Chen Yanqun suffered severe physical and psychological injuries when she was beaten around the head and body by Zheng Weibin, the director of Longtou Hospital in Chenggu county, Shaanxi, on 24 October 2008.
Chen had visited the director to demand payment of an estimated 20 percent of her salary that had been withheld for the previous two months. Zheng not only refused her request, he and his wife verbally abused and later physically assaulted her.
After work colleagues intervened and called the police, Chen was taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Hanzhong for treatment. However, Zheng reportedly used his connections in the local hospital system to instruct doctors at the hospital: “don’t use expensive medicine, don’t conduct tests, and kick her out after a few days.”
After her ordeal, Chen sought redress through the petitioning system. She visited the provincial government in Xi’an but was forcibly returned home by officials from Chenggu county.
In August 2009, China Labour Bulletin provided Chen with a lawyer who, after an extensive investigation, brokered a mediated settlement under the auspices of the county health department. Under the agreement, Longtou Hospital not only agreed to pay Chen 118,000 yuan in damages, it pledged to fix her salary at around 2,000 yuan a month, and agreed that she could spend two years recuperating at home before returning to work.
Chen had been reluctant to file civil or criminal charges but, in October, she finally agreed to file criminal assault charges against Zheng. The criminal case is ongoing.