Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province: Over 30 Falun Gong Practitioners Have Had Their Pension Suspended After Being Convicted for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) With the rapidly aging population and embezzlement of retirement funds by corrupted officials, the social security offices in China are facing huge challenges in fulfilling their pension obligations.
One way that the Chinese Communist Party has been using to tackle the under-funding issue is to deprive the pension benefits of retirees who have served and are serving time in prison. With the persecution of Falun Gong still going on, Falun Gong practitioners who were imprisoned for upholding their faith are being further victimized and having their hard-earned pension benefits deprived.
According to available information collected by Minghui.org, more than 30 Falun Gong practitioners in Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, have had their pension withheld since December 2016, either because of the prison term they have served or they are currently serving. For those practitioners who hadn’t reached the retirement age while serving time, their workplace would reduce their years of service by the length of their prison term and recalculate their pension after they were released.
In addition, some practitioners were denied access to their pension as the police refused to issue them IDs. Some have retired years ago, but the authorities never processed their pension application. And some practitioners were fired by their workplace because of the persecution and weren’t entitled to pension anymore.
Since 2020, the Jinzhou Social Security Office started to suspend the pension of all practitioners who have been sentenced, no matter whether they had received pension during their prison terms. Some officers revealed that it was the police and Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency tasked with overseeing the persecution, that ordered them to suspend the practitioners’ pension.
One officer said to a practitioner, “You can forget about getting a pension from us if you have been sentenced.”
Some practitioners were also ordered to pay back the pension they had received during their imprisonment and were threatened with arrests if they refused to do so.
Ms. Ren Guixia’s pension has been suspended since late 2016. The financial persecution took a toll on her health. She suffered a heart attack and died in February 2017, at the age of 57.
Ms. Wei Xiuying filed a lawsuit against the social security office after her pension was suspended in December 2016. In August 2018, the Linghai City Court ruled the case in Ms. Wei’s favor and ordered the social security office to make full payment to her within ten days of the ruling. The social security office objected to the decision and appealed to the Jinzhou City Intermediate Court.
Although the social security office dropped their appeal in March 2019, they still refused to return the pension to Ms. Wei. Rather, they harassed her and demanded that she return the pension she had received during her prison term.
Ms. Bai Mingfang’s pension was suspended after she finished a seven-year term in September 2019. She filed a lawsuit against the social security office, but the Songshan Court ruled the case against her. She is appealing the decision now.
Ms. Wu Xiulan, a 75-year-old environment protection scientist, was sentenced to two years in September 2015. Shortly after she was released, the authorities suspended her pension, ordering her to pay back the fund she had received during her term. But two years later, even after she had cleared her “debt,” the social security office still hasn’t re-initiated her new pension payment. She frequented the social security officer to seek justice for herself, but to no avail.