(Minghui.org) In recent years, in addition to the ongoing arrests, harassment, and incarceration of Falun Gong practitioners, the Chinese Communist Party has also imposed additional financial persecution by arbitrarily wiping out practitioners’ years of service in pension contributions or suspending their pensions.
Four practitioners in Qianlianghu Town, Junshan District, Yueyang City, Hunan Province, suffered such financial persecution.
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. Zhao Qunlan’s Story
Ms. Zhao Qunlan used to suffer from migraines and lower back pain. She also had constant colds and other minor ailments. She regained her health after she started to practice Falun Gong in January 1997.
After the persecution of Falun Gong began two years later, Ms. Zhao was repeatedly arrested for upholding her faith and incarcerated twice for a total of five years. Her husband was also forced to divorce her.
While serving time in prison, she was subjected to freezing in the winter and forced to stand under the scorching sun in the summer. She was also constantly deprived of sleep and hung up by the wrists. Before she was released, she was injected with toxic drugs that made her light-headed and dizzy. Her memory declined so quickly that she couldn’t remember her family members’ names upon returning home.
Ms. Zhao also developed a severe heart condition and high blood pressure due to the torture in custody. Traumatized both physically and mentally, she was unable to work and had to move in with her mother after she was released from prison.
After Ms. Zhao reached the retirement age of 55 in 2019, her younger brother borrowed 80,000 yuan to pay her overdue pension contribution, so that she could start to receive a monthly payment enough to get by.
Starting in September 2020, the Junshan District Social Security Bureau (SSB) suspended her pension without providing any explanation. She travelled a dozen times to the SSB to seek justice upon finding out about the suspension, but to no avail.
Ms. Zhao went to the SSB again in late December 2020. The two directors, Han Menglian and Xiao, insisted that her service at work prior to 1996 and during her three-year prison term between 2009 and 2012, totaling 15 years, would all be wiped out from her pension calculation, even though she had worked for over 30 years before retirement.
The SSB claimed that in order for her to start receiving her pension again, she must return all the pension she had received since she retired, which amounted to 134,000 yuan and make an additional contribution to make up for the wiped-out 15 years of service.
Her brother and other family members helped her pay the 134,000 yuan. The SSB then reset the clock of her retirement and recalculated her monthly payment to be 1,300 yuan, only about half of her original benefits.
Yet the SSB didn’t reinstate Ms. Zhao’s pension. She kept appealing and saw two groups of people show up at her door uninvited on two separate occasions.
On October 9, 2021, three officials of the local Chaoyang Street Committee, including Secretary Cai Zhongwen, security section chief Yan Dingji, and another leader named Wang Yingping, went to Ms. Zhao’s home. They took pictures of her and asked her about her pension. She explained what was going on, but nothing happened after these people left.
On November 2, 2021, two strangers showed up at Ms. Zhao’s home. They introduced themselves as Luo Ranjun, Chairman of Qianlianghu Town People’s Congress, and Director Liu of the Appeals Office. Security section chief Yan joined them moments later. They said they’d tried to visit Ms. Zhao a few times earlier on, but no one was home. Ms. Zhao wondered what was the matter that prompted them to visit her. They explained that Yan had reported her pension issue so they came for a welfare check. Director Liu took pictures of Ms. Zhao and she protested against it. Chairman Luo explained, “We’re just doing our job. Taking your picture is proof that we’ve come to visit you.”
Ms. Zhao again requested reinstatement of her pension. Luo said he had no authority to do so.
Ms. Zhao still hasn’t received any pension payment at the time of writing. She said she is really worried as to whether she will be able to pay off the debt she owes her brother and other family members, as the 1,300 yuan monthly payment, even if issued, is only enough for her to cover basic living expenses and she could barely save anything each month.
Financial Persecution of Three Other Practitioners
Similar to Ms. Zhao, one other Falun Gong practitioner in the same Qianlianghu Town also suffered similar financial persecution.
Ms. Yong Yulian also had 10 years of her over 30 years of service arbitrarily wiped out by the SSB. She was also forced to make an additional 54,000 yuan contribution to reactivate her pension and her monthly payment was reduced from over 2,000 yuan to 1,400 yuan.
Other than having their service years wiped out, two other practitioners in Qianlianghu Town had their pension suspended and were forced to return the funds they received while serving time for their faith, before they could receive new payments again. The authorities claimed they weren’t entitled to the payments during their imprisonment, but the practitioners argued that no Chinese labor law has such a stipulation.
Ms. Cai Guijiao, 71, had her pension suspended while serving a three-year term between February 2012 and February 2015. She was arrested again in November 2016 and sentenced to seven months. Peng Changhua, the head of Junshan District 610 Office, ordered the SSB to suspend her pension after she was released. She constantly went there to seek justice. While the SSB agreed to reinstate her pension in 2021, they withheld 11,000 yuan from her.
Ms. Zhu Chunxiu, 71, was arrested on September 21, 2016 for talking to people about Falun Gong and later sentenced to 1.5 years. Starting in 2020, the SSB suspended her pension, claiming that she wasn’t entitled to any retirement benefits during her prison term. She was forced to pay back over 20,000 yuan she had received during the 1.5 years of jail time, before the SSB reinstated her pension.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Luo Ranjun (罗然军), Chairman of Qianlianghu Town People’s Congress: +86-15897303986Han Menglian (韩孟莲), Director of Junshan District Human Resources and Social Security Bureau: +86-18873093935Liu Xin (刘心), staff member of Junshan District Human Resources and Social Security Bureau: +86-730-8115163
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