(Minghui.org) A Shanghai resident recently had a lawsuit seeking justice for her suspended pension dismissed by the local court.
The Jing’an District Court initially scheduled to hear Ms. Cai Yufang’s case over her suspended pension for practicing Falun Gong on July 22, 2021. Three days prior to the hearing, the court informed her and her lawyer that the hearing was canceled. On July 27, the court informed Ms. Cai and her lawyer again that the case was dismissed as well.
A legal expert, who was not involved in Ms. Cai’s case, said it’s unprecedented for the court to directly dismiss the case. According to Article 69 of the Supreme People's Court interpretation on the application of the “Administrative Litigation Law of the P.R.C.,” only when one of the following ten conditions is met can a court dismiss a case.
Article 69: In any of the following circumstances, where a case has already been filed, a ruling shall be made to reject the litigation:
(1) It does not comply with Article 49 of the Administrative Litigation Law;(2) It exceeds the statutory time limit without circumstances provided for in article 48 of the Administrative Litigation Law;(3) the wrong defendant is listed and changes are refused;(4) Failure to follow the law in having a legally-designated representative, designated agent, or a representative conduct the litigation(5) Failure to follow laws and regulations in first application for reconsideration from the relevant administrative organs;(6) raising duplicate litigation;(7) Bringing litigation again, without a legitimate reason, after it has been withdrawn;(8) Where the administrative action clearly has no actual effect on his or her lawful rights and interests;(9) The target of the lawsuit has already been controlled by an effective judgment or mediation document;(10) Other situations not meeting the legally-prescribed requirements for initiating litigation.
Where the circumstances listed in the preceding paragraph may be supplemented, corrected, or fixed, the people's courts shall order that they be supplemented, corrected, or fixed within a designated time period; and where they are supplemented, corrected, or fixed within the designated time period, shall have trial in accordance with law.
Where people's courts, having read the file, investigated or made inquiries of the parties, believe it is unnecessary to try it in court, they may, at their own discretion, rule to dismiss a lawsuit.(Source: https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/en/supreme-peoples-court-interpretation-on-the-application-of-the-administrative-litigation-law-of-the-p-r-c/#_Toc505790079)
But in Ms. Cai’s case, none of the ten conditions apply, which implies that the court’s termination of her case without a hearing has violated the law. The above-mentioned legal expert suspects that the court dismissed the case under pressure from higher-ups.
Ms. Cai, 68, had been receiving her monthly pension payment since she retired 18 years ago. On October 12, 2020, she received a letter from Shanghai Social Security Insurance Management Center (“the Center”), informing her that because she served a seven-month prison term between September 2019 and April 2020, they would start to withhold her pension from November 2020, until she pays back the full amount she had received during her term.
Ms. Cai consulted a lawyer and was told that it’s illegal for the authorities to withhold her pension. While the Center cited a new policy that no Falun Gong practitioners serving time for their faith are entitled to any retirement benefits, the lawyer said no Chinese labor law has such a stipulation.
To seek justice for herself against the financial persecution, Ms. Cai hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the Center with the Pudongxin District Court on March 7, 2021. She demanded the Center rescind its decision and return her suspended pension. The court never responded to her mailed lawsuit.
On April 6, the lawyer went to the court in person to follow up with the case. The judge stated that they wouldn’t accept the case or receive any materials from him.
The lawyer then filed an application for administrative reconsideration with the Center on April 11 to withdraw their decision and return her suspended pension.
As the Center didn’t reply by the statutory deadline on June 15, Ms. Cai’s lawyer filed another lawsuit the next day with the Pudongxin District Court, which then directed the lawyer to the Jing’an District Court.
When the lawyer went to the Jing’an District Court on June 21, the judge initially refused to accept the case, arguing thatit was only eight days after the deadline. With the lawyer’s strong request, the judge agreed to accept the lawsuit.
The lawyer paid the 50-yuan litigation fee on June 23 and the court formally accepted the case.
A day later, the court informed the lawyer that a hearing had been scheduled at 14:15 p.m. on July 22.
Three days before the hearing, the court called both Ms. Cai and her lawyer and told them that the hearing was canceled.
On July 27, the court informed them that they had decided to cancel the case. When the lawyer asked the judge to show supporting documents for canceling the case, the judge said he couldn’t do it. He also told the lawyer not to ask why the hearing was canceled.