China Denies Imprisoned Christian Rights Activist Medical Parole

Ni Yulan
Ni Yulan (Zhang Nsn/VOA)

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Imprisoned Chinese housing rights activist Ni Yulan has been denied medical parole despite suffering from a number of serious health problems, including an untreated thyroid tumor, her daughter has said. Yulan, who is a Christian, is serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for “causing a disturbance.”

Yulan began practicing law in 1986. She worked on a variety of rights-related cases, including a number relating to religious freedom. From 2001 onward, she specialized in housing rights. In 2002, she was beaten and tortured for more than 50 hours while in police detention. As a result, she has been left permanently disabled and is unable to walk without crutches.

After her release, Yulan continued to represent petitioners, despite having been disbarred, and was detained on several occasions between 2004 and 2008. On April 14, 2010, she was released but left homeless, living with her husband in a donated tent near Tiananmen Square. On April 7, 2011, Yulan and her husband were detained by police, and she was formally charged with "provoking trouble" in 2012.

In October, Yulan’s family and lawyer submitted an application for medical parole, which the authorities rejected in March. On a visit to Yulan in June this year, her daughter noticed that an untreated thyroid tumor detected in 2012 had swollen considerably.

In December 2011, Yulan was awarded the Dutch Government’s Tulip Award for Human Rights Defenders following her nomination by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and China Aid. Her daughter, who planned to attend the ceremony on her behalf, was stopped at the airport en route to Amsterdam and prevented from attending.

“CSW is deeply concerned at the Chinese authorities’ refusal to grant medical parole to Ni Yulan,” CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas says. “CSW believes that Ni has been detained for her defense of basic rights and that the charges brought against Ni are unjust. In light of her deteriorating condition, CSW calls on the Chinese government to grant her access to appropriate medical care. In addition, we urge the government to review her case without further delay.”

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