XIONG GAO LIN: One time while I was travelling to my hometown for vacation I had this dream. I dreamed I went back to the factory in a hurry because I was afraid that they would fire me. I wanted to buy a train ticket but all the trains were sold out. I got very nervous. In the end I took a coach. Travelling by coach is quite dangerous, especially in Guizhou province. Finally I arrived at the factory. But only a short time after I arrived, I got fired for breaking the factory’s rules. I asked what I had done. They said: “Nothing, you just broke the rules.”
I’m suffering from several occupational diseases. In May 2008 I had an examination at Pengpai Hospital in the province of Guangdong. The doctor told me I might have silicosis. Then, in July 2008, I went to the People’s Hospital in Guangdong province. There the doctor told me I might have pneumoconiosis. After that I immediately went to the Prevention Station for Occupational Diseases. They told me the same thing. They gave me a report, which stated the symptoms, and they told me to come back for another examination in three months. So in October I went there for another examination. I received the report on October 30. It said it might be silicosis, so I applied for recognition as an occupational disease. This was approved on January 15, 2009.
With this result, I went back to the factory. According to the law, the factory must pay for my treatment. But my employers said there is no cure for this kind of disease and they didn’t want to pay for my treatment. I talked to them many times but they didn’t give in. Then I went to the Health Supervision Bureau in Haifeng County, but they told me they couldn’t do anything because they had an agreement with the factory. That’s against the law. I went to the Health Supervision Bureau nearly every two days. In the end they got tired of me and told me not to come back again. I told them: “If I could discuss this with my employer, I wouldn’t need to come here. You are a government bureau, and what are you doing? Isn’t it your job to provide a service to the people?” But they didn’t want to do anything for me.
I tried to appeal to the higher authorities but they returned my letter to the Health Supervision Bureau. The law says that these institutions must give you a written receipt for the letters they receive. But they didn’t give my any receipt. I went back to the Health Supervision Bureau but they still gave me the same answer.
On April 22, I sent an appeal to the Health Supervision Bureau in Shanwei City. They received my material and told me to wait. One month later I still hadn’t heard from them. On April 26, I appealed to the Health Bureau in Shanwei City but they told me this was not within their responsibility and I should go back to the Department of Labour in Haifeng County, the same one that hadn’t acknowledged the receipt of my material.
On March 17, the Department of Labour in Haifeng County forced me to apply for authentication of my industrial injury. I protested because according to the law, this should happen only after medical treatment of the disease. But they forced me to do it. I received the certificate on May 11. The law says the employer must pay for the treatment of an employee’s industrial disease.
I’m still trying to appeal to the higher authorities. I went all the way up to the Health Department of the province of Guangdong. But nobody wants to take responsibility. As a factory worker you simply can’t do anything if the officials don’t follow the laws and rules.