Appropriate arrangements show 'society values sacrifices'
China has taken concrete measures to deal with resettlement issues of veterans, including providing jobs for demobilized soldiers in government institutions and State-owned companies to better protect their interests, officials at the Ministry of Veterans Affairs said on Tuesday.
The ministry is working to increase subsides for veterans, assist them in starting their own businesses or provide jobs for demobilized soldiers, Sun Shaocheng, the minister of veteran affairs, told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Veterans Affairs came into being on April 16, and is in charge of providing policies and regulations on demobilized military personnel, honoring the dedication and spirit of veterans, and dealing with veterans' retirement, reemployment and vocational training issues, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said that "focusing on the resettlement issues of veterans ahead of the 91th anniversary [August 1] of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is significant as more than 50 million veterans in China are involved."
"Taking measures to better resettle veterans would also help stabilize the military, as active-duty soldiers would not have to worry about life when they retire," Xu told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday that "veterans have made great sacrifices for the country and they deserve respect. China needs to pass laws to protect veterans' interests."
As China implements military reforms, resettling veterans remains a challenge and governments at all levels should be involved in resettling veterans and prioritize their interests, Song said.
Appropriate arrangements for veterans will show that society has never forgotten their sacrifices, and would make military service an honorable vocation, Song said.
Fang Yongxiang, vice minister of veterans affairs, said at the press conference on Tuesday that problems involving the resettlement of veterans include how to fully implement resettlement policies, identify veterans, set standards for subsides and help those living under difficult circumstances.
A former military officer surnamed Wang, who served in the PLA for more than 20 years and lives in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the government has taken measures to improve the lives of veterans, but that some problems need to be solved.
This includes helping many veterans start a new life, which is not easy since they find it difficult to get jobs compatible with their army training, Wang said.
Fang noted that the ministry has issued a guideline on arranging jobs for veterans, requiring government institutions and State-owned companies to help more than 80 percent of veterans who meet certain requirements, and offer monthly subsides to veterans before they get a job.
In response to reports that veterans staged protests to appeal for their requests, Fang said that the ministry attaches great importance to petitions from veterans, and has conducted surveys on how to better protect their legal interests.
He noted that they should believe that the Party and government care about veterans and will help solve their problems in accordance with the laws and rules.
"We oppose complaining in extreme ways or taking collective action," Fang said.
"We hope that every veteran would follow the rules and laws… and avoid acting on impulse or violate the law, which would affect social stability… or be taken advantage by others," Fang said.
Fang added that the ministry is working to improve communication with veterans and has opened an online channel for veterans to apply for their petitions and check the implementation of relevant policies.
The ministry's website, mva.gov.cn, started functioning on Tuesday and will release information and policies on veterans and timely respond to their concerns.