The family of a 27-year-old primary school teacher in Shanxi province, northern China, who died while working overtime during the winter vacation in 2017, are still battling to get the cause of his death officially recognized.

The Human Resources and Social Security Bureau has rejected their claim of a work injury being the cause of death four times, despite a local court agreeing with them.

The teacher, Duan Xiaokang, started teaching in a primary school in Daishan County in September 2016, the Paper reported. In the middle of the winter school break in January 2017, Duan and nine colleagues were asked to return to school to do extra work from January 18, 2017.

On January 21, 2017, when the school canteen was closed, Duan and his colleagues arranged to eat in a local restaurant in the afternoon, where he suddenly fell ill and fell unconscious. He was rushed to the emergency department at Jishan People’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a sudden cardiac arrest.

On January 26, 2017, the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau rejected the work-related injury certification, as authorities did not find the teacher’s death – which happened in the restaurant – in line with Article 15 Section 1 of Regulation on Work-Related Injury Insurances. This means a worker shall be regarded as suffering from a work-related injury during working hours and at his post.

Duan’s family filed their case to the Linyi People’s Court which revoked the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau’s decision of not issuing a work-related injury certification on April 27, 2017, June 29, 2017, September 27, 2018, and on February 2, 2019 to the Yuncheng Intermediate People’s Court, which made the same decision.

However, the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau insisted on sticking with their decision.