China eyes lowering unemployment via military recruitment: Reports
The SCMP reports that more graduates joining the Chinese armed services could help in reducing the alarming unemployment rate.
South China Morning Post (SCMP), the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper, stated on Saturday that more high school and college graduates joining the Chinese armed services could aid in lowering the nation's alarmingly high youth unemployment rate and achieving modernization objectives for the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The recruitment "would not only help Chinese local authorities to relieve the ongoing employment... The most important task of the PLA is to seize the opportunity to hunt more talent to help the military achieve its ultimate goal of military modernisation," Chinese researcher Zhou Chenming told the SCMP.
The journal stated that in order to satisfy the PLA's modernization goals and lower the nation's record of young unemployment, more than 90% of China's military recruits this year may be college graduates and high school students.
Former PLA instructor Song Zhongping informed the SCMP that "the PLA is now taking a volunteer system. More science and engineering talent joining the army would not only help the army achieve its goal of modernisation, but also pave the way for its future plan of military professionalisation."
According to sources cited by the newspaper, the military wants to improve average recruitment rates by 10% from prior years.
More than 11.5 million students from Chinese institutions will graduate this year; it is unknown how many will be required to fill the ranks of the PLA, but more than one million recent graduates have applied to join the PLA since 2017, according to the article.
The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said in March that the country's official jobless rate as of May was 5.2%. Age groups 16 to 24 and 25 to 59 had unemployment rates of 20.8% and 4.1%, respectively.
The Chinese government declared in 2015 that it will fundamentally overhaul its military forces in order to increase their effectiveness. According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the PLA should be a world-class military force by 2050 after completing its modernization by 2035 in order to properly fulfill the needs and challenges of the new century.
With roughly 2 million soldiers, the PLA is currently the largest army in the world and is commemorating its 96th birthday this year. The year 2023 will see China's military spending rise by 7.2% to 1.55 trillion yuan ($216 billion).