PLA raises recruitment standards for women

18:40, October 12, 2009      

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China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is to judge its women recruit candidates on their eloquence, artistic skills and appearance in sweeping moves to attract more educated recruits.

Following the widely-acclaimed performance of the PLA's female fighters in the grand National Day military parade on Oct. 1, the PLA has outlined new recruitment standards for women.

A statement issued by conscription office of the Ministry of National Defense on Monday said the maximum age for female graduate recruits with four-year college qualification or higher had been lifted from 22 to 24.

The limit for female graduates with a three-year qualification was raised from 21 to 23.

The PLA would also open up recruitment to undergraduate students with a maximum age of 22, it said.

The minimum age for women signing up for the PLA remained 17, according to the PLA's conscription regulations.

The new regulations are intended to attract more well-educated women to serve the two-year minimum service in the 2.3-million-strong PLA.

Female candidates who are members of the Communist Party of China will also be favored in recruitment.

The new regulations say all female candidates will be graded in terms of their eloquence, artistic skills and even their appearance by a panel of judges selected from both the military and civilian departments.

The minimum height for a female recruit was 1.6 meters.

The selection method was meant to provide a transparent recruiting process and prevent illegal practices, an official with the conscription office said.

The moves come after female soldier and militia formations goose-stepped past the Tian'anmen Rostrum on Beijing's Chang'an Avenue to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

The parade attracted many female candidates, and 352 company employees, government officials and graduates from overseas universities were selected to wear the pink uniform of the female militia formation.

The Defense Ministry has announced it will extend recruitment of enlisted personnel and commissioned officers among college graduates this year.

The move is intended to build up a better educated army and to ease graduate unemployment amid the global economic downturn.

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