China offers incentives to convince more college graduates to join the PLA

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/3 14:58:39

China is encouraging more college graduates to join the military, and some provincial governments hope at least 70 percent of this year's recruits are made up of college graduates.

China's annual military services recruitment kicked off on Tuesday and will run through September 30, according to a China News Service report.

"Our goal is for college graduates to comprise 70 percent of all recruits," an employee at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) recruitment department in Chengde, North China's Hebei Province, told the Global Times Wednesday, adding many other cities and provinces have all set similar targets.

Government officials in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang Province, have also raised their target from last year's 55 percent, the Shaoxing Daily reported last month.

College graduate-focused recruitment shifted from winter to summer and autumn in 2013 in keeping with the academic schedule.

Many southern Chinese cities, including Guangzhou and Zhuhai in South China's Guangdong Province, have reported an increase in college graduates signing up for the military this year, while other local governments have rolled out preferential policies to attract college graduates.

"I became more strong-willed, more capable of enduring hardship and have become healthier during my two-year military service," 28-year-old Li, who served in the army after graduating from Chongqing University, told the Global Times.

He added that it was a "life-changing" experience.

"The experience helped me a lot at work and I felt proud of myself because most of my peers don't have a similar experience," Li said.

Jiangchuan, Southwest China's Yunnan Province announced last month that local college graduates would receive a 55,000 yuan ($ 8,170) bonus (which includes subsidies and allowances) for serving two years in the armed forces, plus additional points to their postgraduate entrance examination scores.

These graduates will also enjoy preferential employment policies after being discharged.

Since 2009, China has reimbursed the college tuition fee of those who joined the military after graduation, the Xinhua News Agency reported in 2015.

Two years later, China started refunding tuition fees of up to 6,000 yuan per year for college students who suspended their studies to join the military, Xinhua reported.

However, despite the incentives, the military has failed to attract many college students, Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA who frequently visits military recruitment offices, told the Global Times on Thursday.

More preferential policies, such as offering more qualified graduates higher [officer] posts, should be implemented to attract top talent to the military, Li said.


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