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A Chinese human rights lawyer has been given the 2011 Human Rights Defenders Tulip award from the Dutch government. She is being recognized for years of fighting the forced demolition of people's homes while enduring multiple arrests and torture that left her permanently disabled.
On Thursday, the Dutch government announced that the recipient of the 2011 Human Rights Defenders Tulip award is Chinese human rights lawyer Ni Yulan.
The award is normally presented on December 10, which is International Human Rights Day. However, the announcement was delayed since Ni had been detained and was awaiting trial, and her family feared for her safety.
Ni has been arrested and tortured several times for helping Chinese citizens fight forced evictions and the demolitions of their homes. She was banned from practicing law, and tortured while detained... leaving her permanently disabled. She now requires the use of crutches or a wheelchair to get around.
[Ni Yulan, Human Rights Lawyer]:
"I started out with human rights defense in 2001. After the successful bid for the Olympic Games, many things started to happen. These incidents started getting worse. The number of violent evictions also rose at that time."
Ni and her husband became homeless after her release from prison in April 2010. They were visited by several foreign diplomats who were concerned about her safety, including Jon Huntsman, while he was the US Ambassador to China.
The Human Rights Defenders Tulip award began in 2008. The award's website states that it is given to a person "who has shown exceptional courage defending and promoting the rights of their fellow citizens." The winner is selected by an independent jury.