Ni Yulan has braved years of violent harassment for standing up for those evicted from their homes. The former lawyer has supported scores of people forced from their homes by lucrative construction projects. She was among thousands whose dwellings were demolished in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The government’s response to her activism has been to harass her and her family, hoping to put an end to her work. They have repeatedly arrested her and, during detention, beat her so badly that she now uses a wheelchair. They have pursued her for nearly 20 years, putting her and her family under surveillance, threatening them, and evicting them from home after home.
In March 2016, the authorities refused her a passport to travel to the USA to accept an international prize celebrating her courage. In April 2017, men descended on her rented apartment, grabbed Ni Yulan, her husband and daughter, and threw them out of their home.
After being forced to sleep on the streets, the couple now live in temporary housing within constant sight of the police. Still, Ni Yulan has no plans to stop helping people stand up for their rights. It’s our turn to stand up for her.