Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (11 April) in response to the sentencing of Chinese human rights activist Ni Yulan and her husband, Dong Jiqin:
I am extremely concerned at the prison sentences which were handed down yesterday to Chinese civil rights activist Ni Yulan and her husband, Dong Jiqin. The two had campaigned against the seizure of property by the Chinese authorities. For China to progress towards greater rule of law, it needs courageous citizens who speak out against injustice and actively oppose the arbitrary use of authority.
I ask the Chinese authorities to release Ms Ni Yulan, whom extreme abuse has left severely disabled, as well as her husband, not least for humanitarian reasons.
In Beijing on 10 April, wheelchair-bound Chinese human rights activist Ni Yulan was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and a fine of RMB 1000 (approx. EUR 120) for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Dong Jiqin, her husband, was sentenced to two years in jail.
Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin were arrested in April 2011. They have been working to combat forced evictions for a number of years, partly in connection with the 2008 Olympics.