The People’s Liberation Army is setting its sights on better educated entrants, relaxing height, weight and vision requirements while cutting back on candidates without high school diplomas, China Daily reported on Tuesday.
“Enlisting more high-quality soldiers is extremely important to building a strong and capable military,” the defence ministry’s recruitment office said.
The army has lowered its minimum height requirement for recruits, raised the maximum weight limit, reduced eyesight standards and even begun taking on recruits with once-taboo tattoos, the English-language newspaper quoted the recruitment office as saying.
The recruitment office said the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing would accept only recruits with at least a high school diploma, and other regions would gradually accept fewer enlistees without diplomas.
It had also removed mental illnesses – including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder – as barriers to recruitment, it said.
The PLA boasts the world’s biggest military, with 2.3 million men and women in uniform. Its defence spending is second only to that of the United States. In the past decade, it has kicked off an ambitious modernisation drive, developing new weapons systems and upgrading the force.