Call For Army To Fight Graft

Retired officers say the Chinese military should step in to take on corruption.

2012-02-23
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officerprotest305.jpg Nearly 800 former army officers gather in Kunming to demand better treatment, June 28, 2011.
Photo courtesy of Msguancha.com

Disgruntled veterans of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) are continuing a nationwide campaign ahead of annual parliamentary meetings in Beijing next month to fight official corruption, calling publicly for the military to intervene to fight graft.

The petitioners, retired army and navy officers who have spent many years petitioning for better benefits and conditions in retirement, staged a protest on Wednesday outside the joint headquarters of the PLA in Beijing, carrying placards and shouting slogans, rights activists said.

"These people have been petitioning to protect their rights and to battle corruption," said Huang Qi, the Sichuan-based founder of the Tianwang rights website. "Some of them are about injuries they received while in the forces."

One petitioner, Tan Linshu, said he had been campaigning since 1997 over fraud linked to the development of a torpedo control system, which won his superiors numerous prizes and accolades.

"These people have all been promoted and got rich, and hold high-ranking positions in the research and development department," Tan said. "They will be able to hold on to their power in high-ranking posts for a long time now."

"I am protesting that no one has dealt with my allegations of faked-up results and fraud ... Their results were fake," he said.

Army angst

Tan said the group arrived outside the gates of the PLA headquarters at around 11:00 a.m., and remained there for around 40 minutes, before the police came over and moved them on.

But he said that many people had seen the petitioners' banners and taken photos and video of the scene.

Huang said the other petitioners were mostly claiming compensation for injuries received while on duty in the PLA's research and testing units.

Last July, around 800 former army officers gathered outside the Kunming municipal government offices in the southwestern province of Yunnan, holding banners congratulating the Party on its 90th birthday, but also protesting against what they say is unfair treatment at its hands.

Many PLA veterans are too frightened to talk to the media, for fear of reprisals.

Retired military personnel have been cited by officials and activists as a highly sensitive sector of the population, who might swing a tide of public opinion in their favor and against the ruling Communist Party, because of their proven loyalty to Party and country.

The sensitivity around military retirees suggests that many are afraid of politicizing their cause through contact with foreign media.

Reported by Lin Ping for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Anonymous says:
Feb 24, 2012 01:34 AM

Corruption will dig the grave for the regime if it persists...

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