80-Year-Old Retiree Instructor's Pension Reinstated After Appeal
(Minghui.org) An elderly Falun Gong practitioner was imprisoned without cause in 2000 when the persecution of Falun Gong began. An institute in Sichuan Province then unlawfully suspended her pension without notice.
She knew that the financial contract between the retiree and the social security fund still holds even if the retiree is in prison. She appealed to have the suspended pension reimbursed. The institute withheld her pension for 18 years.
Ms. Liu Xiuwen, 80, is a retired instructor at the Chengdu City Institute of Electronic Technology. She has practiced Falun Gong since 1996 and was cured of several diseases: gallstones, rheumatoid arthritis, and low blood pressure.
No law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. Having benefited from the practice, Ms. Liu went twice to Tiananmen Square in 2000 to petition the central government after it began to persecute Falun Gong. She was arrested and detained.
Arrest and Detention
When Ms. Liu was taken from the Tiananmen Square Police Station to the liaison office in Beijing, she was stuffed with others in a crowded truck and forced to curl up, which made it difficult for her to breathe.
Once Ms. Liu returned home from Beijing, Officer Zhao from the institute's 610 Office informed her that, from then on, she would be given only 250 yuan per month in a pension that was previously 2000 yuan.
In July 2001, the 610 Office and Jianguolu Police Station tried to arrest Ms. Liu. When six officers approached her house, she quickly locked the door and refused to open it. Three hours later, she saw the officers were eating watermelon and took the opportunity to escape.
To avoid further persecution, she became homeless for the next eight and a half years.
Ms. Liu was arrested and sent to a brainwashing center on February 24, 2010. There, she was detained for 19 months. Despite the tremendous pressure and brutal maltreatment, she refused to cooperate with her interrogators.
Difficulties in Obtaining Pension
From July 2001 to August 2011, Ms. Liu's pension was withheld while she was homeless and in the brainwashing center. She looked for the institute's staff after her release to explain to them the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution.
In September 2011, her pension resumed, and she was given 1,400 yuan per month, though most of her pension was still withheld.
Ms. Liu continued to look for the officers in charge to request her complete pension allowance. In October 2012, her pension allowance increased to 1,800 yuan per month. For a six-month period, she was given 2,000 yuan per month.
Ms. Liu encountered difficulties and was given the runaround while seeking the reinstatement of her pension.
When she met the director and secretary of the retirement department and the head of the institute, they told her to look for the security department. However, the directors at the security department informed her that they were not in charge and told her to go to the 610 Office.
Ms. Liu found Officer He, the person in charge at the 610 Office. She submitted several letters, some of which were returned. Her pension request was also rejected.
When Ms. Liu asked Officer He why her pension request was not resolved, He told Ms. Liu that it was her own fault because she practices Falun Gong. If she did not practice, all of her pension would have been returned to her. Ms. Liu then told him how she benefited from the practice.
In December 2016, her pension was increased to 3,000 yuan after multiple requests, although some was still withheld. Ms. Liu wrote a letter to all the institute's leaders in early May 2018 and gave three copies to a staff member on duty, who was to pass them to the directors of the security department and Officer He.
Next, she went to the director and secretary of the retirement department and explained the facts about Falun Gong and the persecution. The secretary demanded that she remove the content about Falun Gong in her letter.
Ms. Liu also went to the finance department.
One morning, Ms. Liu went to look for the head of the institute but was turned away as she did not make an appointment. When she insisted on waiting, one officer gave her his name and contact number and told her that he would inform the president. She then gave him letters to read, which informed the school of her intention to expose their wrongdoings to the public and government agencies if it was not resolved.
After reading it, one officer suggested that Ms. Liu look for the inspection team at the Central Commission for Discipline.
On May 17, 2018, Ms. Liu went to the inspection team and tried to tell them about Falun Gong.
Two days later, on May 19, Officer He called Ms. Liu's son to ask for a meeting on her pension. She was not at home at the time of the call.
The next day, Officer He and a police officer from the Jianguolu Police Station went to Ms. Liu's house. Officer He informed her that her entire pension allowance would be given to her.
Below is a summary of the amounts disbursed from Ms. Liu’s 3,000 yuan monthly pension:
March 2000 to July 2001: 250 yuan per month;August 2001to 2011: none;September 2011 to 2012: 1,400 yuan per month;October 2012 to December 2016: 1800 yuan per month;Six months during this period: 2,000 yuan per month;December 2016 to the present: 3,000 yuan per month (full pension)
Ms. Liu's Letter
For 18 years, the institute has never informed me of the reason that my pension was suspended, nor did the institute go through proper procedures for their action.
If I had broken any rules and the pension had to be suspended for a long time, there had to be a reason and I should have been informed. However, the institute didn't do this. My pension was withheld arbitrarily. This action is illegal.
The constitution gives citizens the right to enjoy retirement benefits when they reach retirement age. It is illegal for any organization to deprive a citizen of the right to their pension.
Article 44 of the Constitution states: “The state applies the system of retirement for workers and staff of enterprises and institutions and for functionaries of organs of state according to law. The livelihood of retired personnel is ensured by the state and society.”
Article 2 in Chapter 1 of China’s Social Insurance Law states: “The State shall establish a social insurance system consisting of a basic old-age insurance, basic medical insurance, work injury insurance, unemployment insurance, and maternity insurance to guarantee citizens’ rights to receive material assistance from the State and society according to law upon old age, sickness, work injury, unemployment, or pregnancy.”
Article 73 of China's Labor Law states: “According to the law, workers will enjoy social insurance benefits when they retire. The conditions and standards for workers to enjoy social insurance benefits are regulated by laws and regulations. The social insurance premiums enjoyed by workers must be paid in full and on time.”
Article 20 in Chapter 3 of the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly says: “The State establishes an old-age insurance system to ensure the basic needs in the life of the elderly.”
I am a legal citizen of China, and my pension is legitimate income that is protected by the law. It is illegal for any organization or person to arbitrarily withhold my pension and cut off my source of income.
After my pension was withheld, my life became extremely difficult, especially between August 2001 and 2011. I had to borrow money from relatives and friends and subsisted on a small pot of porridge and pickles every day.
Liu XiuwenMay 8, 2018