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Ministry of Veterans Affairs

The Ministry of Veterans Affairs is in charge of making and implementing policies and regulations related to demobilized military personnel and dealing with related affairs such as their reemployment and training. Its establishment aims to protect the rights and interests of military personnel and their families, improve services and management systems for demobilized military personnel, and promote public respect for military service as an occupation.

The ministry, which was inaugurated in April, is a new establishment in the wide-ranging Party and state institutional reform. The Ministry of Veterans Affairs came into being on April 16, and is in charge of providing policies and regulations on demobilized military personnel, honoring the dedication and spirit of veterans, and dealing with veterans' retirement, reemployment and vocational training issues.

China is considering drafting a law on veterans welfare and a guideline on the work related to veterans in the new era, minister of veterans affairs Sun Shaocheng said 31 July 2018. The Ministry of Veterans Affairs was reviewing all policies and regulations regarding veterans affairs since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Sun told a news briefing by the State Council Information Office.

China has decided to issue plaques of honor before May 1, 2019 to tens of millions of families who had or have loved ones in military service, Sun said. The plaques had been reserved only for families of martyrs and volunteer military personnel. The ministry will help more than 80,000 ex-servicemen and women and nearly 40,000 veterans find jobs this year, the minister said.

According to a circular issued by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, pension allowances for disabled soldiers, police officers, state officials, and militia members as well as for family members of martyrs and deceased soldiers will increase by 10 percent from 01 August 2018.

As China implements military reforms, resettling veterans remains a challenge and governments at all levels should be involved in resettling veterans and prioritize their interests. The move aims to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of military personnel and their families, improve the service and management system of retired military personnel, and make military careers more respectable.

It is part of the plan on institutional restructuring of the State Council, which was submitted to the ongoing first session of the 13th National People's Congress for review. Responsibilities of the proposed ministry will include making and implementing policies and regulations related to retired military personnel, handling retirement, reemployment and vocational training affairs for veterans, coordinating government departments' support for military personnel and their families, and maintaining military cemeteries and hosting commemorative events, according to the plan.

Previously, a number of government and military departments-the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and two bodies under the Central Military Commission-political work and logistic support departments-are involved in the management of military veterans affairs. Their authority and responsibilities pertaining to retired military personnel were transferred to the new ministry if its establishment is approved by lawmakers.

Under the new plan, monthly payments to sick veterans will increase from 500 yuan to 550 yuan (U.S. $73 to $81), while veterans who have served in combat will also receive an extra 50 yuan (U.S. $8) per month, bringing their stipend to 600 yuan (U.S. $89), the ministry of veterans' affairs said in a joint statement with the finance ministry on 27 July 2018. Meanwhile, the annual pension for those disabled by wounds sustained in combat will rise by nine percent to 80,140 yuan (U.S. $11,758).

The government has taken measures to improve the lives of veterans, but that some problems need to be solved. This includes helping many veterans start a new life, which is not easy since they find it difficult to get jobs compatible with their army training. The ministry has issued a guideline on arranging jobs for veterans, requiring government institutions and State-owned companies to help more than 80 percent of veterans who meet certain requirements, and offer monthly subsides to veterans before they get a job. In response to reports that veterans staged protests to appeal for their requests, the ministry attaches great importance to petitions from veterans, and has conducted surveys on how to better protect their legal interests.

Former members of China's military staged a massive protest 11 October 2016 in front of the Defense Ministry in Beijing to express dissatisfaction with their treatment. Eyewitnesses said about 1,000 people, including veterans dressed in camouflage fatigues, took part in the rally outside the ministry building. Those who fought in the 1979 war against Vietnam were among the demonstrators. They complained that they cannot find a job and their lives are hard. Police stayed on guard till late evening as many of the protesters remained there.

China has occasionally seen such protests, but a large-scale demonstration by veterans in Beijing is rare. The Chinese leadership pushed ahead with a restructuring of its armed forces, including a cut of about 300,000 personnel from the People's Liberation Army announced in 2015. Observers said the rally was a sign that former service members felt uneasy about their treatment in the future.

China's ruling Communist Party has promised a boost to benefits paid to veterans of its People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the wake of mounting nationwide protests by thousands of former soldiers who say they've been sold short since demobilization. Veterans had been staging protests across the country ahead of Aug. 1, anniversary of the PLA's founding in 1927, gathering in Henan and Sichuan provinces since the beginning of the year, and converging in their thousands on Jiangsu's Zhenjiang city in a highly organized demonstration in June 2018.

Fang Yongxiang, vice minister for veterans' affairs, warned against "extreme" forms of petitioning by former PLA soldiers, however. "We should actively prevent the occurrence of social instability due to temporary impulses, especially violations of law and discipline," he told a news conference. Ministry official Sun Shaoxi confirmed that the ministry had received nearly 20,000 petitions in around 100 days since its founding.



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Page last modified: 04-08-2018 18:05:07 ZULU