Ni Yulan worked for 18 years as a lawyer on politically sensitive cases, but the past few years she has focused mostly on people losing their homes because of the Olympic Games in 2008. After filming the demolition of one of those homes, she was arrested, and her feet and kneecaps broken. Since then she has been confined to a wheelchair. Because of her protest against the beatings, she was sentenced to one year in prison. Also, because of the criminal prosecution, her licence as a lawyer was revoked.
When she was free again, she continued to challenge the illegal expropriation and demolition of homes, including her own. She was arrested shortly before the start of the Olympic Games and put in prison for two years. Since she returned from prison for the second time, she and her husband live in a park, with friends and in hotels. The police subsequently made it impossible for them to stay there. After a massive protest against this situation, the police moved the couple to a guesthouse but, even there, the harassment continued.
Despite all this, she continues to play an important role for human rights activism in China: she is in contact with many human rights lawyers and activists and publishes on threats against them.
On 7 April 2011, Ni Yulan was arrested for the third time, together with her husband Dong Jiqin. In April 2012, they were convicted to a two-and-a-half and two year prison sentence respectively, on charges of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ under Article 293 of the Chinese Criminal Code. On 5 October 2013, Ni Yulan completed her sentence and was set free. She will continue to fight for compensation for the demolition of her home.
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