Falun Gong Practitioner Sentenced to 4.5 Years for Seeking to Reinstate Suspended Pension

Helong City, Jilin Province

Helong City, Jilin Province

Ms. Sun Qingju, a 60-year-old retired kindergarten teacher from Helong City, Jilin Province, recently received a four-and-a-half-year sentence for seeking to reinstate her suspended pension.

The Helong City Social Security Bureau suspended Ms. Sun’s pension after her release from a four-year prison sentence in November 2021. The bureau also ordered Ms. Sun to repay 150,000 yuan (about 20,500 USD) that was paid to her during the sentence.

Many Falun Gong practitioners, like Ms. Sun, face various forms of economic reprisals in addition to arrest and detention. According to a comprehensive report by Minghui,

“Falun Gong practitioners are deprived of the most basic rights to survival. Students are expelled from school or denied admission. Employees are fired from their jobs and have their pensions suspended when they retire. For established individuals, the regime can take everything away from them, including their businesses, houses, and bank savings.”

Weiquanwang, a human rights organization led by Chinese human rights lawyers, recently learned of Ms. Sun’s sentencing on September 5. Her case was also covered by a Minghui correspondent in Jilin Province.

The Bajiazi Town Police Station first arrested Ms. Sun and ransacked her home on April 8, 2022. Though authorities released Ms. Sun that night, officers from both the Bajiazi Town Domestic Security Office and the Hebei Police Station arrested her again months later on August 29, 2022. The authorities initially released Ms. Sun the next day on August 30, only to take her back into custody on August 31.

After being held at the Dunhua City Detention Center, Ms. Sun was transferred to the Yanji City Detention Center. She is reportedly held in the city of Changchun, but her exact whereabouts are unknown.

Ms. Sun has repeatedly faced abuse from the CCP. She served several previous prison and forced labor sentences, during which she was tortured. Her family, including her young children, have likewise suffered tremendously due to the persecution of Ms. Sun. Her husband who does not practice Falun Gong was even arrested and beaten.

Below is Ms. Sun’s personal account from March 2022 describing her past persecution and the suspension of her pension.

Before I started to practice Falun Gong, I suffered many ailments, including severe insomnia, diabetes and a heart condition. I lost most of my hearing due to otitis media (middle ear infection). Unable to bear the suffering, I made two attempts to take my own life, but didn’t succeed.

After learning Falun Gong, except for my hearing issue, all the other problems went away. I’m grateful to Falun Gong for saving my life.

Sadly, the Chinese communist regime ordered the persecution in 1999, bringing unspeakable pain to countless families, including mine. I was arrested four times and sentenced to prison. I was also held in a detention center, brainwashing center, and psychiatric hospital, where I was tortured, verbally abused and ordered to renounce Falun Gong.

The police clipped my fingers with pencils, causing my fingers to bleed and bruise. They also slapped my face with water bottles and wooded boards, causing my face to swell and my ears to bleed. In other torture sessions, they kicked me with leather boots, and grabbed my hair to hit my head against the wall. They also once forced me to stand for ten days without sleep.

While I was detained, my family also lived in fear. Their lives were also affected in many different ways.

My four arrests happened when my son was still a little boy. When the police interrogated me before I was sentenced in 2013, they held my son, a third grader, as a hostage in an attempt to force me to give in.

When my daughter, who was already an adult, traveled all the way from a southern city to visit me, the guards verbally abused and humiliated her, without allowing her to see me. She later told me that the mental distress caused her to develop several medical conditions, which haven’t recovered eleven years later.

The mental pressure my husband bore was the most severe. After so many times of harassment, he would begin to shake involuntarily whenever someone knocked on the door. He also had a severe heart condition.

At one point, the police also arrested him and detained him for three days. He was beaten and verbally abused. This incident further caused him to develop resentment toward me and Falun Gong.

My husband and I had known each other since we were first graders. We had always been in the same class, from elementary school all the way to high school. After we graduated, we found jobs in the same place. We had a son and a daughter after we got married. It was a really happy family. But because of the persecution, we divorced, twice.

Six years after our first divorce, we re-married. But only a few months later, I was sentenced again. My husband came to the detention center twice, demanding to divorce me for the second time. I had no choice but to agree. He later married another woman and started another family.

After I was released, I continued to face pressure from both my family and society, which caused tremendous difficulty to my daily life.

In November 2021, I received a call from my workplace and was asked to go to the social security bureau to look for director Zhang. I went there in the afternoon. I gave my ID to Zhang as required and asked her what the meeting was about.

She asked me, “Did you bring the verdict?”

I was stunned and told her I didn’t have it.

“How long was your term? When were you sentenced?”

“The term was four years. I can’t remember the exact sentencing date.”

She also asked when I retired, before taking out a piece of paper and ordering me to pay them 150,000 yuan.

“Why?” I asked.

She indicated that it was for me to pay back the pension I received during the four-year term. She also said that they found out about me through big data analysis.

I told her that I didn’t commit any crime in practicing Falun Gong and was wronged. Falun Gong is a Buddha school discipline and teaches Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. It has been spread all over the world and is only persecuted in China. I also said it’s not good for them to persecute me.

As I was talking, the family member who went with me became scared and covered my mouth to stop me from talking.

A few days later, I went to the social security bureau and urged them not to suspend my pension. This time, Zhang’s attitude was very bad and she insisted that I pay the 150,000 yuan.

I told her I couldn’t afford to pay it and they had to allow me to survive.

She indicated that she was just following the law.

I said that there is no such stipulation in the Chinese labor law and I repeated that I didn’t violate the law in practicing Falun Gong.

She threatened to report me to the police and let them arrest me if I kept talking.

Because I had booked a flight ticket for a trip, I left a few days later. When I asked my family to withdraw my pension with my bank card while I was out of town, they found my pension had been suspended already.