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Kneeling sisters in Shenzhen to sue
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-26 05:44

SHENZHEN: The former employee of an American-owned factory, who hit the headlines last week when pictures of her and her two sisters kneeling outside the factory gates were posted on the Internet, is preparing to sue the company.

Three women knelt outside a Shenzhen factory gate on October 13, 2005. [sina]

Wang Lun, 22, worked at the Astec electronics factory in Shenzhen, owned by US company Emerson Network Power, but left the company this September.

Last week pictures of the three sisters kneeling at the gate of the factory in an attempt to win 80,000 yuan (US$9,860) medical compensation for a mental disorder Wang Lun says she developed as a result of working for the company, caused quite a stir in cyberspace.

Now, with begging at the gates having failed, Wang is considering turning to the courts.

However, legal experts say the chances of her winning the case are slim unless she can prove the disorder is linked to her job.

Wang Juan, Wang Lun's older sister, told reporters recently that Astec violated regulations when handling her sister's compensation.

According to Wang senior, she was forced to endorse her younger sister's resignation letter, otherwise Astec said it would not pay any compensation.

She also claimed that Astec did not pay for social insurance, which includes medical insurance and industrial injury insurance, for her sister.

Although Astec met all Wang Lun's medical bills, her older sister believes she would have got more compensation if she had been covered by social insurance.

According to Emerson, in June, after working at Astec for four months, Wang Lun was found to have a medical problem.

In September, she resigned, and signed the resignation letter along with her sister.

The company says that when Wang quit, she had already received three months of medical treatment and doctors deemed her recovered and able to return to work.

In response to media inquiries, in its latest statement Emerson insists all Astec employees are enrolled in the government medical insurance scheme.

"Astec confirms that all of the factory's employees have insurance coverage, either through the government programme or through Astec's own insurance plan that provides even better coverage of medical costs," the statement said.

However, when questioned yesterday, Emerson did not explain to China Daily why Wang Lun's medical bill was paid directly by the company.

The statement said Astec paid all of Wang's medical bill through its own insurance programme.

Two legal experts China Daily interviewed expressed their support for Astec, saying that because there is so far no proof the disease is occupational, the company has fulfilled its obligations.

As long as they paid the amount of compensation required by law, Astec had the right to fire Wang, the experts said, because doctors deemed her recovered and able to work again.

(China Daily 10/26/2005 page3)

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