(Minghui.org) A 67-year-old woman in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, has had her pension suspended for 3.5 years to pay back the pension benefits she received while serving a four-year term for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
The authorities claimed that, according to a new policy, no Falun Gong practitioners serving time for their faith are entitled to pension payments. Even though there is no such stipulation in Chinese labor law, many Falun Gong practitioners have been ordered to pay back the funds they received during their prison terms. If they refuse to comply, the authorities suspend their pensions and force them to pay back the “debt.”
Ms. Han Ying was arrested on November 9, 2015, for filing a criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the communist regime who ordered the persecution in 1999. After she was denied admission to the local detention center three times due to her heart condition and tuberculosis, the police forced the detention center to accept her.
Ms. Han was sentenced to four years and fined 5,000 yuan on April 21, 2016, by the Economy Development District Court.
Due to Ms. Han’s health condition, she was denied admission to the Liaoning Province Women’s Prison four times, before being admitted to the prison’s hospital. To achieve a higher percentage of Falun Gong practitioners renouncing their faith, the guards forced her to watch videos demonizing Falun Gong and ordered the inmates to torture her.
For half a month, the inmates slapped Ms. Han in the face, pinched her arms and thighs, and forced her to stand or squat for long hours every day. As a result of the torture, Ms. Han developed a severe heart condition and had swelling in her legs, feet, and hands. She also had trouble urinating.
The inmates also threatened to make Ms. Han take psychiatric drugs if she remained firm in Falun Gong. They pointed to Ms. Zhu Yun, a practitioner in her 50s, who was drooling after being administered with nerve drugs, and said, “If you don’t transform, you will be like her.”
Prison guard Wang Qi, in her 30s, once said to Ms. Han, “Do you know why we keep you in the prison hospital? It’s because if you suddenly die here, we will say that you died from your heart condition and we wouldn’t be held accountable for torturing you.”
As Ms. Han still refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards brought her to a dark room on the first floor of the hospital. The room has no surveillance cameras and was specifically used to torture Falun Gong practitioners.
Inmate Liu Cuili stood behind Ms. Han and kneed her in the legs. After Ms. Han knelt down, inmate Gao Yuchun beat and pinched her. Ms. Han was covered with bruises from the beating. The hospital forced her to pay 800 yuan for a health checkup.
After Ms. Han recovered a little, the guards began to force her to do unpaid labor of making cotton swabs every day.
When Ms. Han was halfway through her term, the authorities stopped her pension in 2017. After she was released in August 2019, the social security office agreed to give her 685 yuan each month to cover her basic living expenses starting in September 2019. Since September 2020, her monthly subsidy has been increased to 715 yuan.
Now it’s almost four years since the authorities began to suspend her pension. It’s not clear whether her pension would be fully resumed after the “four-year period” expires.
Ms. Han was born with congenital heart disease. Due to her poor health, she dropped out of school in third grade. At 17, she contracted tuberculosis and later hepatitis, nephritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the medical treatment, many of her conditions persisted and she remained very weak.
In April 1996, a colleague introduced Falun Gong to her. In less than a year, she completely recovered and her family and friends were amazed by Falun Gong’s healing power.
Practicing Falun Gong also helped Ms. Han to become calmer and more considerate. Having a bad temper in the past due to physical suffering, she often fought with her husband, her stepson, and mother-in-law.
With good health, she took on many house chores and treats everyone well. Her husband was touched by her changes and she also developed a close bond with her stepson.
After the communist regime began to persecute Falun Gong, Ms. Han used her spare time to distribute informational material to raise awareness about it.
Following her arrest in September 2001 for distributing the materials, the police threw her down on the floor, causing her head to swell. Then the police ransacked her home and took her to the Fangjialan Detention Center. She held a hunger strike to protest the persecution and was released 21 days later.
Ms. Han was arrested again in 2007 and held at the Shenyang City Detention Center for a month.