Submission to UN on Ni Yulan – July 6, 2011

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Communiqué on behalf of Ni Yulan, citizen of People’s Republic of China, Alleging Arbitrary Arrest or Detention and Persecution of Human Rights Defenders



1. Family name:  Ni (倪)

2. First name:  Yulan (玉兰)

3. Sex:  Female

4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): March 24, 1960

5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China (Han)

6. Identity document (if any): Passport

7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Ms Ni was previously a lawyer but her license was revoked in 2002. In recent years, she has dedicated herself to human rights activism, in particular, to providing assistance to petitioners and advocating on behalf of those who have been forcibly evicted from their homes.

8. Address of usual residence: Ms Ni and her husband used to own a home at No.19, Qianzhang Hutong, Xinjiekou, Xicheng District, Beijing. But their home was forcibly demolished and they are now homeless; most recently, they stayed for a number of months in the Yuxingong Hotel in Beijing.


II. Arrest

1. Date of arrest: April 7, 2011

2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Yuxingong Hotel, 31 Xishenku Street, Xicheng District, Beijing.

3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: Xicheng District Public Security Bureau

4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? unknown


III. Detention

1. Date of detention: Ni was taken away by police on April 7, 2011, and placed under criminal detention on suspicion of “creating a disturbance,” according to a detention notice which was dated April 6. According to Ni’s lawyer, Mr. Cheng Hai, Ni was formally arrested on May 17 on the same charge. 2. Duration of detention: From April 7, 2011 throught the present (i.e., ongoing).

3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Xicheng District Public Security Bureau

4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Xicheng Detention Center.

5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Xicheng District Public Security Bureau

6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: “creating a disturbance”

7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Article 293 of the Criminal Law of the PRC:

Whoever commits any of the following acts of creating disturbances, thus disrupting public order, shall be sentenced to fixed- term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention or public surveillance:

(1) beating another person at will and to a flagrant extent;

(2) chasing, intercepting or hurling insults to another person to a flagrant extent;

(3) forcibly taking or demanding, willfully damaging, destroying or occupying public or private money or property to a serious extent; or

(4) creating disturbances in a public place, thus causing serious disorder in such place.


IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to the arbitrary


According to the WGAD’s methods, deprivation of a person’s liberty is “arbitrary,” if the case falls into at least one or all of three categories:

A) When it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him) (Category I);

B) When the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 10 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, insofar as States parties are concerned, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Category II); (i.e., rights to free opinion, speech, expression, press, assembly, association, and demonstration, etc.)

C) When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character (Category III).

On April 7, police entered the hotel room where Ni and her husband Dong Jiqin were staying and took the couple into custody. The couple’s daughter only learned of their whereabouts on April 11 after making numerous inquiries with the police. Ni was formally arrested on May 17 for “creating a disturbance.” She is currently being held at the Xicheng Detention Center in Beijing’s Haidian District. This is the third time Ni has been criminally detained by the Beijing police; earlier detentions and convictions resulted in the loss of the use of her legs (from torture) and the permanent revocation of her lawyer’s license (with her first criminal conviction for “obstructing an officer” in 2002).  Ni’s lawyer, Cheng Hai, and her daughter are concerned that the detention center is not providing adequate medical care for Ni, who suffers from various health problems, including breathing and digestive difficulties, as well as heart problems – conditions either caused or exacerbated by the mistreatment she has suffered at the hands of Chinese officials.

CHRD believes that Ni’s detention is arbitrary based on the stipulations of Category II ( set forth in paragraph B above). Ni is a longtime human rights activist and has been the target of sustained police persecution for years. Her arrest took place during the crackdown on civil society launched by the Chinese government following the “Arab Spring” and anonymous online calls for “Jasmine Revolution” protests in China earlier this year, which was used by officials as a pretext to target many longtime activists and dissidents. We believe that Ni was arrested and detained in retaliation for her outspoken human rights activism and efforts to exercise her rights, including her rights to freedom of expression and assembly.


V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken.


Ni was prevented from meeting with her lawyer, Cheng Hai, until May 6, 2011. After that meeting, where she appeared in poor health, her lawyer applied for her release on medical parole; however, government officials have yet to formally respond to this application. Ni has not yet been indicted or tried on any charge.


See more on case of Ni Yulan:

Ni Yulan Case: PR China Replies to UN & CHRD Response (May 28, 2012)

Communiqué Alleging Torture, Arbitrary Detention, Forced Eviction, Harassment and Intimidation of Human Rights Defender Ni Yulan, Citizen of the People’s Republic of China, August 13, 2010

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