(Minghui.org) Ms. Chen Junjie of Beijing was ordered by the local social security office on September 13, 2021, to return the pension contribution her workplace made for her between May 2004 and March 2007, when she was serving time for her faith in Falun Gong. Since October 2021, the authorities also suspended her pension without providing any explanation.
Ms. Chen frequently visited the Daxing District Social Security Office and the Dongchen Aluminum Company where she retired from, explaining how the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party didn’t have any legal basis and how wrong it was for the authorities to jail her for her faith. She urged the officials to uphold justice and not continue to assist the communist regime in the persecution.
As none of the parties responded to her pleas, she filed an administrative complaint with Daxing District Court. The judge in charge of her case held a virtual hearing on December 14, 2021. Both she and her lawyer argued that there is no legal basis for the authorities to withhold her pension or order her to pay back previous contribution made by her workplace.
Although the social security office promised to return two months of suspended pension between October and December during the hearing, it’s not clear whether they continue to withhold her pension since then. The judge is yet to make any ruling regarding the payback of the pension contribution her workplace made into her retirement account. Both Ms. Chen and her lawyer vowed to continue seeking justice.
Two Prison Sentences
Ms. Chen, 65, began to practice Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline, in 1995. She credits the practice for curing her rheumatoid arthritis, a heart disease, and spinal inflammation.
After the communist regime ordered the persecution in 1999, Ms. Chen has been arrested multiple times and sentenced twice to prison. She served three years between April 2004 and April 2007, and another term of three and a half years between January 13, 2016 and June 13, 2019.
Her husband, who doesn’t practice Falun Gong, was also implicated. He was given a labor camp term and fired by his workplace, when the entire family relied on his income to get by.
Legal Argument during the Hearing
During the hearing on December 14, 2021, both Ms. Chen and her lawyer questioned the jurisdiction the Daxing District Social Security Office had to go after the pension contribution her workplace made nearly two decades ago.
They pointed out that Article 20 of the “Labor Security Supervision Regulations” indicated that any violation of labor security laws, regulations or rules that was not discovered by the labor security administrative department, or that was never reported or complained about within two years, the labor security administrative department will no longer investigate it.
The Daxing District Social Security Office claimed that its decision for Ms. Chen to return the pension contribution her employer made for her was based on two documents, the “Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security on the implementation of the ‘Beijing Basic Medical Insurance Regulations’,” and “Notice of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security on Issues Related to the Implementation of the Beijing Basic Pension Insurance Regulations,” which both said that “the insured employee shall stop paying basic endowment insurance premiums during the period of prison sentence and re-education through labor.”
As such, the social security office returned the contribution Ms. Chen made during her imprisonment between April 2004 and April 2007 and ordered her to pay back her employer’s contribution made during the same period. Ms. Chen and her lawyer pointed out that these two documents are only a notice issued by the local government and aren’t written into the Chinese labor law.
Article 2 of “Regulations on Pension Insurance for Urban Laborers of Enterprises in Beijing” stated that “Enterprises within the administrative area of this Municipality and urban laborers (referred to as the insured) who have formed labor relations with them shall apply these provisions.” And article 19 of the document said that “The basic endowment insurance premiums shall be paid jointly by the enterprise and the insured. The enterprise and the insured shall pay the basic endowment insurance premiums in full and on time.”
Article 2 of “Regulations on Basic Endowment Insurance in Beijing” also said, “Enterprises within the administrative area of this city and urban employees who have formed labor relations with them, urban self-employed industrial and commercial households and people with flexible employment shall participate in basic endowment insurance in accordance with these regulations.”
Article 10 of the “Social Insurance Law” ruled, “Employees shall participate in the basic endowment insurance, and the employer and the employee shall jointly pay the basic endowment insurance premiums.”
According to the above-mentioned laws and local government regulations, Ms. Chen’s lawyer said that the only prerequisite for participating in pension insurance is the existence of a labor relationship between the individual and the enterprise. As long as an employee forms a labor relationship with the enterprise, he or she should and must participate in the endowment insurance, which is the legal right and obligation of the employee and the enterprise.
In her final statement, Ms. Chen said, “Because of my practicing Falun Gong, my workplace stopped my salary between 2001 and 2007. During that time, we relied on my husband’s income to get by. But what I didn’t expect was, after I was sentenced to three years in 2004, the police also arrested my husband and gave him two years of forced labor. He lost his job after being released. Our children were also implicated and detained for a month. They were traumatized. While both of us were incarcerated, they had to borrow from our family and friends in order to survive.”
“My husband developed diabetes at the labor camp. After he recovered a bit upon returning home, he did some odd jobs to support the family and cover my living expense in the prison. He did that until I was released, before applying for retirement.” she added.
Perpetrators’ contact information:
Wu Shanliang (吴山良), head of Daxing District Human Resource and Social Security Bureau: +86-10-69298217Xue Jun (薛军), director of Daxing District Social Insurance Management CenterWang Yuhong (王玉红), presiding judge of Daxing District Court: +86-10-57362829
(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)
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