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Chinese activist disabled by prison abuse sentenced again

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An undated photo shows Chinese activist and rights lawyer Ni Yulan at her home in Beijing in 2002. On Tuesday, a Beijing court sentenced her and her husband Dong Jiqin to two years eight months and two years, respectively. They were detained a year ago in a crackdown on activists, and charged with fraud and "causing trouble" at a hotel where they were held.


A Chinese lawyer and activist who battled on behalf of residents who were losing their homes to construction for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison by a Beijing court on Tuesday, reportedly on charges of fraud and causing a disturbance, Reuters reported.

Ni Yulan 51, was tried with her husband Dong Jiqin. Both were both arrested in April 2011. Dong was sentenced to two years in jail.

Ni’s daughter Dong Xuan said Ni attended her court appearance lying on a bed with an oxygen supply, according to a report in the Global Post. Ni is confined to a wheel chair and suffers other health problems that she says were caused by torture at the hands of police during two previous jail terms.

Ni had been an outspoken advocate for citizens forced to leave their homes to make way for development and provided what she argued was grossly inadequate compensation for the sacrifice. She lost her own home this way, so she camped in a tent in a public park for a time, The Global Post reported.

Ni and Dong were arrested in April 2011 in a government crackdown apparently aimed at averting an Arab Spring-like uprising in China.

Tuesday's sentences are another signal that the Communist party remains wary of the country's nascent civil rights movement.

In December Chen Xi, a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, was sentenced by a Guizhou court to 10 years for "subversion" for his persistent calls for human rights, and highlighting growing inequity in Chinese society.

Writer Chen Wei, was sentenced in December to nine years for a series of articles he published on the Internet between 2009 and 2011 calling for greater freedom of expression in China and reform of the one-party Communist system.

Upon sentencing Chen, 42, stood up in court and shouted: "Democracy and constitutional government will triumph! The dictatorship with fall!" Radio Free Asia reported.  

 The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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