Military millennials

Source:Agencies-Global Times Published: 2015-9-21 18:38:04

New recruits of the Jiangsu Frontier Guards take selfies in their dormitory. Photo: IC

A soldier sits on a bus on the way to the military camp. Photo: IC


Wooden crosses are strapped to new soldiers' backs to correct their posture. Photo: IC

Upon reaching the camp, the new recruits break into song. Photo: IC


A senior official of the frontier guards shaves the head of a new soldier, as others wait their turn. Photo: IC


As the train pulls to a complete stop in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, the frontier guards welcome 500 new recruits from four nearby regions.

The first thing these new recruits do after they reach their dormitory, is to pull out their phones and take selfies. Over two months of training lies ahead of them, starting from mid-September.

Most of these new recruits are from the "post-1995" generation, and similar scenes are common in barracks across China.

During the military parade held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on September 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a 300,000 cut in troop numbers. However, the annual round of recruitment hasn't been affected by this announcement. Some media outlets said that there has been a shortage of new recruits in recent years.

As the "post-1995" soldiers enter the military, some have said that they lack a sense of responsibility and "can't live without Internet for a day." But others have argued that this analysis is a stereotype.

Zhang Xudong, commander of the Nanjing division, told the People's Daily that these new soldiers are certainly different from their predecessors. Most have received professional training in various fields, such as piloting, broadcasting or telecommunications, and many are outspoken.

Zhang said the first time he organized morning exercises, a new recruit suggested that they run in the afternoon, because running with an empty stomach is bad for one's health.

In return, there are now new ways of communicating with these young recruits.

A military hospital in Southwest China's Sichuan Province created a website for new recruits, reported China National Radio. This website is for the new recruits to communicate with each other as well as with their team leaders on different aspects of their lives.

"I believe I made the right choice in enlisting," a soldier wrote on the website. "As long as my country needs me, I will dedicate myself to my country."

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