Date
19 September 2017
People's Liberation Army honor guards perform drills in Beijing. The military wants to recruit smarter personnel for its growing arsenal of high-tech weapons. Photo: Bloomberg
People's Liberation Army honor guards perform drills in Beijing. The military wants to recruit smarter personnel for its growing arsenal of high-tech weapons. Photo: Bloomberg

Shorter, fatter, smarter but depressives need not apply

China’s army, the biggest in the world at 2.3 million, is stepping up its recruitment of soldiers while easing its standards for those who may join the service.

The People’s Liberation Army is now allowing shorter, fatter and — up to a certain extent — myopic individuals to enlist as it seeks more personnel for its growing arsenal of high-tech weapons, the Financial Times reported, citing the defense ministry.

But it’s more of the brain than the brawn that the army is looking for. It needs more high school and college graduates.

According to guidelines released by the ministry, height requirements have been eased from 162 centimeters to 160cm for men and from 160cm to 158cm for women. The army has also relaxed the weight limits and eyesight requirements.

Tattoos, formerly prohibited, will now be tolerated but must be less than 10 square centimeters in total with a maximum 2 sq cm visible when the soldier is in uniform, the newspaper said.

As to educational attainment, recruits from major cities must at least be a high school graduate.

Also, for the first time, the guidelines state that those suffering from schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, depression and bipolar disorder need not apply, the report said.

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