The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954

Article 25 of the Common Program

May 15, 1950, the RMC decided to reduce the PLA to 3 million soldiers. This process has to elapse in two periods. The first phase, about 1,4 million soldiers have to leave service. This reduction has several goals, first of all to get rid of the ex-GMD soldiers whose loyalty is unsure. Secondly, to modernize the PLA and to establish the PLAN and PLAAF, money has to be saved on salary and logistics. Army officers who are transferred to the civilian sector, are entitled to a post equivalent to their military rank in terms of salary, level, and additional benefits. Many demobilized soldiers are assigned to coercive institutions and to political positions that require only low-level technical competence, such as the political department in a factory or workshop.
During the implementation of these policies, North Korea invades South Korea. See Article 54 The RMC decides to continue with the plan, but a few months later the demobilization stops and troops are gathered near the border with North Korea.
A demobilization committee has the task to organize the schema. Over 1000 Veteran Administration Offices are founded throughout the country. In mid- October 1950, these offices changed to recruiting offices for the war in Korea.
Phase two starts as soon as the Korean War allows reduction. Between 1952 and October 1953, about 2 million soldiers left the army and between 1954 and 1958 about 1,8 million. Most demobilized soldiers are women (totalling an estimated 764,000 or 25.3 percent), ex-GMD, elderly people, and physical weak. Specialists and young intellectuals are moved to important industrial projects.

The main characteristic of the general demobilization policy is resettlement. These means returning to the place of birth. This process is far from easy, because many recruits have joined the army to escape the poor conditions of their villages and they are unwilling to return. Other veterans have lost their entire families during the wars and arrive as ‘strangers ’in their village, sometimes they are adopted as a son by poor families because of the privileges they receive. 100.000 ex-soldiers are more or less deported to the province of Heilongjiang to exploit new farmland. Xinjiang is also an area where recruits are sent to. (See Article 2). Veterans who return home determine that their spouses have divorced or want to divorce. (See Article 6). During the civil war, and Japanese war several women are raped which also causes many domestic problems. The ACFDW tries to arrange marriages between handicapped ex-soldiers and widows.

Officers have the right to a new job with the same status, salary, and position. The ordinary soldiers, who are often low educated but have a long history as a party member, receive jobs in the political section of factories and workshops.
“Given their superior political standing, the CCP has expected them not merely to rejoin civilian society but to take leadership responsibilities in all areas of activity, both inside and outside the state machine. As a result, soldiers and ex-soldiers have been granted priority access to Party membership and cadre positions in the state and collective sectors. Ex-soldiers assigned to ordinary jobs, moreover, were expected to play a special political role as " models " (mofan) and " advanced people " (xianjin renwu) and take the lead (daitou) as pioneers.”.
In addition, they get priority in training and during the Land Reform “'landlord exemptions' were given to dependent families allowing those already holding land to retain, or in some cases gain, additional land beyond that of what regular households could hold. Large landholding, once common among official families, became the domain of military families.” . Sometimes benefit performances are held, for example, on August 1, 1949, when the movie star Shi Hui and a friend performed a xiangsheng comedy routine as part of a radio fund-raising event to benefit army veterans.
As we have seen in Article 20, about 30 percent of the PLA soldiers have a GMD background and to make things more complicated “During the Civil War, entire Nationalist units (many of whom fought very valiantly —and patriotically —against Japan) switched sides. These circumstances were quite complex, reflecting the chaos of war; shifting alliances between the CCP, Nationalists, warlords, and secret societies; and divided family alliances. Even death was complicated: as late as 1963 there were memorial sites that had Nationalist Party corpses mixed in with Communist Party martyrs.87 As a result, the PLA that emerged from the civil war in 1949 was a predominantly rural force but also included people who had a variety of class and social backgrounds, and so did its veterans.”
At the first national civil affairs conference in July 1950 the following duties for Civil Affairs Departments are laid down: “…, preferential treatment, resettlement of demobilized personnel, social relief, work relief, hardship subsidy, land administration, household registration, ..”. and at December 11, 1950, the government promulgates 5 provisional regulations which concern;
1.The families of revolutionary martyrs and revolutionary military personnel
2. Disabled revolutionary military personnel
3.The posthumous commendation of revolutionary military personnel who died in action or from illness, and for compensation for their families
4.The commendation of injured or killed revolutionary workers and compensation for their families
5.Injured militia and civilian laborers and to the families of those killed These regulations were based on the measures of 1932.

Although these regulations in theory improve the status and the compensation of the veterans “…but the general pattern suggests that “civilian” party officials either flatly refused to recognize, or at least pretended to refuse to recognize when it served their interest, veterans’ contributions (to fighting the Japanese or the United States), focusing instead on their anti-Communist history or (rarely existing) “class purity” as the most important method of evaluating political worthiness. In 1951, a report noted, veterans with “complicated” backgrounds languished without land, jobs, or housing for as long as a year; some lived in guesthouses and subsisted on welfare funds that were distributed to “ordinary” poor people,96 and in villages some of these veterans were immediately placed under surveillance.”.
Those veterans who acquired a job were “…usually (placed) at the lowest rung of the hierarchy— as apprentices and contract and temporary workers. Such placement meant that they earned less than workers who were younger but who had more skills and work experience, or were better educated. Veterans could have earned more to the extent that their units followed national salary regulations, which stated that veterans’ civilian job rank and salary scale should include their time in the army. cii” .
Demobilized PLA soldiers were employed by municipal bureaus of Public Security in the capital and in cities elsewhere, mostly inexperienced lower-level officers, "...many of them uncomfortable in their new role, were concerned that the “masters of New China” –which they took to mean the ordinary working-class men and women with whom they interacted on a daily basis – would become disenchanted with them, or that they would befall an even worse fate if they were found to be operating covert agent networks that for an outsider might be hard to distinguish from those that had been run by the Guomindang and the Japanese in the past.18".
"Disabled soldiers, police, militia and civilian workers hurt in combat as well as cadres of (the Minzhu dangpai) get relief, This relief was previously given in grain (1950-52) and from 1953, in cash, with payment dispensed twice yearly. Rates varied according to degree of disability, cause and residential status.".
Physical and mental problems are often not identified or treated “…lack of modern medical care and supplies also resulted in veterans with serious war-related disabilities, chronic diseases (…), posttraumatic stress disorder (then diagnosed as “insanity”), depression, or unexplained maladies.”.

Remarkable is the fact that there is/are no national or local representative organization(s), unlike in other (socialist) countries for the veterans in the People's Republic of China. There is no established mass organization for these veterans. "The PRC does have an Army Day (August 1) during which the state celebrates the achievements of the military and "comforts" (naiwen) military dependents, family members of revolutionary martyrs, and disabled veterans; but it is generally seen as a day to support mobilized soldiers and their families, not veterans.".
They have no representation in the national parades.

Shen (1998). Page 22 [↩] [Cite]
"Many of the recently opened offices simply changed their signs from Veteran Administration Office to New Recruitment Office, using the same staff at the same location.” Li (2007). Page 87 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2013). Page 12 [↩] [Cite]
White (1980). Page 189 [↩] [Cite]
Ross (2008). Page 18 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2010). Page 121 [↩] [Cite]
Wong (2005). Page 44 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2010). Pages 121-122 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2007). Page 21 [↩] [Cite]
Schoenhals (2012). Pages 54-55 [↩] [Cite]
Wong (1992). Page 170 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2006). Page 12 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2008). Page 149 note 2 [↩] [Cite]
"more-or-less standard pattern” in parades after 1951 gave representation to an honor guard. Young Pioneers, workers, peasants, government employees, urbanites, representatives from industrial and commercial sectors, students, artists and performers, and athletes." Hung (2007). Pages 417-418 [↩] [Cite]

Provisional regulations governing preferential treatment for members of the families of revolutionary martyrs and revolutionary military personnel. December 11, 1950.

Interpretation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in regard to revolutionary martyrs. October 15, 1950.

Provisional regulations governing preferential treatment and assistance for disabled revolutionary military personnel. December 11, 1950.

Provisional regulations governing posthumous decoration of revolutionary military personnel who died in line of duty or of natural causes, and also assistance to their families. December 11, 1950.

Provisional regulations governing the decoration of and assistance to wounded revolutionary workers, and assistance to the families of deceased revolutionary workers. December 11, 1950.

Provisional regulations governing assistance to wounded militiamen and civilian laborers and to the families of deceased militiamen and civilian laborers. December 11, 1950.

Directive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Political Department of the People’s Revolutionary Military Council on launching a campaign to support the government, love the people, support the armed forces, and give preferential treatment to members of the families of military personnel. December 22, 1950.

General decree of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the effect that members of families of young workers and students who have enrolled in military academies will be accorded the same preferential treatment as members of families of revolutionary military personnel. February 2, 1951.

Directive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on judging and selecting models for: members of the families of martyrs; members of the families of military personnel; revolutionary disabled military personnel; demobilized military personnel; and those who support the armed forces and give preferential treatment and assistance to members of the families of veterans. July 11, 1952.

Decision of the GAC on strengthening regular education in schools for revolutionary disabled military personnel. July 24, 1952.

Standard of 1953 for various kinds of preferential treatment and assistance to veterans and their families and to survivors of deceased veterans. January 22, 1953.

06-06-1950: 3rd Enlarged Plenum of the 7th CC

15-07-1950: 1st national civil affairs conference

Chapter 3 of Common Program