China sees decline in numbers of suitable youths joining military

The National Defence University has lowered its eligibility criteria to 573 marks from the earlier of 600 marks, a source said.
Chinese PLA (Photo | ANI)
Chinese PLA (Photo | ANI)

NEW DELHI: The Chinese military is facing a big problem in finding eligible candidates to serve the forces. Keeping this in view, the selection marks have been decreased.

For the first time, the military also drafted a plan for the People’s Liberation Army soldiers. "The National Defence University which used to recruit candidates for the military academies and schools has lowered its eligibility criteria to 573 marks from the earlier of 600 marks,"  a source said, adding that this was done after a decrease in the trend for suitable candidates was seen, added the source.

China aims to modernise the PLA by 2035 and turn it into a world-class force by 2050. Although the country follows the conscription policy, the recent requirements have brought in merits and a selection criterion for the specialized jobs in the military.

China has been reforming its military for a decade now. It has already reorganised the entire country into five theatre commands. Also, the concepts of informatisation and Strategic Support Force have been implemented which requires candidates who are academically sound, said the source.

Another step taken for the first time is a wartime conscription plan in which the veterans will be on priority. “The Ministry of Veterans Affairs issued a draft regulatory change in July this year which has proposed changes in the conscription regulations with first time spelling out how the authorities will enlist the veterans and the conscripts.”

The State Council or the Central Military Commission will issue the mobilization orders thereby drafting the veterans for the government and military to serve at various levels.

China has been facing the problem due to its one-child policy and the conscripted force where, as per an Army officer, most of the soldiers try to finish off their tenure to leave for better avenues, thus leading to a morale and motivation issue.

China's one-child policy, implemented in 1979 and withdrawn in 2016, had exacerbated the practice of sex-selective abortion in favour of boys.

Also, as reported earlier by The New Indian Express, since May 2020 when the standoff began in Eastern Ladakh, the Chinese started focusing on Tibetan youths to make up for the arising issues in finding the soldiers suitable to serve at high altitude on a prolonged deployment.

The first two batches have been enlisted with the first one with the 100 soldiers deployed into the strategic Chumbi valley which lies in between Sikkim and Bhutan.

Currently, the Indian Army and China's PLA are in a tense standoff posture at various points along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

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