China deployed its army in Beijing earlier this week to intercept several thousand former military officers planning a petition to raise awareness about being mistreated after leaving the military.
Many former officers-turned-petitioners were arrested and detained before they could reach their destination.
To quell the protest, China’s 38th Field Army was deployed to the Beijing South Raiway Station with live ammunition, according to a witness. The 38th Field Army was one of the units used in the crack down during the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that left more than 2,000 dead, according to some estimates.
The petitioners wanted to protest the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to give out retirement funds or arrange jobs for them after they retire or leave the service.
Mr. Wang, a former military officer from Shandong Province who did not give his first name, told The Epoch Times that former military men who attempted to go to Beijing were detained before they could make their journey there.
Wang and his cohorts sought to organize several thousand former Chinese military officers to petition in Beijing and raise awareness of their plight, but only a few hundred actually made it to China’s capital city as many were intercepted before they could travel and put under house arrest.
A witness told the Sound of Hope (SOH) Radio Network, a mostly Chinese language station, that Beijing South Railway was locked down by the military on Monday and travelers were searched. At least 800 soldiers from the 38th Field Army were deployed, the witness added.
The soldiers had live ammunition, which “is unheard of,” the unnamed witness told SOH. “Weren’t they the units who carried out the Tiananmen Square massacre?”
Another former officer, Mr. Zhao, corroborated Mr. Wang’s account in an interview with Radio Free Asia, saying that many of the former military officers were detained in their homes.
The officers that did make it to Beijing, he said, were met by “lots of police officers who were waiting in front of the Central Military Commission and Military Museum.”
Perhaps as many as 940,000 military officers were not given jobs as promised after they left the military. These officers sought to petition in Beijing out of desperation, according to former officer Mr. Cao.
“[We] want the military demobilization policies to be enforced,” Cao, who retired in 1997, told SOH, referring to policies that would ensure he and other retired officers get work.
“I have petitioned for 19 years over this matter, but it has been fruitless,” he added.
Another ex-officer, who was not named, told the station that he blames corruption within China’s Communist Party Central Command for not allocating retirement funds to former officers. He said they have received no money.
The money that retired military officers were slated to receive, he said, was merely divided among local officials and embezzled.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.