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Li Yuhan

Franco-German Human Rights Prize

Li Yuhan is a Beijing-based human rights lawyer and advocate for victims of human rights violations, known to many in China’s human rights community as “big sister”, a reference to both her age and her compassionate demeanour. In her capacity as a human rights lawyer, Li Yuhan has represented sensitive cases on freedom of belief and access to government information. In 2015, during China’s “709” crackdown on human rights lawyers, Li Yuhan defended Wang Yu, a fellow human rights lawyer who was targeted as one of the central victims of the crackdown. Wang Yu was officially released on bail on 22 July 2016 and allowed to return home on 20 July 2017.


Chinese human rights defenders work across a wide spectrum of issues, engaging with rights violators on numerous levels. Many of China’s most prominent and most stringently prosecuted defenders have worked to protect the health and well-being of victims of physically harmful government and corporate practice, including forced abortion, food health scandals, environmental pollution, and corrupt or negligent government action leading to preventable loss of life. Other Chinese HRDs work to protect the economic rights of Chinese citizens, advocating for victims of property appropriation, forced demolition, and violation of labour contracts. Still others take on cases of freedom of expression for China’s ethnic and religious minorities.