PLA takes firm line against misuse of uniforms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 December, 2010, 12:00am

The People's Liberation Army is stepping up its crackdown on the production, circulation and sale of original and fake military uniforms, which have become attractive outfits for construction workers and even bar girls on the mainland.

A massive publicity scheme is being staged by three headquarters of the PLA and four ministries under the State Council involved in public security, culture, industry, commerce and radio television administrations. It is calling on troops, schools, apparel sales markets and garment manufacturers to stop producing, circulating and selling military outfits, the PLA Daily reports.

In the Nanjing garrison command, PLA officials found their smart battle fatigues had become a muddy work uniform among construction workers, the newspaper said.

It said some schools and companies also gave students and staff such outfits to boost their morale.

Nanjing residents complained that some men wore fake military uniforms when visiting porn shops, with some even buying full sets of original outfits from retired PLA personnel.

In a documentary carried by China Central Television in July, footage showed bar girls wearing the new '07 type' land, air and naval female soldiers' uniforms to drum up clients. CCTV also showed a group photo of an enterprise in Hebei, where the general manager and his staff all wore the '07 type' uniforms. The company used military ranks to identify different staff levels.

Those civilian uses of the uniform are all illegal, according to the 'military uniform management rules' issued by the State Council on January 13 last year.

Earlier reports said all retired PLA soldiers have had to return all uniforms to the army in exchange for veteran uniforms from this year.

Putting on a uniform when one is not required to do so was once a very attractive prospect in the early 1960s before the Cultural Revolution.

Today, the PLA is a highly respected institution because of its history of heroism, and salaries of officers have increased several times over the past few years. For soldier wannabes, the only thing they can do is buy a fake uniform to put on.

Worse yet, some even used fake military uniforms to con others. There is no prescribed punishment for individuals who buy or wear fake uniforms.

'However, for those individuals involved in using military uniforms to undertake fraudulent operations, including commercial activities or to misrepresent themselves [to women who might be interested in them or to swindle them out of money], authorities could quote criminal laws to punish them,' retired PLA general Xu Guangyu said.

The maximum fine for those producing military outfits illegally is 100,000 yuan (HK$116,700), the military uniform rules say. Unlawful circulation and sales warrant fines of up to 20,000 yuan.

The PLA Daily said the number of cases of illegally using military uniforms had risen since the new rules were announced.

In Nanjing alone, authorities had confiscated more than 20,000 fake items and investigated 688 individuals, it reported.

'The current phenomenon is just a temporary situation due to lack of education,' Xu said.

He said construction workers liked wearing military outfits only because they were cheaper and durable.

The PLA had prepared a series of simple cartoons to correct the public's misunderstandings that led to the illegal use of military uniforms among civilians, the PLA Daily said.

Breaking the law

The PLA uniform rules state that the maximum fine for producing military outfits illegally is: 100,000 yuan