China vows to address 'challenges facing veterans' after protest

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/12 20:49:32

China's military authorities on Wednesday pledged to continue addressing the difficulties facing some military veterans, after over 1,000 of them gathered outside a military building to protest their dismissal.

China's Ministry of National Defense confirmed the gathering with the Global Times in a statement sent by its Information Bureau on Wednesday, saying that in recent years some veterans have been facing personal and employment problems, and that they have appealed with letters and calls. 

The statement said that the Communist Party of China, the State Council--China's Cabinet--and the Central Military Commission care about veterans and pay high attention to solving their problems.

The Chinese government has drafted preferential policies and measures for veterans and have improved the living conditions of some veterans, read the statement, adding that in line with the deepening of the reform, the completion of the social security mechanism and the implementation of related polices, the temporary living difficulties of some veterans will gradually be solved.

More than 1,000 protesters marched and chanted in front of China's defense ministry Tuesday, the latest apparent demonstration by soldiers as the world's largest standing military modernizes and downsizes. Two demonstrators told Associated Press that they were veterans who wanted the government to address military pensions.

"They protested because they don't have a job after serving a long period of time in the army, some for a dozen years," Liu Feiyue, editor of the website Minsheng Guancha, which monitors civil rights issues, was quoted as saying in the report.

Protestors, wearing green camouflage uniforms, sang and waved China's flag and banners, Reuters reported.

Buses stretched down nearby streets, with police blocking the gaps between vehicles to obstruct the view of the tightly-packed demonstrators. Police vehicles also patrolled the area and individuals who appeared to be plainclothes police carried two-way radios. 

"Our rights and benefits to make the transition from military to civilian life have been violated," read a banner.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 that the military would cut 300,000 troops, which is about 13 percent of the 2.3 million-strong military force. The cut is expected to be carried out by the end of 2017.

In October 2015, China announced measures to improve the living standards of veterans through pension reforms. According to the notices, veterans will be retroactively eligible for a basic pension allowance and occupational pension allowance from October 1, 2014, both of which will be subsidized by the central government. 


Posted in: Society, Military

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