02/23/2017, 14.14
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Beijing, army veterans protest: abandoned by the government

Since yesterday thousands have been protesting in front of the Party offices in the biggest demonstration since October. Promises made and not kept, "We have nothing, are in poverty and distress." Arrests and violence in Liulihe, Aiminjie, Datong, Luliang and Harbin.


Beijing (AsiaNews / RFA) - Thousands of veterans of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been demonstrating since yesterday in front of the Central Commission on disciplinary investigations (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing. They are protesting against the government’s failure to deliver on promises made on pensions, healthcare and other demobilization benefits.

The protesters, wearing the uniforms of their original units and divisions, have lined the streets surrounding the offices of the Party and invite the President Xi Jinping to take action on their grievances.

"Because of an illegal regulation, we are left in poverty and hardship – protest the veterans - We have no job, no income, status and no place to live."

The demonstrators refer to the reforms that have affected the Chinese military and that led, in recent decades, the demobilization of millions of soldiers in the name of "modernization" of the army. These military reforms, however,  have not been followed by policies aimed at the reintegration of veterans in Chinese society.

The veterans underscore the strong legal basis for their protest. Clause 3 of the Regulations for military pensions obliges local governments to ensure that the standard of living of demobilized soldiers will not fall below the average.

The protest, the largest in the Chinese capital since last October, is taking place under the eyes of many police officers in uniform who so far seem unwilling to disperse the crowd. However, in other parts of the country clashes and arrests were made.

Many people who wanted to take part in the demonstration were stopped before reaching Beijing, suburbs and places like Aiminjie, Datong, Luliang and Harbin. Others have suffered violence and detentions. In Liulihe four veterans were assaulted by the police yesterday and now find themselves in the hospital.

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