By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– A Chinese Christian has been released after completing a two-and-a-half year sentence on charges linked to her human rights work, but concerns remain over an illness left untreated during her imprisonment, Christian activists confirmed Wednesday, October 9.
Ni Yulan, an activist and lawyer was detained 2011 and eventually sentenced in 2012 to two years and eight months in prison for “fraud” and “creating a disturbance”. The fraud conviction was later dropped and her sentence was reduced by two months, trial observers said. Her husband was sentenced to two years.
Before she was disbarred as a lawyer, Ni worked on several rights-related cases, including a number relating to religious freedom.
From 2001 she specialized in housing rights, defending victims of forced eviction.
In 2002 she had her first violent encounter with security forces as she was “beaten and tortured for more than 50 hours while in police detention,” said Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) an advocacy group assisting her.
As a result, the woman was left permanently disabled, unable to walk
without crutches, Christians said.
Yet, Ni continued to represent petitioners, and was detained on several occasions between 2004 and 2008. In April 2010, Ni was released but left homeless, living with her husband in a donated tent near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
In 2012, Ni Yulan was awarded the Dutch Government’s Human Rights Defenders Tulip Prize after being nominated by rights groups CSW and China Aid Association (CAA).
Her daughter, who planned to attend the ceremony on her behalf, was stopped at the airport en route to Amsterdam and prevented from attending.
In July 2013, CSW reported that an application for medical parole submitted by Ni’s family and lawyer had been rejected. A tumor detected in 2012 appears to have gone untreated, leaving Ni in poor health upon her release
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas told BosNewsLife that his group
welcomes the release of activist Ni Yulan, who “has suffered beatings, torture and imprisonment as a result of her peaceful defense of human rights in China.”
He said his group has urged authorities to allow Ni and her family “to live in peace, without any further harassment, intimidation or restriction.”
We further call on the Chinese authorities to immediately begin an investigation into “the possible use torture and ill-treatment during Ni’s previous periods of detention”.
There was no immediate reaction from Chinese officials. The Communist government has been under pressure to release Christian prisoners and dissidents with the West saying economic reforms should be accompanied by human rights,
Chinese government has denied wrongdoing, saying people are free to worship or express ideas within the law of this vastly developing Asian nation.