(Minghui.org) Five months after the social security bureau in Maoming City, Guangdong Province suspended Ms. Tao Yonghong’s pension over her wrongful prison sentence for practicing Falun Gong, the authorities have reinstated 80% of her monthly benefits, after her persistent efforts to seek justice.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Tao was previously arrested on June 9, 2011, for distributing Falun Gong materials. She was sentenced to three years in Guangdong Province Women’s Prison.
On December 28, 2021, nearly eight years after she was released, an official surnamed Huang from the Maoming Social Security Bureau called her and ordered her to return the over 50,000 yuan pension she received during her prison term, as well as the 52,000 yuan annual benefit increases since the end of her term.
Huang cited a notice issued by the General Office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security on March 8, 2001, that no retirees serving time should receive their pension or other benefits. She threatened to suspend Ms. Tao’s pension if she didn’t pay back the required amount.
Ms. Tao said that the pension is her personal, private asset and that the pension system reform that her employer entrusted the social security bureau to manage and distribute the funds had no power to arbitrarily deduct or suspend pension payments.
Ms. Tao filed several complaints with the Maoming Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and the Maoming Municipal Government, but none of the agencies was willing to take up her case.
On January 28, 2022, after Ms. Tao didn’t receive the scheduled pension payment for February, she hired a lawyer to seek justice for her.
After reviewing Ms. Tao’s case documents, the lawyer said that the Maoming Social Security Bureau’s action violated the Constitution, the Legislation Law, the Labor Law, and the Social Insurance Law. He added that the notice cited by the bureau didn’t have any legal binding power and should not have been used to justify pension suspension.
Since March 25, Ms. Tao contacted the Maoming Municipal Appeals Office, Maoming Municipal People’s Insurance Bureau, and the Justice Bureau, seeking their intervention in her suspended pension, but to no avail either.
Between April 29 and May, Ms. Tao visited the Maoming Social Security Bureau several times and clarified the facts about Falun Gong to the staff members. Some changed their attitude towards her afterward.
Ms. Tao also filed a complaint against the bureau with judge Jiang Jiwen of the Maonan District Court on June 21. He said she should try to resolve the issue with the bureau herself.
On June 23, Ms. Tao received another call from Zhu Guanlong, the official in charge of the pension payments at the social security bureau, urging her to pay back the required fund. Ms. Tao visited Zhu in his office on June 27 and said to him that the pension is her own property and not something given by the bureau or the government. She added that it’s earned by her decades of hard work and that it’s illegal for the bureau to suspend her pension or require her to pay back anything. She urged Zhu not to assist the communist regime in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners, as all the perpetrators would be brought to justice one day.
With Ms. Tao’s persistent efforts, the social security bureau reinstated 80% of her pension payments in July, at 2,633.96 yuan per month, and also issued back pay between February and June. In total, she received 15,803.76 yuan (=2,633.96*6 months) as of July 12.
Yang Guoyong (杨国勇), director of Maoming City Social Security OfficeDu Wei (杜伟), deputy director of Maoming City Social Security Office: +86-13889905369Huang Chunyan (黄春妍), staff member of Maoming City Social Security Office: +86-668-3392708
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)