Beijing Court Rejects Complaints From 'Woman of Courage' Eviction Lawyer

Ni Yulan and her husband say they are continually being targeted for covert forms of police harassment, including serial evictions on various pretexts.

Beijing eviction activist Ni Yulan in a self-supplied undated file photo.

Authorities in the Chinese capital have rejected a lawsuit filed by housing rights lawyer Ni Yulan against the Beijing police department.

Wheelchair-bound Ni, 54, had filed the complaint after being repeatedly evicted along with husband Dong Jiqin from a series of rented apartments after police put pressure on their landlords.

Ni, a recipient of the 2016 International Women of Courage award made by the U.S. Congress, said she and Dong were recently left sleeping rough after being forced out of their last apartment during enforced "renovation work" that left it smelling strongly of chemicals.

They are currently staying in a guesthouse.

"We have filed two separate lawsuits," Ni told RFA on Friday. "One is the police for their failure to respond, and the other is against an intermediary for a realtor for serious fraud."

"Whenever we try to rent a place to live, the police start manipulating things behind the scenes," she said. "They have also sent a random woman to our home to harass us repeatedly ... to tell us we can't stay there and to cut off our water and electricity."-

According to Ni's lawsuit, the police failed to respond when contacted by Ni on the emergency number on April 12, when their home was invaded by unidentified men.

"These people started grabbing everything in our home ... so I called 110, and went to the police station to make a statement," she said. "But they never got back to me about it."

"On April 14, they came to our home again and demolished our doors and windows, but the police turned a blind eye."

Frequent harassment by authorities

Dong later wrote to Beijing mayor Cai Qi, requesting permission to stay in an emergency shelter for the homeless, but received no reply.

An additional complaint filed by Dong at the local court involved a fake "intermediary" who took the money for a "deposit" on a new apartment that never materialized.

"Yesterday I filed another lawsuit against the intermediary, but they refused to accept it," Dong told RFA. "This was the intermediary who cheated us."

"The court said that they would have to wait until their boss had looked into it."

Right activists and peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, including the family members of lawyers detained in a July 2015 crackdown on human rights lawyers, frequently report being threatened with eviction, loss of heating, water and electricity or the termination of rental contracts by landlords faced with police pressure.

Outspoken Beijing poet and performance artist Wang Zang and feminist activist "Hooligan Sparrow" have both reported similar forms of official retaliation against themselves and their families since the beginning of this year.

Ni's passport application was revoked in February when she applied to travel to the U.S. to receive her 2016 International Women of Courage award.

The foreign ministry had declined to issue her with travel documents in spite of requests from the U.S. State Department, saying that she had been in contact with rights lawyers detained in the July 2015 crackdown.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.