‘Internet addicts’ will be denied entry to Chinese military in Hebei

Enlistment officials did not say what their techniques are in screening out the computer-obsessed

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 6:15pm

Want to join the Chinese army? Make sure you are not an internet addict.

The People’s Liberation Army in northern Hebei province has introduced a measure to screen out internet-obsessed recruits as a test for their political discipline, according to a Hebei newspaper.

The Yanzhao Metropolis Daily said the enlistment authorities would check whether prospective PLA recruits are addicted to web surfing or video games as part of their “political assessment”.

The PLA, under the command of President Xi Jinping, requires soldiers to undergo political assessments before they join the army. It generally involves examining the applicant’s background, political affiliation, history of their next of kin, as well as possible criminal records.

An enlistment official from the province said that internet addiction would “severely affect [a soldier’s] work and study, and people who have this addiction cannot be appointed to politically important positions in the army”.

"Politically important" positions include those which involve protecting important officials and important departments, according to the report.

The new measure, however, does not specify how people would be tested for addiction.

Internet addiction, which is classified as a clinical disorder in China, has become a major problem among the younger generation. Boot camps helping youngsters to wean off their hunger for the internet have been set up throughout China.

Reflecting recent government wariness about rumour-mongering and foreign influences, the PLA applicants in Hebei will also be asked whether they have fabricated messages that had “political problems” or if they have obtained residence in a foreign country.

Enlistment authorities normally administer political assessments before applicants are formally enrolled in the PLA.

According to China’s Military Service Law, male residents between 18 to 22 years old can enlist in the military.

President Xi heads a leading group that is deepening military reform, and has emphasised the development of a strong army with enhanced combat capabilities.

Xi said in a meeting in March that the reform goal was to build an army that “obeys the party’s command, is capable of winning battles and has a sound work style”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.