Tattooed? Overweight? The PLA Still Wants You

China Real Time Report explains newly relaxed enlistment requirements for the People’s Liberation Army. The PLA is eager to attract well-educated soldiers to fight the high-tech wars of the future, but resigned to a recruitment pool made shallower by slowing population growth, and broader by diet and inactivity.

Among the adjustments, according to a representative of the Beijing Military Recruitment Office, are a relaxation of rules governing weight and tattoos. New recruits will now be allowed to be 25% heavier or 15% skinnier than what the military considers an ideal weight, and people with tattoos on the neck or face — grounds for automatic rejection in the past — will now be considered, so long as the ink in question doesn’t exceed two centimeters in diameter.

The amendment also offers enticements specifically targeted at college students who decide to join the military before graduation, including post-service yearly tuition contributions as high as 6,000 yuan ($944) ….

“We understand that one big reason some college students are not positive enough about joining the army is that some aspects of post-discharge arrangement policy are generally not strong in terms of implementation,” Mr. Zhou Yongshan said (in Chinese). To solve the problem, he said, required new policies that would allow college students “to see the spaciousness of the entrance gate and, at the same time, see how the exit road has been widened.”