Chinese military relaxes physical rules for non-combat, hi-tech troops. But there's a catch
published : 2 Apr 2023 at 10:52
writer: South China Morning Post
The Chinese military will ease the physical thresholds for "urgently needed" hi-tech professionals as it steps up a modernisation drive.
However, there is one condition. Any applicant - even for non-combat positions - who cannot stand the sight of blood would be rejected, state broadcaster CCTV reported, quoting newly published medical selection standards for the People's Liberation Army.
The new standards would apply to all candidates seeking to become PLA officers, whether they were soldiers seeking promotion or university graduates wanting to join the ranks, as well as non-combat positions, Wednesday's report said.
The release of the latest medical standards comes as the PLA steps up its quest to modernise by 2035 and become a world-class military power by 2049.
The addition of new combat forces and the push to hire professional and technical personnel required the military to customise the physical and mental qualities required, the Chinese defence ministry said.
"We need to optimise and adjust the physical examination and selection standards as we take into account the current physical fitness of our recruitment-age youth and the specific needs of different positions in various branches of the armed forces," the PLA Daily quoted a Central Military Commission official responsible for the drafting of the new standards as saying.
"This is so that our recruitment of qualified PLA personnel can be conducted in a scientific manner based on factual data."
Physical standards such as height, weight and vision acuity could be relaxed for personnel deemed by officers to be "urgently needed for war preparations" or non-combat staff of "high-level" and "special professional talents", the official said.
The new standards would enable candidates who had had minimally invasive operations, such as gallstone removal, to also try out for PLA roles, whereas they would have been excluded before.
Advanced PLA weapons and equipment, and progress in medical technology mean these conditions are now considered as "not affecting military operations", according to the CMC official.
While optimising the general physical criteria for all candidates, the new documents also included extra details on specific requirements for positions in armoured vehicle units, special combat forces, and marine and aviation operations, the ministry statement said.
General standards for non-combatants based on age, gender and job nature were also slightly relaxed, while new criteria were laid down for administrators and technical professionals.
The PLA is the world's largest military with about 2 million service personnel. In trying to speed up its modernisation drive in recent decades, it has pushed for better educated recruits - especially officers and technical professionals.