A demobilized soldier from a branch of the armed police force in Guigang, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, bursts into tears while bidding farewell to his comrade-in-arms. [Photo/sipa]
The central government recently increased benefits for People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police Force veterans and family members of military personnel, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs said.
The ministry worked with 19 government and departments of the Communist Party of China, including the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the National Development and Reform Commission, to produce a set of measures to improve benefits for veterans, relatives of military members and other people eligible for favorable treatment.
The measures, detailed in a document published on Tuesday, aim to boost public respect for veterans and military families and increase the attractiveness of military careers, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Guidelines listed in the document cover almost all elements of daily life, ranging from medical care, housing and education to transportation and leisure activities.
Members of the armed forces, military retirees and other qualified people will be given priority and favorable policies at designated elderly-care centers or hospitals. They will also be given free admission or discounts at museums, parks and other tourism sites.
In addition, military personnel will enjoy free rides on city buses, subway trains and other public transport, and their family members will have priority when they travel by train, ship or plane, the document said.
China has taken a host of measures over the past two years to improve benefits for veterans and military members' families.
Last February, the National Veterans Service Center was set up in Beijing. It is tasked with supporting and assisting veteran employment and businesses; helping retirees and their families who are in need; surveying and visiting veterans; handling veterans' complaints and petitions; and safeguarding their interests and rights.
Since then, veteran service centers or stations have been established at every administrative level, from community to provincial.
The central government has also published guidelines meant to help veterans find civilian jobs or start their own businesses.
Under the guidelines, each veteran is eligible for two years of free vocational training and will receive a living allowance during the training period. Employers are urged to give preference to veterans in recruitment, set lower requirements for job applicants who have served in the military and arrange periodic training for any veteran they hire.
Enterprises that hire veterans can be eligible for tax benefits if they meet certain criteria.
Authorities at the county government level and above are urged to organize at least two job fairs for military retirees each year, the guidelines stipulate.
Moreover, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs has requested better protection of veterans' rights at all levels of government.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, about 58 million military personnel have re-entered civilian life, according to official statistics.