New amendment to help former soldiers find jobs

More retired personnel from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are turning to the private sector to find jobs, as China’s top legislature Monday began procedures to revise an amendment to its Military Service Law, with the focus on the resettlement of ex-servicemen.

The amendment submitted to the 11th National People’s Congress Standing Committee says that local governments will have to arrange jobs for retired servicemen who have served at least 12 years, China News Service reported Monday.

The current regulations do not fit the personnel system of the socialist market economy, Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the General Staff of the PLA, commented in the report, as it has become a big burden for local governments to find jobs for more than 300,000 retired servicemen holding urban household registrations every year.

“It is a good policy for the development of the Chinese army,” Li Xiang, 23, a former scout in the PLA and a sophomore student at the Beijing University of Agriculture, told the Global Times Monday.

“It is not good for some people who joined the army with an eye to getting a job arranged by the local government,” he said. “At the same time, I do not think this amendment will reduce the number of recruits, as welfare benefits for soldiers are better now.”

“I know some people accepted jobs arranged by local governments because it was difficult to find a job,” said Hou Xue, 22, a former correspondent in the armed police force and a student at the Communication University of China to the Global Times.

“Anyway, it might be a good thing, as retired soldiers will have more choice to do the things they like and that suit them,” Hou said.

“I joined the army to get more experience, not land a job,” Zhang Haitao, 21, who served in the missile section of the PLA and is a student at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.

“Some of my friends don’t like the jobs that were arranged for them, such as working in the subway. In the end, they found jobs themselves,” Zhang added. 

The amendment said that retired soldiers are able to study in secondary vocational schools without taking examinations to learn professional skills.

Cha Ming contributed to this story

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