Guangzhou Retirees Protest Massive Cut in Medical Insurance Premiums

A crowd of people gathered on January 11 outside the public safety office and inside. Guangzhouprotesting the sudden reduction in premiums on their personal insurance statements, according to a video of the protest posted online.

The protests are the latest in a series of major rallies in the city, the commercial hub of southern China and the seat of Guangdong Province. Some participants told the Chinese-language edition of the Epoch Times that they have been protesting since the wage cuts began in December.

“The government (of Guangzhou) has cut our medical insurance by two-thirds since last December, from 484 yuan ($71.35) a month to 160 yuan ($23.59) a month,” he said. Mr. Lin, a resident of Guangzhou, The Epoch Times.

He only gave his name for fear of retaliation from the Chinese authorities.

Personal health insurance is an important financial resource for retirees, used to pay for outpatient and certain medical treatments, tests , tests, and drugs they buy from hospitals or pharmacies, along with other medical expenses.

Lin said that retirees also protested in front of the provincial and government buildings in December.

“We went to the Guangdong Provincial Letters and Visits Bureau and the Guangzhou Municipal Healthcare Security Bureau last month, but the officials did not come to meet us,” Lin complained to the administration. the administration of pensioners.

Mr. told Liu (pseudonym), a retired worker of Guangzhou Alloy Steel Plant, in the Chinese-language edition of the Epoch Times more than 1,000 retirees participated in a protest in front of the Guangzhou Healthcare Security Bureau on January 11.

“We have been going twice a week to the letter and inspection offices, to request the government to return our money,” said Liu.

The Chinese Communist regime uses letters and inspection offices to process Chinese applicants who file complaints against government authorities. Chinese people’s lawyer Wu Shaoping these offices are called “a common trap” for applicants, because they are just a “way to waste people’s time and money.”

As seen in online videos of the January 11 protest, police cars lined the streets and kept a close eye on the protesters. Many police officers were seen sitting in buses parked nearby. Police cordoned off the protest area with barricades. Protesters negotiate with a man outside the government building in one of the pictures online. In one video, a pensioner is said to have been beaten by the police.

The Epoch Times could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

Posted by Mr. Lin ni posts of the resistance in Chinese social media, which was quickly removed by the online advertising authorities, according to Lin.

Legal Fee Deduction: Retired people

Retirees say that their health insurance premiums are their private property, because they are paid from their own contributions and money made by their employers before retirement.

Lin said he contributed to his medical insurance premiums for more than 20 years.

“The money in our personal medical insurance accounts is not a part of the government; our own contribution comes from our monthly income,” said Lin, “The government has no right to withdraw our money from our personal account, which is against the law.”

According to Lin, Guangzhou residents and their employers were required to pay two percent and eight percent, respectively, of an employee’s monthly salary to the city’s combined medical insurance. . Retirees received monthly 484 yuan payments in their medical insurance accounts before local authorities changed their policy to lower the payment.

Of the district and good job government issued new medical insurance policies in 2021 and 2022, respectively, but did not mention the amount of money to be paid to workers or retirees.

However, the provincial government sent a report by a new state article that explains the changes in medical insurance policies. The report said that retirees will pay 169 yuan (about $35) in their own medical bills per month under the new rules. It was also written that the government will “replace” private medical insurance with integrated medical insurance.

Liu said he was forced to pay more than 100,000 yuan ($14,700) for social security and medical insurance before he could retire with a retirement pension and medical insurance. “These are private insurances that we have bought with our own money,” said Liu.

Mr. Li (surname), a Guangzhou retiree, accused the local government of being unfair and violating Chinese laws.

“The government says that our money (personal medical insurance) is a waste because it is only deposited in the bank. They said they don’t need to pay us as we don’t use our savings, so we don’t need much,” said Li angrily.

“Do they also want to withdraw people’s money in the bank? Can they say they won’t pay you because you have savings in the bank?”

Install Defaults

Mr. believes Lin has reduced salaries because local governments are suffering from financial deficits due to the past three years of the zero-COVID policy.

“Many businesses went bankrupt in the last three years because of the lockdowns. How will the government get money if business is going down?” Lin said.

In addition to economic problems, the government spent a lot of money on the prevention and control of COVID. Guangdong Province was reported to have spent the amount of 146.8 billion yuan ($21.65 billion) to maintain its anti-diabetics, such as more PCR tests and booster shots, in the past three years.

“That said, they cannot extort money from us poor people,” Lin said, adding that retirees depend on insurance premiums to cover their daily medical expenses.

“In the event of a major epidemic, who will pay for us? Even with the 484 yuan paid to us in the past, we can only save 58,080 yuan ($12,061) in ten years on the condition that we don’t spend a penny during the season,” said Lin, “Now that we have 160 yuan, we can even get N95 masks .”

Several calls by The Epoch Times to the administrative offices of the municipal Healthcare Security Bureau and Human Resources and Social Security Bureau on January 24 were not answered.

But a man who answered a call to the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau’s hotline, who declined to be named, confirmed that 320 yuan had been deducted from the monthly insurance payments of local retirees. and the money is personal. However, he said the act was not a crime.

“It is not a deduction; it is only the reduction of the monthly payment in personal accounts, which is confirmed by government documents,” he said.

When asked if it is legal to withdraw personal funds without obtaining the approval of the owners, the man replied: “If the retirees have complaints, I can write to down and report to the appropriate departments (government) to supervise. “

Zhao Fenghua and Hong Ning contributed to this report.

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