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Military will take college graduates

THE People's Liberation Army will enroll fresh college graduates for the first time this year in a bid to improve the quality of soldiers and ease the current intense employment pressure, Shanghai military recruiters said yesterday.

Male university graduates aged 24 or under can sign up on campus from June 15 to 30. The PLA will raise the maximum age of all recruits to 24 from 22 in the near future, officials said.

China's top military body will reimburse new college recruits their total tuition expenses, the Shanghai Military Recruitment Office said.

"They will receive up to 6,000 yuan (US$877) for each academic year if they are selected," said Zhu Liujia from the office's recruitment department.

"It means their college tuitions will be refunded by the state."

The policy will stay unchanged for some years, Zhu added.

Enlistment signs will be posted on campuses across the city from today, noting that male graduates from universities, technical schools and vocational schools are welcomed to register at military or student administration offices on campus. The screening process, including physical and mental tests, will take place next month.

National service

Chinese law states all Chinese men aged 18 to 22 years old must be available for military service. University and college students can delay military service until after graduation, and most are over 22 by the time they graduate so do not have to do the military service.

However, the age range of China's military service will be raised to 24 soon to attract more graduates, the office said.

"Complementary items will be added specially for college students. This is an important move of the military service law's reform," said Chen Lijun, an official of the office.

The authority said candidates with a higher education will be given priority.

Enlistees will receive military training at barracks and serve in the army for two years, Zhu said. After completing military service, these collegians will also be given priority when applying for admission to higher-degree education at college, the notice said.

"If I didn't already have a job, the new policy might be attractive to me and I probably would consider the option of joining army," said Lu En'hui, a fresh graduate from East China University of Political Science and Law.

The annual conscription is also open to female college students aged between 17 and 20 who are taller than 1.62 meters, the office said.


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