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    » 03/24/2009, 00.00

    CHINA

    Pay raise of 50% for Chinese soldiers



    The large increase is believed to be a reward for the army's hard work in 2008 in ensuring security for the Olympics, helping earthquake victims in Sichuan, and handling the protests in Tibet. For the government, it is important to support the morale of the troops, who are increasingly being sent to repress social protests.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The salaries of 2.3 million servicemen and women of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will be raised by 50%, in recognition of their hard work in 2008 and in order to keep their morale high in the face of social protests and the problematic anniversaries of 2009.

    The newspaper South China Morning Post cites a retired high official in Shanghai, who says that "all ordinary soldiers and officers will receive 50 percent increases, while colonel-level officials will get 30 percent and generals 20 percent. It means a recruit will receive around 1,000 yuan (about 100 euros) a month of basic salary ... while senior colonels get more than 10,000 yuan and major generals up to 18,000 yuan." He adds that "the money was supposed to be allocated by the beginning of this year. But the appropriation was suspended because the central government was busy collecting funds for Sichuan earthquake relief work."

    The armed police, who are part of the army, will also benefit from the increase. It is intended to be a reward for the efficient work of the PLA in 2008, in all of the most serious or important situations: relief efforts in the Sichuan earthquake, security at the Beijing Olympics, and the violent repression of the protests in Tibet.

    Salaries for soldiers were doubled in 2006 after remaining stagnant for about 20 years. With this increase, they will be about 20% higher than salaries for civil servants on a similar level.

    Analysts observe that the armed police and the soldiers who perform police functions often receive bonuses from the local governments. They believe that in rich areas, like Shanghai and Guangdong, soldiers receive much more than those deployed in Tibet or Qinghai, where today they must confront the protests of Tibetans.

    In March, Li Zhaoxing, a spokesman for the National People's Congress, announced that military spending will rise by 14.9% in 2009, with 480.7 billion yuan set aside for weapons, salaries, and defensive infrastructure.

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    See also

    03/03/2009 CHINA
    Jia Qinling: Maintaining order and social stability in Tibet
    The Political Consultative Conference is underway, and the National People's Congress meets in two days. The Chinese leader calls for maintaining the "harmonious society," urging that workers not be fired and their pay not be withheld in the face of a deepening economic crisis. Repression of the Tibetans has been approved. Beijing is under tighter police control than it was during the Olympics.

    14/03/2007 CHINA
    More troops to quash Hunan protests
    The violent clashes which led to the death of a student were born out of protests against the increase in public transport costs. Soldiers are drafted from Guangzhou, to contol the area.

    09/08/2008 CHINA
    In prison for defending victims of earthquake in Sichuan
    The activist Huang Qi has been under arrest for two months, after protecting the parents of the students who died under the collapsed schools. But with the inauguration of the Olympics, all are expressing their solidarity with the victims of the earthquake.

    30/07/2008 CHINA
    Repression continues: four years in prison for defending the rights of the dispossessed
    The lawyer Liu Yao is accused of "fomenting violence", but responds that he only did his job, and that the evidence of alleged damage is "false". Meanwhile, a teacher is going to forced labor for one year, with no trial or appeal, for photographing the collapsed schools in Sichuan and putting the images on the web.

    04/08/2008 CHINA
    Beijing gets a blue sky, demonstrators get beaten and activists get arrested
    Beijing welcomes foreign athletes under a blue sky. Police stop demonstrators from talking to journalists. A pro-democracy activist is reported arrested by police. Journalists must make a “reservation” if they want to cover Tiananmen Square. Torch relay reaches a devastated Sichuan where there is no electricity.



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