In June 2000, Lu Hongfu (then aged 28) got a job at a Sino-Japanese joint venture in the city of Yixing in Jiangsu called Qingxing Powder Machinery Co., Ltd. doing odd jobs in a chemical micropowders workshop and working as an assistant painter. A year after he started working at the company, Lu began to suffer from dizzy spells, vomiting, bleeding gums and other symptoms. After a local hospital diagnosed him with acute myeloid leukaemia, he repeatedly appealed to the local labour dispute arbitration committee (LDAC) and court for public redress in a claim for occupational illness compensation and related medical expenses, but both agencies refused to hear his case. Lu Hongfu died on 4 May 2003 after running up medical bills of 250,000 yuan.
Lu Hongfu’s father Lu Guoqiang, with CLB’s assistance, then took up his dead son cause and continued to appeal to the local LDAC and the courts for compensation from Qingxing Co. In June 2007, the Yixing Municipal Petitions Bureau brokered a “mediation agreement.” During the five years that elapsed between February 2002, when Lu Hongfu first applied for an occupational illness appraisal, and 6 November 2006, when the Wuxi Municipal Intermediate Court issued civil ruling (minshi caidingshu) (2006) Xi-Min-Zai-Zhong-Zi No. 0015, all legal remedies were exhausted. If the Yixing Municipal Petitions Bureau brokered “mediation agreement” in June 2007 is included, the entire legal process to obtain compensation took five years and four months and involved arbitration, litigation and countless petitions letters and phone calls.