China military accepts heavier, tattooed recruits



China military accepts heavier, tattooed recruits Beijing: China's military is accepting heavier recruits and will no longer reject people for sporting prominent tattoos as it steps up a drive to attract young, new entrants, state media said on Wednesday.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) already 2.3 million strong is on a major charm offensive to attract recruits, particularly from a booming student population that has become more wealthy and fashionable.

As such, the army has relaxed some of the stringent standards governing health examinations for this year's winter army conscripts, according to a Beijing News report posted on the defence ministry's website.

It said that men sporting tattoos less than two centimetres in diametre on their faces or necks would now be allowed into the army.

The report added that male soldiers would be accepted if they weighed up to 25 per cent more than the "standard weight" compared to last year's 20 per cent.

According to Contemporary Medicine, a medical journal managed by China's health ministry, a person's standard weight in kilos is calculated by subtracting 110 from his or her height in centimetres.

The changes come as the PLA targets young people -- and particularly educated graduates -- to bring skills the army needs to modernise.

As the Chinese grow more and more affluent, their waistlines have also expanded with richer diets. Many of the nation's youth, meanwhile, have grown more fashion-conscious and trendy.

Highlighting its drive to attract qualified youth, the ministry has also decided to pay up to USD 944 every year to university students who enrol in the army, to help them pay off their education, the report said.

The number of graduates in China has grown from 3.38 million in 2005 to 6.3 million in 2010, colonel Jiang Jiping -- in charge of recruitment in the PLA -- told reporters in September.

PTI