Text of report by Hong Kong Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on 28 June
[Six Hundred Retired Shandong Military Officers Collectively Appeal to Higher Authorities]
Our centre has learned that yesterday 600 retired Shandong military officers collectively went to the Shandong Yantai City Hall doors to petition, requesting resolution of work and life issues, and more than 100 public safety [police] went to the scene as a precaution. They demonstrated until noon and peaceably dispersed, and the retired military officers confirmed the news to us. Our centre also learned that in recent years the number of military court cases coming from various areas have increased, demonstrating that soldiers in the military committing crimes is becoming more and more serious.
According to what retired military officer Zhou Laisheng, who had participated in the appeal, said to us, yesterday morning, about 600 retired military officers mainly from the Yantai area met at the City Hall doors to petition, and they demonstrated until 1100 before peacefully dispersing. Some 100 public safety officers were there as a precaution, but no conflicts occurred.
Presently, there are about 950,000 retired military officers throughout the nation who have not been resettled, and a portion of the people among them that often appeals includes some retired deputy division captains. Because the retired military officers know classified military secrets, a portion of them who have received very good military training have extremely bold dispositions, and the Ministry of National Security has spent a vast amount of manpower and effort monitoring this bunch of retired officers. On 19 June, when 22 retired military officers were collectively appealing at the General Political Department in Beijing, three Beijing National Security Bureau personnel were on the scene monitoring.
According to one former Guangzhou Military Region Court military officer, who retired this year, since 2004, the number of individual cases from all over heard in military courts have been increasing 20 per cent or more each year, and last year there were 3,500 PLA officers or NCOs whose cases were heard by the military courts.
Our centre has learned that although the military court's hearing of claims not involving matters of secrecy could all be conducted openly, and the media could visit to listen, they have never had the media including Guangdong region open media dare to visit or report on criminal cases involving soldiers, and a portion of these cases involve the interests of the people of the city, for example military vehicles violating traffic laws and killing people of the city.
The increase in crimes by military persons also poses a threat to Olympics security. On 21 September 1994, Beijing garrison 3rd guard division Lieutenant Tian Mingjian, because his wife was forced to have an abortion and died, carried a gun into Beijing's Jianguomenwai embassy district and killed 23 people, and the Beijing garrison is one of the major forces protecting the Olympics.
Source: Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Hong Kong, in Chinese 28 Jun 08