'They Had to Make Cuts'

The daughter of a prominent Beijing rights activist is laid off from her job amid fears of financial problems.

2012.06.22
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niyulan305.jpg Ni Yulan (C) and her husband Dong Jiqin (3L) pose with friends near the Forbidden City in Beijing, May 27, 2010.
AFP

The daughter of a jailed Beijing rights lawyer has lost her job following the sentencing of both her parents in April for "fraud" and public order offenses.

Dong Xuan, daughter of embattled activist Ni Yulan and her husband Dong Jiqin, said she had been given the news by her boss after arriving as usual for work on Monday.

"They said that there were too many people in our department, and that they had to make cuts," Dong said. "That was their excuse."

Dong said she was sure that the loss of her job was the direct result of political pressure on her employer after her parents' sentencing.

Police targeted Ni after she began organizing her neighbors in 2001 to save their homes that were slated for demolition ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Crippled after a savage police beating in 2002, the rights lawyer has been homeless since 2008, when the Xicheng district government evicted her and her husband from their home.

On April 10, 2012, Ni was sentenced to two-and-a-half years' imprisonment for "fraud," while Dong's father Dong Jiqin was sentenced to two years for "creating a disturbance."

Dong said she had seen two police vehicles parked outside her workplace last Friday, but had thought nothing of it at the time.

But on Monday, she was called into her manager's office and let go.

"Of course they're not going to say that it's because of the police or anything like that," Dong said. "I am an assistant, and I do the printing and scanning work."

"There isn't anybody else in the whole company who does the same job as me, so they definitely must have come under pressure," she said.

Blocked from work

Dong said friends had tried to find her a position on a magazine. The management there had initially agreed to hire her, but changed their minds at the last minute.

She said friends of hers who already worked there said that they, too, had come under pressure from the authorities.

"My friend told me they had been pressured by the police, but that [s/he] didn't dare to speak openly about this because [s/he] wanted to be able to find work in Beijing."

Dong said she had no idea how she would get by if the authorities were going to block her every attempt to find work.

"It has been 14 months since my parents were taken away; that's a long time, and of course I'm going to run into some financial difficulties," she said.

She said she had been told by her parents' lawyer that they were appealing their convictions.

Reported by Grace Kei Lai-see for RFA's Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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