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China Reform Monitor - No. 1251

PLA veterans stage protest for better benefits;
More tigers and flies fall amid anti-corruption campaign

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
October 21, 2016


September 30:

Former Guangzhou Party Secretary Wan Qingliang has received a life sentence after confessing to accepting 111 million yuan ($16.6 million) in bribes, while former Jinan Party Secretary Wang Min has received a 12-year sentence after confessing to accepting 18 million yuan. Both men were placed under investigation in late 2014 and haven't appeared in public since. The sentences, particularly Wang's, are less severe than those received by some lower-level officials who took smaller sums. Wan, who became party secretary of Guangzhou in 2011 after serving as the city's mayor, was a rising star until the investigation brought him down. While in office, he portrayed himself as leading a frugal life, 
the Wall Street Journal reports.

[Editor's Note: The Central Committee, including more than 200 members of the party elite, will gather next month to update disciplinary rules for the party's 88.7 million members. It is widely suspected that the revised code of conduct will be far stricter.]

October 9:

Amid Xi Jinping's ongoing crackdown on corruption in the CPC, Bai Enpei, a former top national lawmaker and once the Party Secretary of Yunnan and Qinghai has been given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve for graft. The Intermediate People's Court in Anyang, Henan, found Bai guilty of taking "a huge amount of bribes" and possessing a large amount of income from unidentified sources. All his personal assets were confiscated. Suspended death sentences are usually reverted to life imprisonment after two years with good behavior, 
AP reports. Bai becomes the first CPC official ineligible for parole due to a 2015 amendment to the criminal law, which bars anybody sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking "extremely huge amounts of bribes and causing huge losses" from parole or a reduced sentence. 

October 10:

Zhou Benshun, former Hebei party boss and a one-time top aide to disgraced security chief Zhou Yongkang, has been charged with abusing his power and taking bribes, 
South China Morning Post reports. Zhou Benshun will be tried in the Xiamen People's Intermediate Court in Fujian. Meanwhile, Yang Dongliang, the former national work safety chief who was taken away while investigating the Tianjin blasts in August last year, was charged with taking bribes and embezzlement. He will be tried in the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court.

October 11:

Government authorities have banned the republishing of Caixin, one of China's most outspoken official news outlets. The following censorship instructions have been issued to the media, leaked, and distributed online via the China Digital Times. "Notice: Over the past year, Caixin Online has repeatedly violated news and propaganda discipline and published reports with problematic orientations whose re-publication elsewhere has had a seriously negative influence. After some deliberation, it has been decided that Caixin Online's inclusion on the ‘List of News Work Units Approved for Online Republication' is suspended for two months from October 11, during which time other websites may not repost its content." The suspension will cut off an important revenue stream for Caixin. 

[Editor's Note: Directives are often communicated orally to journalists and editors and sometimes instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China.]

More than 1,000 veterans in green camouflage fatigues protested in front of China's Defense Ministry in Beijing calling for better benefits. Hundreds of police and plainclothes officers kept watch, maintaining a security cordon around the protesters with tape, police vehicles and buses. Beijing is demobilizing 300,000 troops from the 2.3 million-strong PLA, the biggest cut in two decades. At least six million PLA veterans are on state welfare, thousands of whom have staged protests in recent years over insufficient support. At an annual parliamentary meeting in March, the government pledged to spend 39.8 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) this year on allowances for demobilized troops, a 13% increase over 2015. Beijing has pledged subsidies to former soldiers and jobs at state-run firms, but veterans say local authorities sometimes fail to follow through. Other times the central government doesn't allocate enough money to localities to fund welfare programs for demobilized troops,
 the Wall Street Journal reports
.


Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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