Hundreds of Military Veterans Make Appeals in Beijing
CHINA – On the morning of May 11, over 700 demobilized veterans appealed at the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army. Police were mobilized to enforce martial law on site.
By 10 a.m. in the morning, an appellant (non-military) passing by the PLA's General Political Department indicated that there were around 600 to 700 demobilized servicemen present at the time. They wore the PLA's green uniform, were lined up neatly and sitting on the four-meter-wide street and around it. Some of them were holding signs but there was no shouting of slogans.
The police drew up a security line to stop people from entering the area. An appellant who was forced to make a detour said that when he passed by at around 11a.m., he saw a large crowd of appealing military men spread out in front of the main gate and its surroundings. According to some passersby, there could have been as many as 1,000 military appellants at that time.
On April 11 last year, over 1,000 veterans have gathered here making appeals for inadequate retirement benefits.
Today a local resident said that when more than 1,000 retired servicemen appealed here last year, officials from the General Political Department were still summoning the retired soldiers one by one for negotiations at two o'clock the next morning. Apparently the government did not follow through on the promises it made last year, prompting new demonstrations.
Around noontime these appealing veterans began to eat their packed lunches.
Recently, there has been an increasing number of appellants coming to Beijing from all parts of the country, and the authorities have assigned a large team of officials to stop them from making appeals. On the morning of April 11, two to three hundred officials gathered in the long deep alley in front of the Petitions office of the Politics and Law Committee. They stopped every appellant to question where they were from. Those who came from outside of Beijing were often arrested. Even so, there were still five to six hundred appellants from various parts of the country gathered in the courtyard of the petition office on the morning of April 11.
Every morning the petition office of the Supreme People's Procuratorate hands out 80 numbers for application forms. Only those with a number will be given an application form, which they then fill out, submit and wait for an official to handle his appeal. In order to get a number, some appellants start queuing up as early as the night before.
On April 10, the courtyards of both the State Council and the National People's Congress petition offices were also packed with five to six hundred appellants. At the Zhongnanhai Xinhua gate, hundreds of appellants are arrested and sent to Fuyou street police station everyday even though there are police cars on standby all the time. Normally, local Beijing residents taken to the Fuyou police station would be sent home by the local police while appellants from outside Beijing would be sent to Majialou – an appellant escorting center- waiting to be escorted back to their home town.
Many appellants who appeal frequently seek for more effective means than simply appealing at the petition offices to redress their injustices. Hence everyday there are people protesting on Tiananmen Square, Zhongnanhai, Yuquanshan (where the villas of China's Central Military Commission is situated,) United Nations human rights bureau, etc. Recently, appellants started to voice their grievances, for which they are unable to seek redress for under the tyranny of the Communist regime, to foreign tourists at famous tourist attractions such as the Great Wall.