100 Million Ex-Servicemen Called to Protest at Tiananmen Square

June 27, 2009 5:11 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 9:41 pm
Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Ex-servicemen and their families have been asked to expose the corruption in both the government and the military in China. (Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Ex-servicemen and their families have been asked to expose the corruption in both the government and the military in China. (Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Ex-servicemen and their families—numbering 100 million—have been asked to expose the widespread phenomenon of corruption in both the government and the military in China.

A recent posting at Tiexue Forum (a Chinese military affairs Web site) revealed that 200 veterans from the Fourth Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were called upon to launch a protest at Mao Zedong Memorial Hall on Tiananmen Square.

The posting indicated that there are 60 million veterans including their families and 40 million retired military staff including their families in China. The vast majority of these 100 million people are living in poverty. A few million of them are better off, but are also oppressed.

Military Veterans Encounter Discrimination

One of the veterans from the Fourth Headquarters of the PLA was quoted as saying that it is the ones who retired early who became the most vulnerable. Their benefits are inferior to the Armed Police lieutenants. In general, they have encountered discrimination in housing and property rights. They are provided with low quality housing in remote areas where the medical services are poor.

“The 200 of us have risked our lives while serving the People’s Republic. We have now become the victims of stringent control under the bureaucratic bourgeoisie scum of the Central Military Commission, and we live in hardship. Most of those who left the army were laid-off. Worst of all, tens of millions of soldiers and militia who returned to the rural areas are struggling in the most devastating situations and are facing extreme hardships.”

The posting also criticizes the wide spread of brothels in China. “Many villages where these veterans live have become places of prostitution. Younger generations are either forced to become prostitutes or are exploited by the slave factories. Many of them even engage in the gangsters’ activities.”

Active duty soldiers don’t share equal opportunities. The PLA officially withdrew from public business activities and conducted prostitution secretly with the military budget. Innocent female soldiers are exploited as stationed prostitutes. The Armed Police forces openly engage in night club activities and smuggle drugs.

Veterans are Urged to Protest on ‘Sensitive Days’

For the proposed protest, all participants were invited to go to Tiananmen Square to attend Mao’s memorial service in uniform with their military medals, white flowers, and black armbands. “During the long wait, it’s a perfect time to tell the public of the corruption. All comrades are invited to Beijing. We should do it every day.”

It was also proposed that everyone particularly make an effort to go to Tiananmen Square on  “sensitive days,” such as  July 1, the birthday of the CCP; August 1, PLA Day; and September 9, Mao Zedong Memorial Day.

Among the hundreds of thousands of protests which took place all over China in 2009, this was the first time that ex-servicemen and their families were called to Tiananmen Square. In particular, it draws attention to the upcoming sensitive days for the CCP.