(Minghui.org) During the past few years, the authorities in Beijing have suspended the pension benefits of some Falun Gong practitioners who were imprisoned for their faith. These practitioners were ordered to return the pension funds issued to them during their prison terms.
Below are four select cases in Pinggu District, Beijing.
Ms. Zhang Shuxiang
Ms. Zhang Shuxiang was arrested on June 21, 2017 for talking to people about Falun Gong. She was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 6,000 yuan by the Pinggu District Court on November 26, 2017.
After two years of torture in the Beijing Women’s Prison, she was taken back home on April 3, 2019 in an ambulance, and has since remained bedridden. The police and staff members from local justice bureau have repeatedly come to harass her. Her pension was also suspended.
Fearful of the persecution, Ms. Zhang’s family no longer let her practice Falun Gong. When local practitioners came to visit her, her family turned them away.
Although her family let Ms. Zhang start doing the Falun Gong exercises again in 2020, and her health improved some, she took a fall, broke her hip, and became bedridden again. Devastated at not being able to practice her faith, Ms. Zhang passed away on March 30, 2021, from complications of diabetes. She was 73 years old.
Ms. Zhang Aiping and Mr. Wang Zicheng
Ms. Zhang Aiping and her husband Mr. Wang Zicheng were arrested on October 29, 2013, while distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. Mr. Wang was sentenced to 5.5 years and Ms. Zhang to 4.5 years in prison in August 2014.
Only a year after Mr. Wang was released, he was arrested again on June 8, 2020 and sentenced to another 5.5 years with 10,000 yuan fine.
While he is still serving time, the authorities kept harassing Ms. Zhang, ordering her to return the 140,000 yuan pension she had received during her prison term between 2014 and 2018. The authorities also canceled the increase of her pension during that four years, bringing her now 3,000 yuan monthly payment down to 2,000 yuan.
Mr. Wang was fired by the hotel he worked at in 2000, and his family led a destitute life and often relied on support from their relatives.
Unable to afford to pay back the pension benefits fund, yet fearful of further persecution, Ms. Zhang borrowed 40,000 yuan from her family as an initial payment to the police. The police didn’t provide a receipt, but gave her deadlines to finish paying the funds in three more installments.
Ms. Liu Cuifen
Ms. Liu Cuifen stood trial at the Pinggu District Court on July 20, 2016. She was sentenced to two years and fined 4,000 yuan. She appealed to the Beijing No. 3 Intermediate Court, which ruled to uphold the original verdict.
After she was released, the local police ordered her to pay back 80,000 yuan she had received during her term, but she could not afford to do so. A relative of hers who worked in the village committee, paid the funds for her, fearing being implicated in the persecution himself. He said he considered it as lending the money to her.
Ms. Li Xiaofeng
Ms. Li Xiaofeng, a barber, was arrested on November 18, 2016, after being reported by a customer for talking to him about Falun Gong. A dozen officers arrested her and confiscated her Falun Gong books and other personal belongings from her salon.
The Pinggu District Court held a secret hearing on March 14, 2017 without informing her family. The judge sentenced her to 3.5 years with a 7,000 yuan fine on May 9, 2017. The authorities suspended her pension during her term.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Ma Liwen (马立文), head of Pinggu District Social Security Bureau: +86-13601365277Dai Liming (戴立明), deputy director of Pinggu District Social Security Bureau: +86-13911306671
(More perpetrator contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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