Beijing : Chinese government has set a new compulsive fitness standard for its 2.3 million-strong army, the world’s largest, failing which a soldier would lose his rank.

 Members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been reminded to stay in shape or else lose out on promotions, the official mouth piece of the Chinese military, PLA Daily reported on Friday.

 The PLA has set a 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.

“Physical training should be linked to personnel management,” said the new 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.

Obesity has become a cause of concern in China, where economic development has significantly improved living standards.           Chinese military, which has the world’s second highest budget after the US, is undergoing intense campaign against corruption in which 16 top Generals and hundreds of officers are facing investigations.

The highest body of the armed forces – Central Military Commission (CMC)- chaired by President Xi Jinping, has recently announced its plan to

conduct an investigation of all military personnel’s income and expenses during 2013 and 2014, according to an earlier report.

 Last year, 16 high-ranking officers, including Xu Caihou, former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Gu Junshan, former deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department, were probed on suspicion of corruption.

K J M Varma      

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