China detains 10 after October protests by military veterans

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese authorities in the eastern province of Shandong have detained 10 people who were involved in protests by military veterans in early October, state media said on Sunday.

Grievances over military pensions and other benefits have been a long-running issue in China and there have been sporadic organized protests in recent years.

Early last year hundreds of military veterans demonstrated in central Beijing for two days, demanding unpaid retirement benefits.

State television said the Oct. 4-7 protests took place in Shandong’s Pingdu city, when some 300 people from different parts of China gathered “under the banner of being military veterans” for what it called an illegal demonstration.

The protesters fought with police and damaged vehicles, the report added, citing the Ministry of Public Security.

The government has repeatedly promised to treat veterans better, and this year set up a Ministry of Veterans Affairs as part of a broader reshuffle of ministerial departments.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in 2015 the People’s Liberation Army would cut troop levels by 300,000, aiming to make the bulk of the reductions by the end of 2017, which the government has said has already been broadly achieved.

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