Move is part of reform to enhance fighting capacity of forces
Ten types of paid public services provided by the Chinese military will be completely halted before late June as part of the nation's highly anticipated military reform, which experts believe would help enhance the army's fighting capacity and eradicate corruption.
China's Central Military Commission (CMC) recently approved the cancellation of 10 types of paid services provided by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force, after a series of pilots, Chinese military website chinamil.com.cn reported on Thursday.
The 10 types of paid services include preschool education, news publishing, culture and sports, communication, talents training, barrack construction, storage, militia equipment maintenance, maintenance technology and driver training, said chinamil.com.cn.
Paid public services refer to services provided by the military to the public, such as military-run hospitals, hotels or others that are not related to security, Gong Fangbin, a professor at the PLA's National Defense University, told the Global Times previously. Gong said that such services may be managed by social organizations in the future.
"It's normal to halt the paid services, as some of the services amount to a waste of military funds and impede the fighting capacity of the army," Song Zhongping, a military expert who used to serve in the Second Artillery Corps (now known as the PLA Rocket Force), told the Global Times on Friday.
"The army should be funded by the government, rather than raising money by itself. The paid services also affect the morale of the military personnel, as some people earn money and some don't," Song noted, adding that the business activities also worsen the problem of corruption.
In terms of the resettlement of the related personnel, Song said that the ones who could make a contribution to the military's fighting capacity should stay, while others should leave the army or move to reserve positions.
Song noted that the biggest barrier to reforms would be vested interests. "Only by eliminating these groups one by one could we make the reform successful," he remarked.
The suspension of paid services is part of a national campaign, proposed by President Xi Jinping back in 2015, to stop all compensable services offered by PLA troops and armed police in the country within three years, the China Radio International (CRI) reported in February.
Up to 2016, 40 percent of paid-service projects have been stopped nationwide. In the current phase, policies on the placement and security guarantee of personnel, and legal mechanisms will be introduced, said CRI in February.