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November 3, 2009

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Elderly victims out of pocket in 'deadly' plot

A SCAM by village officials in central China's Henan Province to siphon off funds collected from farmers by declaring some of them dead has backfired not on the perpetrators but the victims.

Now victims of the fraud can't collect new benefits offered by the state.

The officials hid farmers' funds destined for the state purse by falsely claiming hundreds of living elderly people were dead, China National Radio reported yesterday.

Many victims in Dancheng County of Henan's Zhoukou City were listed as dead and had their registration data canceled in 1998 when farmers in China had to hand in funds annually as a contribution to government annual income, the radio reported.

Many of them were never told about the cancelation.

A farmer said it was not until last year when he applied for a new residence registration that he found the registrations for his parents were canceled a decade ago.

Of 1,800-people in Yaozhouzhuang Village of Dacheng, about 300 senior residents were delisted in the year, the report said.

A village official told the radio that four other villages in the area conducted the same practice as cadres pocketed the "deceased" funds.

However, fund deductions imposed on farmers have already been canceled, which is no help to the supposedly dead citizens.

Cadres now in office have only renewed a small fraction of the annulled registrations.

There are still more than 200 seniors at Yaozhouzhuang Village who are "technically dead" and cannot enjoy preferential policies, medical insurance and social welfare benefits issued by the central government for farmers.


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