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University graduates targeted by military

CHINA will this year begin to pre-recruit university graduates into military service for the first time, in an effort to ease the increasingly tough employment situation amid an economic slowdown.

Military pre-recruitment would be carried out among university students every year, starting in May or June, until graduation a couple of months later, according to a policy paper issued by the Conscription Office of the Ministry of Defense and the Student Department of the Ministry of Education.

This year, only male graduates would be eligible for pre-recruitment into the armed forces -- the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Corps, the document said.

Female graduates who wanted to join the military could apply during the winter, the regular recruitment season. If these female students were accepted, they would enjoy the same privileges as their male counterparts.

Pre-recruited graduates could receive subsidies to cover their school costs or to repay educational loans.

All male graduates, regardless of their major, would be eligible if they had no problems in their health and political records. Requirements for eyesight and weight would be eased for early recruits.

Those who left college to join the military would be able to resume their studies after completing military service.

The age limit would be 24 for early recruits. For those with only secondary-school educations, the age range for joining the military is 18-23.

Early recruits who found another job before enlisting would be able to "drop out" of the army.

This year, China will have 6.1 million university graduates, 500,000 more than last year, according to official figures. Some of last year's graduates are still unemployed.

This year, the government has tried hard to increase opportunities for graduates, including a plan to create 60,000 jobs in remote areas and to employ graduates as village heads.

In the past, few university graduates joined the military as common soldiers. Most recruits were high school graduates. Graduates of military academies and civilian colleges became low-rank officers as they entered military service.


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