An outspoken advocate for sex workers reopened her office Tuesday after it was trashed by eight men who punched and threatened her life last week.
Ye Haiyan, 37, is the founder of Chinese Women's Rights Workshops, an NGO that promotes sex workers' rights and helps raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Ye, who goes by the Internet alias "liumangyan," has long been a controversial figure speaking on behalf of sex workers.
Her office in Bobai county, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was ransacked by eight unidentified men twice last week. Ye said she will never give up fighting for her cause.
"One of the men was carrying a 40-centimeter-long knife. Ye was cornered and a man wearing a cap punched her twice in the face, slapped her, and kicked her," said Wen Dao, a 22-year-old college student who was visiting Ye's office at the time of the attack.
"They didn't say why they were attacking. They also threatened to shut the office down for good," Wen told the Global Times.
Ye said the men did not look like gang members and she suspects that local authorities might have had a role in the attack.
"They have never liked the way I speak online and criticize them, and they might be embarrassed because I am able to focus people's attention on the plight of sex workers."
Ye has for years spoken and written about the poor conditions facing sex workers in rural areas and has called for the legalization of prostitution and a reduction in the fines that are often imposed on them.
Earlier this year, she was also threatened over the phone and told to shut her office.
The NGO's office in Wuhan, Hubei Province, was also closed Tuesday after the building landlord had a change of heart and reneged on their rental agreement.
"The landlord in Wuhan suddenly changed his mind and kicked our volunteers out," Ye told the Global Times Tuesday. The NGO's Wuhan office first opened in 2006, but was forced to close in 2010.
Earlier this year she personally offered free sex to four migrant workers to better understand what it is likely to be a sex worker in a rural area.
She wrote about the experience on her Weibo.
While some Web users expressed admiration and support for her work, many were critical calling her "immoral."
"My only purpose is to draw attention to the need to protect sex workers' rights," Ye told the Global Times. "I don't care about those personal attacks."
"Since prostitution is still against Chinese law, openly posting such information might also be problematic," Chi Susheng, a criminal lawyer from Heilongjiang Province and a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), told the Global Times.
"We do need a different way to regulate sex workers," said Chi, who has proposed to the NPC that the criminal law governing prostitution be revised.