(Minghui.org) A Xiangyang City, Hubei Province resident in her 70s has had her pension suspended since October 2020. The authorities are demanding that Ms. Chen Xiurong return the retirement funds she had received while serving a four-year prison term between 2015 and 2018 for her faith in Falun Gong before they could reinstate her pension.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Chen was arrested on April 24, 2015. The police opened her door when she wasn’t home and changed her door lock. She was sentenced to four years in prison by the Fancheng District Court on October 9, 2015.

After Ms. Chen was released on November 23, 2018, the police and residential committee staff members kept harassing her at home.

When Ms. Chen went to renew her pension paperwork in December 2020, she was surprised to find that her pension has already been suspended since October that year; she was never notified.

In the past six months, she frequented the local appeals office, her previous workplace, and the local social security office to explain that the persecution of Falun Gong and the suspension of her pension had no legal basis. The authorities said that according to a new policy, Falun Gong practitioners serving time for their faith aren’t entitled to any pension payments. They said that she must submit a copy of her prison sentence verdict and certificate of prison release to verify her imprisonment, and then pay back the funds she had received during the four-year incarceration. After her “debt” is cleared, they would then resume her pension.

Ms. Chen took up Falun Gong in 1997, and she credits the practice for curing her severe congenital lung and heart condition. With the onset of the persecution two years later, Ms. Chen went to Beijing twice, in November 1999 and June 2000, to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong. She was arrested both times.

After she was taken back to Xiangyang, she was fined by the police and had her salary suspended. Her workplace once held her in a brainwashing center for months and closely monitored her.

When Ms. Chen retired in 2003, her husband, who worked for the government, divorced her in order to keep his own job. He took all of the family’s savings, leaving Ms. Chen with only her 800-yuan monthly pension to get by.

As Ms. Chen was on the government’s blacklist, her son didn’t pass the political background check when he applied to join the military. He later moved to a southern city to work, only to be victimized in a scam and incur a large debt as a result.

Related report:

Brother and Sister Arrested in Xiangyang City

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution