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Shanghai Petitioner Li Yufang Convicted, Sentenced to One Year

July 14, 2014

Shanghai petitioner Li Yufang (李玉芳), who had petitioned for more than a decade for compensation for the forced requisition of her family home, was found guilty of “obstructing official business.” Li was tried at the Yangpu District People's Court in Shanghai on July 4, 2014, and received a sentence of one year.

Li was first detained on December 19, 2013, by the Yangpu District branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, following an incident with the police outside of the Yangpu District government office. According to Li's husband, Chen Ruiming (陈瑞明), the police took Li into custody after she pulled on a police officer's clothing in an attempt to retrieve a steel bowl the officer took from her. She was striking the bowl outside the government offices to petition for help in applying for welfare.  She was officially arrested on January 2, 2014.

The officer claimed that he sustained an injury from Li’s grabbing of his clothes. But Li contended in court that her action could not have resulted in such an injury.

Chen said the verdict is a reprisal against Li's ongoing petitioning over the years on behalf of not only herself but also other Shanghai petitioners. Chen told HRIC that court security personnel had promised to let him and his daughter meet Li after the verdict announcement. Upon hearing the verdict, Li shouted: “I am innocent, down with corruption, down with the Yangpu district court.” Li was promptly taken away and subsequently not allowed to meet her husband and young daughter.