(Minghui.org) When an injured Ms. Zhang Wenqing returned home after serving four years in prison for her faith in Falun Gong, she was devastated to learn that her father had passed away a year before and that her 27 years of service had been cleared by her employer, resulting in no pension benefits.
Ms. Zhang, from Fushun City, Liaoning Province, became a music teacher at the Fushun No.50 Middle School in 1989 when she was 20. She was beloved by her students and won many awards.
In 1993, she suffered from postpartum depression. She lost interest in life and almost committed suicide. A student’s parent told her about Falun Gong and that led to her recovery. After reading Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, she decided to take up cultivation and gained a new outlook on life.
After the Chinese communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999 due to its immense popularity, Ms. Zhang refused to give up her faith and has been subjected to persecution ever since.
In a documented arrest on September 8, 2015, she was dragged down the stairs by the police. The skin on her left ankle was rubbed off and her wrists and buttocks bruised.
She was arrested again two months later on November 10. The police interrogated her until 5 p.m. and then gave her 15 days in the Fushun City Detention Center.
Ms. Zhang’s latest arrest was on June 7, 2016, after she was reported for talking to people and giving out materials about Falun Gong at a bus station. The police ransacked her home when no one was around and confiscated her computer, printer, DVDs, and 500 yuan worth of banknotes that had information about Falun Gong printed on them. (Due to strict information censorship, Falun Gong practitioners use creative ways to raise awareness about the persecution, including printing messages on banknotes.)
Ms. Zhang was taken to the Nangou Detention Center at around 11 p.m. Her parents visited her the next day and on June 12. A guard told them during their second visit that Ms. Zhang was scheduled to be released on June 22. However, only hours after they returned home, the police informed them that Ms. Zhang had been transferred to another detention facility. She was denied family visits from then on and was facing prison time. Her parents went around to inquire about her case but were stonewalled.
Peng Yue, the Domestic Security Officer director, attempted to extort 20,000 yuan from Ms. Zhang’s parents in exchange for a lighter prison term. But they didn’t comply.
Ms. Zhang was indicted by the Shuncheng District Procuratorate on December 6, 2016, and later sentenced to four years and fined 3,000 yuan by the Shuncheng District Court. She appealed the verdict on February 10, 2017, but the Fushun City Intermediate Court turned her down.
She suffered unspeakable torture in Liaoning Province Women’s Prison. For a long time, Ms. Zhang was forced to stand barefoot on porcelain tiles, sit on a small stool without moving, or squat from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and sometimes into the evening. Every day she was subjected to constant beatings, personal attacks, verbal abuse, and humiliation.
The prison arranged two inmates to monitor Ms. Zhang around the clock. They often would not let her use the restroom or shower in the summer. She was also denied family visits or daily necessities, including toilet paper and sanitary napkins. When the prison gave out extra food and fruit at the Chinese New Year, the inmates took Ms. Zhang’s share.
While Ms. Zhang was in prison, the school demanded that her father, in his 80’s, return the 13,000 yuan salary given to her after her arrest. Fearing that the school would retaliate, the elderly man returned the money.
By the time she was released on June 6, 2020, she was disabled. Then she discovered that her employer had reduced her years of service to zero, leaving a zero balance in her pension account.
She went to the school officials and asked why her 27 years of service (she started working 31 years ago, in 1989, minus the four years she spent in prison.) She said no one had the right to wipe out the years of service she accrued before she was incarcerated for doing nothing wrong by upholding her faith.
The school officials scolded her and said they’d all been implicated and punished after she was sentenced for practicing Falun Gong. They refused to talk to her and drove her out of the school.
When Ms. Zhang returned to the school again, security wouldn’t allow her in, citing an order from the school’s leadership.
The school later officially fired Ms. Zhang.
Because Ms. Zhang was denied family visits during her prison term, her father often wrote to her and encouraged her to stay strong. But one year before her term ended, her father passed away. Now the mother, who is in her 80’s, and daughter are facing tremendous financial difficulty after Ms. Zhang was stripped of her pension.
In the persecution of Falun Gong, financial devastation has affected the livelihoods of many practitioners. Of note are two other practitioners also had their years of service erased by their employers.
Ms. Yang Taiying, in her 50s, is a former clerk at the Naxi Agriculture Machinery Bureau in Luzhou City, Sichuan Province. She had her 30 years of service deducted from her pension plan after she was sentenced to four years for her faith in 2014.
Another Beijing resident, Mr. Wang Shuxiang, who used to work for the Bureau of Urban Utilities and Landscaping, had 27 years of service liquidated.