(Minghui.org) After Ms. Tang Xuzhen took up Falun Gong in 1998, she quickly recovered from naso-pharyngeal cancer and many chronic illnesses. A year later, the Chinese communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong.

Having benefited so much from practicing Falun Gong, Ms. Tang has never wavered in her faith. As a result, the Luzhou City, Sichuan Province resident served one year in a labor camp and was jailed for three and a half years. She also saw her pension suspended in October 2011 by the Southwest Medical University, where she retired from.

The retired professor in her 80s went to various government agencies to seek justice, but to no avail.

Pension Suspended

Ms. Tang’s pension has been suspended by the Southwest Medical University since October 2011, after Kong Xiaomin, the director of human resources, took office. Before retiring, she had dedicated her entire career to the university as an Associate Professor of Anatomical Pathology.

In the past ten years, Ms. Tang has only received 5,200 yuan as an adjustment payment to her pension and another 200 yuan given out on a Teacher’s Day. In addition to her pension, her medical insurance was revoked as well.

At first, the school still gave her hard copies of monthly pay stubs, which indicated her pension amounts with a note saying that her pension had been “temporarily withheld.” But since October 2016, when the school’s pension payment system was switched to direct deposit to the retirees’ bank accounts, she no longer received any paperwork showing the amount she was entitled to.

While Ms. Tang had no access to her pension, her bank statements still indicated a monthly amount of 6,630 yuan, accompanied by a note saying her pension benefits were scheduled to remain frozen until May 2018. But after May 2018, her bank was no longer able to show any information of her pension account. It’s not clear whether her university had ordered the closure of her account [note: her university deposits retirees’ pension benefits to a school-designated bank].

Throughout all these years, the university never provided any formal notification or explanation of the suspension of her pension. Ms. Tang repeatedly returned to the school to seek justice, but to no avail. Liu Guangyi, the deputy secretary of the medical school that Ms. Tang used to work at, once said to her that they were temporarily withholding her pension, and as long as she wrote a statement to renounce Falun Gong, they would return the money to her.

With the change of school leadership later on, it became harder and harder for Ms. Tang to track where her pension was. When she went back to the school and tried to talk to the new leadership, they ordered the police to push her out and take her to the police station for interrogation. Later on, the school leadership instructed security personnel to completely block Ms. Tang from even entering the campus.

Uphill Battle to Get Her Pension Back

On October 14, 2020, Ms. Tang submitted a request to the Sichuan Province Education Bureau that oversees the Southwest Medical University, demanding the university disclose legal documents and procedures for their suspension of her pension, as well as the names of the officials who are handling the specifics.

The provincial education bureau rejected her request on November 14, stating that she wasn’t entitled to any benefits during the time she was imprisoned (she was sentenced to 3.5 years in late 2009), according to a new policy. They also directed her to Southwest Medical University for the information she requested.

Ms. Tang argued that no Chinese labor law bars retirees from receiving pension during prison terms. On the other hand, she was wrongfully sentenced for her faith and her term only lasted 3.5 years, but her pension has been suspended for almost ten years.

At the education bureau’s suggestion, Ms. Tang made a request to the Southwest Medical University for them to disclose the information she asked for, despite all her failed experience in contacting them in the past decade. The school never responded to her.

Ms. Tang also filed a motion about her case with the Sichuan provincial government and Luzhou city government around November 30, demanding that her university return all the pension that has been suspended, as well as compensate her travel expenses and legal fees. The city and provincial government responded to her on December 1 and December 18, respectively, that they wouldn’t accept her case.

The city government directed her to the provincial government and Ministry of Education, with the excuse that they didn’t have direct jurisdiction of Southwest Medical University. She contacted the Ministry of Education, but it never responded to her.

The provincial government, on the other hand, claimed that the school’s suspension of Ms. Tang’s pension has nothing to do with the Sichuan Province Education Bureau, which disqualified her request of holding the education bureau accountable. They said she could file administrative litigation with the court within 15 days of the notice.

Thus, Ms. Tang filed an administrative litigation with Chengdu City Intermediate Court on December 29, which rejected her case on January 28, 2021. The rejection letter she received from the court had no official seal or the signature of the judge who handled it.

In her continued legal efforts, Ms. Tang appealed against the intermediate court’s decision with the Chengdu Superior Court. While the higher court confirmed that they have received her case on February 6, they never got back to her. Ms. Tang made two follow-up calls in March and April 2021, respectively, also to no avail.

At the same time, Ms. Tang made another request with the Ministry of Education about information disclosure. She made several follow-up calls to them with her landline, but no one ever answered the call. Suspecting that her landline had been blocked by the authorities, Ms. Tang called the agency again on March 31, 2021 with a cellphone. Although a female staff member picked up the call, she immediately hung up as soon as she found out the case was related to Falun Gong.

In April 2021, Ms. Tang made another effort to call Liao Bin, the new department director of the medical school, only to be told that the decision to suspend her pension has been made by the previous leadership in 2013 and there is no way for them to change it now.

Related reports:

Retired College Professor’s Pension Suspended for 9 Years and Counting Due to Her Faith in Falun Gong

The Persecution of Ms. Tang Xuzhen, Associate Professor from Luzhou Medical College, Sichuan Province

Ms. Tang Xuzhen, a Retired Associate Professor from Luzhou Medical Institute, Secretly Sentenced

Chinese version available

Category: Accounts of Persecution