Without adequate social security, people desperate for medical and financial assistance are driven to take extreme action.
In September 2008, a 69-year old man originally from Hunan, Fan Daxin, (photo) robbed a young female university student at the Beijing Railway Station. During the robbery, Fan encouraged the victim to cry for help. This was the second attempt Fan made to get himself arrested within half an hour. His first attempt was unsuccessful because the victim did not alert the police. Fan lived on a 600-yuan annual allowance from the government, only 1.65 yuan a day on average. In two years, he had not eaten any meat. In his village, an egg costs 80 cents, a pound of rice 1.5 yuan and a pound of meat 13 yuan.
Fan was arrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment. Although Fan is in prison, he is not satisfied with his “light” punishment. “The sentence is too light. If I cannot support myself after I am released two years later, I might consider robbing again and return to prison…”The draft law states that the government shall set up five categories of social insurance: pension, basic health care, work-related injury, unemployment and maternal health care. However, instead of pledging that no one will starve or be deprived of essential medical treatment because of financial difficulties, the law only requires the government to provide material assistance contingent upon legal rights. The household registration system in China divides people into different categories leaving some groups, such as migrant workers and their children, with virtually no protection.
CLB will submit a written opinion on the Draft Social Security Law to the National People's Congress.