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Experts urge greater veterans’ welfare

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Local governments around China have released new regulations concerning the reemployment and welfare of veterans amid increasing calls for better protection of retired soldiers' interests.

On June 21, the Weicheng district government in East China's Shandong Province announced 165 public welfare positions for retired soldiers.

Separately, on June 2, the government of Zhaoqing in South China's Guangdong Province released a notice offering retired soldiers a chance for free education at vocational schools for two years.

All these policies are part of the central government's efforts to improve veterans' welfare. Chinese experts on Wednesday urged local governments to strictly implement government policies that protect the veterans' welfare.

In 2017, a new regulation said that over 80 percent of demobilized soldiers should be assigned jobs in administrative organs, public institutes or State-owned enterprises.

As for older veterans, the government launched a project called "Action Zero Clearing" in February, promising to examine the situation of all soldiers who were demobilized after 1978 and who meet the job criteria. Those who failed to get jobs were promised resettlement. In March, the central government released a plan to set up a ministry dedicated to dealing with veterans' affairs.

A veteran surnamed Wang from Hebei Province told the Global Times that after retiring in 2012, he was assigned work at a local railway company. He said that his comrades were assigned stable jobs and most were in companies. "Those who stay in the army longer are given priority in choosing a job," Wang said.

In May, the provincial government of Jiangxi announced that the province had accepted 1,277 demobilized officers, an increase of 53 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, the government resettled over 17,000 retired soldiers and trained over 9,300 who chose to accept government subsidy and seek a job on their own.

Another retired soldier surnamed Chen, who started a business using government subsidies, said the government also established training centers for them to gain computer and engineering skills.

However, due to reforms within State-owned enterprises and the failure of some local governments to implement the policy, many veterans lost their jobs and could not find a new job or receive pensions, said Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.

Chen added that many of the training centers supported by the government also failed to teach veterans practical skills.

In 2014, hundreds of veterans who served in battles or conflicts after the Korean War (1950-53) or in China's nuclear experiments demonstrated in Beijing, asking for better retirement benefits.

"After the veterans' affairs ministry is established, the problems will be solved if local governments strictly implement the policy," Li told the Global Times.



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