China’s 2.3 million strong military, the largest standing armed force in the world is all set to change its conscription rules to recruit more college graduates than the present high school students to cope up with its massive modernisation drive.
China’s top legislature National People’s Congress Standing Committee today started reviewing a draft amendment to the country’s military conscription law for the first time in 13 years with the purpose of recruiting more college students.
The draft amendment submitted to the Committee proposes to remove an article according to which full-time students can defer their military service, official news agency reported.
The new rules would attract more better-educated recruits to its armed forces, according to a draft amendment to the Military Service Law.
The draft amendment also stated that college graduates recruits with outstanding performance in the army may be directly promoted to active-duty officer posts.
College students enlisted for active service may resume their studies within two years of leaving the military, according to the amendment, which also raises the maximum age for recruitment to 24 years old.
China’s military has featured compulsory service ever since the NPC passed the Military Service Law in 1984.
The law states that Chinese citizens over the age of 18 must serve in the military upon being requested to do so, except for disabled people.
Currently, most of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s new recruits are high school graduates.
The active conscription law provides a deferment option for students who are taking part in full-time education.
Modernisation of the national defence and the armed forces need more and more college students to join the army, officials of the National Defense Ministry said last month.
Upgraded weapon systems and modern warfare techniques require more tech savvy soldiers.
This has prompted the PLA to seek recruits in the country’s flourishing colleges.
The military started enlisting college graduates in 2001.
By the end of 2009, college graduates accounted for 130,000 of the PLA’s soldiers.