CHINA—About 2,000 people gathered outside the Municipal People's Congress in Yantai City, Shandong Province to protest government corruption on the morning of May 28.
Most of the appellants were ex-military service cadres, retired workers, and unemployed persons. They were appealing against corruption generally, and specifically about 14 proposed changes that had been overlooked or ignored by the local administration for two years.
Ex-military cadre Zhou Laisheng said, “Despite the very hot weather, about 2,000 people gathered outside the Municipal People's Congress. The government sent 300 policemen to guard the site because the appeal attracted a huge number of people. The traffic around the People's Congress was blocked for three and a half hours.”
A retired worker told an Epoch Times journalist that they brought up the 14 issues to the authorities years ago, but the authorities did not respond to them at all. They then organized a mass appeal to get pensions raised. The government had proposed a “Sunshine Project” to offer 5,000 yuan (approximately US$603.84) per year, but many people did not get anything. They have not received any compensation for the last two years
Another representative for the retired workers said, “Retired employees and ex-military cadres from more than 70 units in the entire city have come. We asked them to address the 14 requirements we proposed, but the police did not let us in. We were very angry, and some of us pushed down the first automatic door. We entered the courtyard of the National People's Congress and many police blocked the entrance to prevent people from entering. They told us to select representatives for the government to talk to.”
The appellants waited until 10:40 a.m. but no government officials came out to speak to the appellants. Appellants passed around the materials such as “Duties and Rights,” “Urgent Calls for Rights of the Retired Workers in the Entire City,” to call for all people to unite together and fight against corruption and protect their rights to the end.
An Ex-military service cadre Zhou Laisheng said “The government said that it had solved the most urgent problems that the people were most concerned about. In fact, nothing has been solved. If you appeal, the government will send the police to arrest you. I left the military more than 10 years ago and I have been unemployed for 7-8 years and I have not received any income.”
One unemployed worker told the journalist, “I really want to die together with those corrupt government officials who don't work for people. The compensation for retired and unemployed workers is so low that we cannot afford to send our children to school, see a doctor, or have a place to live. The houses assigned to the government officials, however, are getting more luxurious. And their office buildings are getting more oppulant. How can this kind of society be harmonious?”
While the people became more and more furious, the authorities sent the Vice-Secretary and bureau-level cadre to talk with the representatives.
The reporter called the Office of Yantai City People's Congress, but no one answered.
The petitioners left about 12:00 p.m. The Epoch Times will track down the people concerned and follow up on this incident.