Caring for veterans is no easy task. Even with an annual budget of $200 billion and a staff of 280,000, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs still finds it difficult to handle its enormous mission.
China already has around 57 million veterans and is trying to further downsize its Forces. As China started implementing its military reforms, resettling veterans has become a top challenge. Xi Jinping has realized that, if not handled properly, Veterans in the wrong hands have the potential to derail all his reforms.
Thus the Chinese government at all levels from Politburo, Central Military Commission, Provincial Govts, City Councils down to Village Councils, all have been involved in resettling veterans and prioritize their interests.
On March 19, 2018, the Government of the People’s Republic of China announced that the Ministry of Veterans Affairs has been created at the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress. That same day, Sun Shaocheng was elected Minister of Veterans Affairs. The Ministry of Veterans Affairs is a ministry of the government of the People’s Republic of China which is responsible for military veterans in the country. It was formed on 19 March 2018. Some of its responsibilities come from Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission and Logistic Support Department of the Central Military Commission.
The new veterans ministry has been tasked with establishing a centralized system and policies to handle pensions, retirement benefits, and other needs including helping former military personnel find jobs, which is quite a challenge seeing the vast numbers and the economic down trend. However appropriate arrangements for veterans at National level is required to demonstrate that society has never forgotten their sacrifices, and would always make military service an honorable vocation.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.
As a next step now China has now established the state service center for veterans at all levels of the Government which will fully strive to support veterans’ employment, improve their welfare and guarantee their rights and interests. The service center for ex-servicemen will mainly help them find jobs or start up their own businesses, and assist them with preferential treatments. As a key component of the veterans’ service and security system, the center will undertake work such as dealing with petition letters and visits of veterans, as per the Xinhua News Agency.
The service center for veterans will be fully established at all levels from provinces to villages in China, which reflects the government’s increasing attention on the placement of ex-servicemen after the Ministry of Veterans Affairs was set up in 2018.
China is now paying more attention to helping ex-servicemen with new jobs. For example, of the veterans who accepted government placement, more than 80 percent have been given new positions in government organs, public institutions and state-owned companies. More than 80,000 former military officers were offered civilian jobs and over 400,000 retired soldiers were resettled in 2018 by local governments, said Wang Zhiming, a spokesman for the ministry.
The newly established center will also attempt to resolve the appeals of veterans who had disputes with local governments over their placement. Conflict between the organs of the State and Veterans have to be avoided at all costs.