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 are entitled to new positions with equivalent status, salary, and authority. Conversely, ordinary soldiers, often with limited education but a lengthy history as party members, are typically placed in the political departments of factories and workshops. Due to their elevated political standing, the CCP anticipates that they will not only reintegrate into civilian life but also assume leadership roles in various sectors, both within and outside the state apparatus. Consequently, soldiers and former soldiers are given priority access to Party membership and administrative positions in state and collective enterprises. Additionally, ex-soldiers assigned to regular positions are expected to serve as "models" and "exemplary individuals," taking the initiative as pioneers in their communities. Furthermore, they receive preferential treatment in training and during the Land Reform process. Dependent families were granted "landlord exemptions," enabling those already possessing land to maintain, and sometimes even acquire, additional land beyond the limits imposed on regular households. Large land holdings, previously prevalent among bureaucratic families, shifted to military families' possession. 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 throughout the Civil War, entire units of Nationalist forces, many of whom had exhibited remarkable bravery and patriotism during the Japanese occupation, defected to the Communist side. These occurrences were intricately tangled, mirroring the turmoil of war, fluctuating allegiances among the CCP, Nationalists, warlords, and clandestine organizations, as well as fractured family loyalties. Even death itself was entangled in complexities: as late as 1963, there were commemorative sites where bodies of GMD Party members were intermingled with CCP martyrs. Consequently, the PLA that emerged from the civil war in 1949 was primarily comprised of rural individuals but also included individuals from diverse class and social backgrounds, as did its veteran members.
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.

While these regulations theoretically enhance the status and compensation of veterans, the prevailing trend suggests that "civilian" party officials either outright refused to acknowledge or pretended to ignore veterans' contributions (against the Japanese or the United States). Instead, they focused on their anti-Communist past or the notion of "class purity," which rarely existed, as the primary criteria for assessing political merit. In 1951, a report highlighted that veterans with "complicated" backgrounds remained marginalized without access to land, employment, or housing for up to a year. Some resided in guesthouses and relied on welfare assistance designated for "ordinary" impoverished individuals. Furthermore, in villages, some of these veterans were immediately placed under surveillance. Veterans who secured employment were typically assigned to the lowest positions within the hierarchy, often serving as apprentices, contract workers, or in temporary roles. This placement resulted in them earning less than younger workers with greater skills, work experience, or higher education levels. However, veterans could have potentially earned more if their units adhered to national salary regulations. These regulations stipulated that veterans' civilian job rank and salary scale should reflect their military service tenure. Demobilized PLA soldiers found employment in municipal bureaus of Public Security both in the capital and in cities across the country. Many of these soldiers, primarily inexperienced lower-level officers, felt uneasy in their new roles. They harbored concerns that the "masters of New China" — referring to the ordinary working-class individuals they interacted with daily — might lose faith in them. Additionally, there was apprehension that they could face dire consequences if they were discovered to be involved in covert agent networks, which could be indistinguishable from those previously operated by the Guomindang and the Japanese.
Injured soldiers, police officers, militia members, and civilian workers injured in combat, as well as cadres of the Democratic Party, receive assistance. Previously, this assistance was provided in the form of grain (from 1950 to 1952), and starting from 1953, it was given in cash, disbursed twice annually. The amount varied based on the severity of the disability, the cause of the injury, and the individual's 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 observes Army Day on August 1, a day dedicated to honoring the accomplishments of the military and providing support to military dependents, families of revolutionary martyrs, and disabled veterans. However, it is commonly perceived as a day primarily focused on offering assistance to mobilized soldiers and their families rather than 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