Cao Shunli

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Cao Shunli simplified Chinese: 曹顺利; traditional Chinese: 曹順利 (1964 – 14 March 2014)[1] was a Chinese lawyer and human rights activist.

Early life[edit]

Born in Beijing, during the Cultural Revolution (1966–71) she was forcibly deported along with her family to their ancestral home in Zhaoyuan, Shandong Province as a result of her grandfather being a member of the "enemy classes" according to Communist Party of China doctrine of the time.[2] After attending Beijing College of Political Science and a period of post-graduate study she was assigned to work at the research centre of the Ministry of Labor and Human being Resources.

Political activism[edit]

During the 2002 housing reforms, Cao reported corruption amongst her supervisors and lost her job.[2] Thereafter she became a human rights activist and subsequently served at least two terms in prison camps as a result of her activities.[3]

Arrest and death[edit]

Cao was detained in September 2013 following a two-month sit in at the Foreign Affairs Ministry as part of a group demanding a national human rights review.[4] Cao died in a Chinese military hospital on 14 March 2014 with her body showing "signs of her mistreatment during approximately five and half months in detention".[5]


  1. ^ "Cao Shunli". Human rights in China. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Cao, Yaxue (18 March 2014). "The Life and Death of Cao Shunli (1961 — 2014)". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "US 'disturbed' by death of Chinese activist Cao Shunli". BBC News. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Kaiman, Jonathan (14 March 2014). "Chinese activist Cao Shunli dies after being denied medical help, says website". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Cao Shunli's death a huge blow to human rights movement in China". Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. 17 March 2014. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.