(Minghui.org) Three Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province residents have had their pensions withheld since April 2020 after being targeted for their faith in Falun Gong. 

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999. Early on in the persecution the authorities issued three persecution policies: “ruin [Falun Gong practitioners'] reputation, bankrupt [them] financially, and destroy [them] physically.” 

As a part of the financial persecution, the communist regime has issued a new policy in recent years stating that Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their faith aren’t entitled to pension benefits during their terms. Although no labor law stipulates such a rule, social security offices around China have begun to withhold elderly practitioners’ pensions and have even ordered them to return the funds they received while in illegal detention

Such is the case with Ms. Wang Yiqing, 76, Ms. Wang Zhifang, 74, and Mr. Huang Fan, 84. 

Both Ms. Wang Yiqing and Ms. Wang Zhifang were arrested on August 26, 2014 for talking to people about Falun Gong in a park. Their homes were ransacked and they were held at the Kunshan Detention Center. 

Ms. Wang Yiqing was later sentenced to three years and one month and Ms. Wang Zhifang was given three years and three months. Their terms ended in May and August 2017, respectively. 

Mr. Huang, who credits Falun Gong for curing his late-stage cancer, was arrested on July 11, 2016 for mailing letters to the public to raise awareness about the persecution. The police confiscated his computer and printer cartridge. 

Mr. Huang was sentenced to three years, with three years and six months of probation (which means he didn’t have to serve time in prison). His term was fully cleared in January 2020. 

Since April 2020, the Kunshang City Social Security Office has begun to withhold the three practitioners’ pensions. 

The authorities ordered Ms. Wang Yiqing to pay back the 118,484.8 yuan that she received during her imprisonment. They deducted 25,169.6 yuan from her current pension payment between May and December 2020. For the remaining 93,313.2 yuan, they are withholding a monthly payment of 1,555 yuan between 2021 and 2025. The final payment in December 2025 is to be 1,568.2 yuan.

Ms. Wang Zhifang was ordered to pay back 112,751.6 yuan, 22,360 yuan of which was taken from her current pension payment between May and December 2020. For the remaining 90,391.6 yuan, the authorities are taking a 1,500-yuan monthly payment between 2021 and 2025. The final payment in December 2025 is to be 1,891.6 yuan.

The authorities ordered Mr. Huang to pay back a total of 272,412 yuan. Mr. Huang is now having 3,000 yuan deducted from his monthly pension payment since January 2021. The authorities claimed that if he couldn’t pay back the full amount by the time he passes away, they would transfer the debt to his children.

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution