A Brief Introduction to Ms. Cao Shunli, A Human Rights Defender

Human Rights Movement –

Cao Shunli, female, was born in Beijing in 1961 and died at the age of 53 years. She was graduated from the Peking University Law School obtaining a master’s degree in law. She had worked in the Chinese Ministry of Labor and Human Resource. She was socially excluded by the employer due to her defending of the right of housing, and was finally forcefully terminated her job and went to appeal for her right. During the petition process, Cao Shunli learned about the serious and harsh reality of human rights violations and the hopelessness and helplessness of the petitioners, and began to pay attention to the human rights situation of petitioners, and then provided legal advice to many petitioners and eventually became a firm human rights defender.

Beginning in 2006, Cao Shunli focused on defending the right of life and personal freedom of the petitioners groups, launched the “Beijing Rights Protection Tour” activities, led the petitioners protesting demonstrations to the National Press Office, urged the Information Office to give petitioners the right to petition legally.

In March 2009, she went to Peking University to protest against Professor Sun Dongdong on his remarks of “99% of elderly petitioners have mental illness” , and proposed “Human Rights Campaign” based on the “National Human Rights Action Plan”.

As she actively engaged in rights defending activities, Cao Shunli was continuously suppressed by the authorities. She had not only lost her job, but had also been often under house arrest. Hse had been  monitored, detained many times and had been sent to labor camp twice. Since April 10, 2009, Cao Shunli was sent to reeducation through labor for one year because of “Crimes of Destruction of Property”. On April 29, 2010, she was detained for 10 days by the local police station for the destruction of the conference-room glass. After that she was re-educated for one year and three months under the crime name of  “Destruction of Property”.

Cao Shunli kept fighting in the front line of human rights protection after she was released to freedom in 2011. She continued to urge the petitioners to fill in the questionnaire on human rights status and started to apply for information disclosure to the State Council on the National Human Rights Action Plan. She also submitted application to the relevant units of the State Council on the participation in the drafting of Human Rights Action Plans.

In June 2012, Cao Shunli and other human rights activists submitted application to the State Council on “Disclosure of the Rationale and Justifications to Refuse the Petitioners and Rights Defenders Groups to Participate in the ‘National Human Rights Action Plan’, Disclosure of the Catalog of the Documents, Investigation Reports and Self-evaluation Reports the Joint Members of the Document and Invited Experts and Scholars Have Submitted to the Two Joint Meetings and Assessment Meeting” and other relevant information. In October, Cao Shunli and other petitioners from different area visited the Information Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs , and requested them to disclose the relevant  information the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had presented on China Human Rights Reports during the United Nations Conference in October, 2013. They also requested to participate in the drafting and writing of Human Rights Reports. Thereafter, Cao Shunli and several other petitioners had been continuously custodied, kidnapped, summoned by the police.

Receiving no approval at all for dozens of applications, Cao Shunli and other activists around the country went  to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct a sit-in petition in June 2013.  After 14 days they were cleared by the Beijing Public Security Corps. But Cao Shunli and other rights activists continued their sit-in protesting in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a whole summer.

On September 14, 2013, Cao Shunli was prevented in Beijing Capital Airport when she was trying to fly to Geneva to participate an international human rights defending training and was taken away by the Custom Security of the Airport. Not until almost a month after she had disappeared, the outside world got to be informed that she was detained on the day of September 14 in Chaoyang District Detention Center in Beijing under the suspicion of “Crime of Illegal Assembly”. On October 21, Cao Shunli was criminally arrested under the suspicion of  “Disorderly Behavior”.

Cao Shunli had been finally imprisoned for six months. She died on March 14, 2014 due to her serious illness which had not been treated timely and effectively resulting a final ineffective medical rescue.

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