor if she agreed to abort the child, the group said. \nShe 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. \nMao subsequently embarked on a 15-year struggle for her right to work and other basic rights. \nDuring the course of numerous petitions she has been frequently detained and on several occasions has been forcibly committed to psychiatric institutions, according to the group.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and