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Friday, February 13, 2015, 16:35

China to link military promotions with fitness

By Agencies

BEIJING - Members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been asked to stay in shape or else lose out on promotions.

The PLA has set a compulsive standard for soldiers' weight and vowed to pay more attention to military physical training, according to "reform and development of military physical training (2015-2020)" guideline published Friday.

"Physical training should be linked to personnel management," reads the guideline, referring to promotions or demotions.

Military physical training is "a basic way of enhancing soldiers and officers' physical and mental quality" and helps cultivate combat power, it said.

It called for innovative training methods and outlined a distinctive military training system.

The PLA Daily, the official newspaper for the Communist Party of China's military commission that oversees the country's armed forces, said Friday that the commission's four highest departments issued the joint policy that outlines reforms in military fitness training, which aim to build a stronger force.

Member of the Chinese public have long complained that their generals are out of shape, joking they are better at banquet drinking than battlefield commanding.

The military has previously had a fitness requirement, but it was not directly linked to promotions. The announcement did not specify the new body weight requirements or give details of how fitness will relate to promotions.

Anti-corruption officials have said they are seeking to halt what they say is the common practice in the military of bribery in exchange for promotions.

Xu Caihou, former deputy chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently was accused of taking "especially huge amounts'' of bribes directly or through family members in exchange for granting promotions or other benefits.

Xu is the most senior military figure ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption launched by President Xi Jinping.

Obesity also has become a public concern in China, where economic development has significantly improved living standards.

Educators have lamented deteriorating fitness among the country's current youth, who eat higher-calorie diets, focus on highly competitive academic exams and are more likely to be addicted to sedentary activities such as video games.


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