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"We're not dead," seniors tell officials

MORE than 200 old people in a central China village are fighting to prove they are alive after village officials reported their deaths 10 years ago and scrapped their residence permits, known as "hukou."

Without the permits, they can't access Medicare subsidies and other government welfare payments, an unnamed village official told China National Radio today.

They were among more than 300 senior residents reported dead since 1998 in Yaozhuzhuang Village in Henan Province's Dancheng County, the report said.

The official said five villages had reported deaths to reduce their official population figures, thus saving money on population-based charges due to be paid to the township government.

Because of paperwork difficulties, only about 100 people had had their residents permits restored so far, the official told radio reporters.

Officials with Ningping Town government, responsible for Yaozhouzhuang Village, said they were shocked by the report.

"It's nearly impossible to report fake deaths," an official said, saying documents including cremation certificates were required to officially report a death.


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