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September 1, 2009

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PLA joins drink-drive crackdown

THE Chinese People's Liberation Army has introduced strict new penalties for personnel caught driving under the influence of alcohol and breaking traffic rules as troops prepare for a military parade through Beijing to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

A statement issued by the PLA's General Staff Headquarters yesterday asked all military units, especially those under direct control of the Central Military Command and the four general departments, to "eliminate drink-driving and other violations to welcome the National Day with strict military discipline."

Other traffic violations covered by the new code include running red lights, driving military vehicles for personal use and driving without a license.

The headquarters will send more military police to patrol major streets to detect traffic violations involving military vehicles, which carry distinctive white license plates.

Military vehicles are beyond the jurisdiction of traffic police and are managed by military police who also supervise behavior of all uniformed personnel in public places.

Military drivers who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol will have their licenses suspended for six months and receive compulsory traffic education.

Those caught drunk-driving will have licenses annulled and be transferred to other duties, according to the statement.

The new penalties are more severe than those under China's Traffic Safety Law.

The penalties were issued during the PLA's final preparations for the military parade to be staged on National Day, October 1, when thousands of troops and civilians will march down Chang'an Avenue, the capital's main east-to-west thoroughfare.

About 200,000 people were involved in rehearsals for the civilian parade and performances at the weekend.

Military vehicles around Tiananmen Square helped to transport performers.


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