Thousands of Chinese military veterans stage protest seeking higher pensions

Some veterans were even stopped outside Beijing from entering the Chinese capital in order to stop them from taking part in the protestsJason Lee/Reuters

Thousands of Chinese military veterans staged protests in central Beijing on Wednesday (22 February), demanding more pensions. The retired personnel said most of the benefits promised by the government have not been delivered.

Most of them were seen wearing their uniforms of People's Liberation Army (PLA) as they gathered outside the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). The campaigners were shouting slogans and singing military songs. The rally underscores the country's troubles in handling retired personnel.

"We have suffered injustice for our country for the past 20 or 30 years. Because of [an] illegal regulation, we have been left in poverty and hardship. We have no jobs, no income, no status and nowhere to live," one veteran was seen telling the crowd in the video footage, reports the Radio Free Asia. "We are non-people, and now we are being targeted for stability maintenance."

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So far, the CCDI, which is the government's anti-corruption wing, has not released any information regarding the matter. Similar demonstrations were also reported outside other government buildings such as the ministry of civil affairs. The protesters were quickly dispersed by the communist party's officials.

However, as the videos suggest, serving military officials did not try to disturb the gathering in some spots.

"It used to be as volunteer soldiers, when we returned home we had land. Now we don't have jobs, no retirement pension, we have nothing," a former volunteer soldier named Zhao Xinyue told Reuters. The latest demonstrations have been going on for about two days.

This is not the first time protests are taking place for the military pensions. But, Chinese government authorities are likely to be concerned as the scattered protests are growing into organised marches and are gaining momentum.

Some veterans were also stopped at checkpoints outside the Chinese capital before taking part in the latest rallies. Even in October 2016, hundreds of former military personnel thronged Beijing with similar demands.

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