Beijing Activist Ni Yulan Arrested for Resisting Forced Demolition

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, May 2, 2008) – Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), a Beijing-based housing rights activist and former lawyer, was formally arrested on suspicion of “obstructing official business” by the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) Xicheng County Sub-division on April 29. Ni was detained on April 15 after she resisted forced demolition of her home by Beijing authorities.

According to Citizens Rights and Livelihood Watch, on April 15, dozens of workers and police knocked down a wall of Ni’s home. Ni tried to stop them. Police detained her alleging that Ni beat a member of the demolition crew. Ni’s husband was detained for five days and subsequently released.

Ni is currently held at the Beijing Xicheng District Detention Center.

Ni, 47, worked as a lawyer for 18 years. On April 27, 2002, for filming the forced demolition of a Beijing home, Ni was reportedly beaten by police. The beating left the former lawyer disabled–she is still unable to walk without crutches. On September 27, 2002, Ni was arrested when petitioning the Beijing National People’s Congress Standing Committee about the police beating. She was convicted of “obstructing official business” and sentenced to one year in prison. Despite official harassment and retaliation, Ni continues to help petitioners and those who face forced eviction in Beijing.

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