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China: Harassment of human rights defender Ms Ni Yulan
Human rights defender Ms Ni Yulan faces her 19th day without electricity or internet connection due to ongoing police harassment. Her water supply has also been cut for the majority of this time.
Ni Yulan is a lawyer who has been involved in human rights defence for 11 years. She has been persistently targetted by police since offering legal aid to a Falun Gong practitioner in 1999. In 2002 Ni Yulan attempted to document on camera her neighbours' forced eviction and the demolition of their home. She was noticed by the police, and subsequently dragged to a police station and beaten so severely that she was left permanently disabled. She is currently confined to a wheelchair.
As of 7 January 2011, human rights defender Ni Yulan has had the electricity and internet connection cut for 19 consecutive days in the Beijing hotel room where she is currently staying, as a result of police pressure on the owners of the hotel. She has had only intermittent access to water during this time. This is the latest development in what appears to be an ongoing campaign of harassment against Ni Yulan.
On 20 December 2010, police officers from the Xicheng District in Beijing forced the management of the Yu Xin Gong Hotel to cut power to Ni Yulan's hotel room. It is thought that this is an attempt to force Ni Yulan and her husband out of the hotel in response to Ni Yulan's work with petitioners, who frequently visit her seeking the free legal advice she provides on their cases.
Ni Yulan has been jailed twice, most recently in 2008, for protesting against the forced demolition of her own home. During this period of imprisonment, the prison authorities forbade her to use her crutches and she was consequently forced to crawl around the prison. Upon her release in 2010, Ni Yulan and her husband, having had their own home demolished and all their possessions confiscated, lived in a park in Beijing for a number of months. Following international publicity gained by her case, she was moved to a small hotel room, where she and her husband are kept under surveillance by police and are subject to harassment.
Front Line believes that these developments form part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation and harassment against Ni Yulan and her husband, and are directly related to her legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. Given her physical condition, serious concern is expressed for Ni Yulan's physical and psychological integrity.