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China lowers standards for military recruits

/ 01:03 PM June 19, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–Amid China’s growing military capability that is causing concern among its neighbors, it is also boosting its efforts to strengthen its manpower by easing out its requirements on physical and even mental standards “in an effort to attract more young people with higher education backgrounds.”

Citing information from the Defense Ministry’s recruitment office, the state-owned China Daily reported on June 17 that height requirement for male recruits has been adjusted from 162 centimeters to 160 cm, and for female recruits from 160 cm to 158 cm.

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“The upper weight limit for male enlistees was also relaxed to allow more portly young men into the military,” the report said.

Eyesight requirements were also lowered on the new standards as nearly 70 percent of high school and university students in China are nearsighted.

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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), will also become “more tolerant of tattoos,” the report said.

“People who have less than 2 cm of tattoos showing on their body while in uniform or 10 cm of total ink are allowed to join the military. Tattoos with obscene or violent matter or referring to illegal organizations will disqualify candidates,” it said.

For the first time, the PLA has also removed mental illnesses that would disqualify candidates from military service, including schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, depression and bipolar disorder, China Daily said.

This year’s recruitment will be from August 1 to September 30; and university students or graduates can apply earlier.

“The four municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, and provincial capitals, as well as regions with high concentrations of universities, will recruit only among those who have at least a high school diploma. Other cities or regions will gradually reduce the number of recruits without a high school education, according to the office,” China Daily said.

The enlistment of “high-quality” soldiers is crucial “to build a strong and capable military,” according to recruitment officials. The recruits with university diplomas from Jiangsu province will earn at least 159,200 yuan ($25,580) during their two years of service.

‘Those who suspend their college education to join the military can also resume their studies upon retiring from the military,” it said.

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Last year, China Daily also reported that Beijing’s military recruitment efforts have been hampered in recent years due to decline in physical fitness among applicants – common complaints were being overweight and shortsighted.

Based on data-collecting website Global Firepower, China’s active front line personnel is currently at 2.3 million.

Early this month, the Pentagon announced that China’s military spent over $145billion last year, or above the $119.5 billion figure announced by China, in its efforts to modernize its armed forces.

China’s assertiveness is projecting power in the disputed waters of East and Sout China Seas, raising tensions among its Asian neighbors including the Philippines.

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TAGS: armed forces, China, China Daily, Military, People’s Liberation Army, Philippines, requirements, territorial row
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