Two PLA servicemen show their new personal identification tags. (Photo/China.com)
Servicemen and women with the People's Liberation Army are being issued personal identification tags to improve personnel management as well as battlefield logistics and medical support.
Thirteen units across the Navy, Air Force and Rocket Force have been given the tags, which consist of two parts－a metal tag engraved with the bearer's name, rank, blood type and military member code and an auxiliary metal tag with a quick-response code and a built-in microchip with their health information.
Troops have also been issued wristwatches that can measure the wearer's heart rate and send distress signals, according to PLA Daily, the military's official newspaper.
Officers and medical professionals with the units were given a cellphonelike device that can receive signals from soldiers, scan a tag bearer's QR code and record emergency and medical situations.
Development of the tags and auxiliary instruments began in November 2013, and the first products were tried out by a brigade of the 27th Group Army, the paper reported, adding that the equipment has proved effective in battlefield medical efforts during combat exercises.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed official from the Central Military Commission's Logistic Support Department as saying that users from the 13 units will test the devices' reliability and usage. Users are also told to check whether the tags and wristwatch can work well with other logistics and medical equipment, and whether their electronic frequencies are compatible with those of weapons, the official said.
The official also said the introduction of identification tags will help improve the database of military members' personal information and logistic and medical services during combat or emergencies.
However, a PLA officer who did not want to be named told China Daily that he has found some problems with the wristwatch, such as its buttons being too big. He urged the military to solve the problems.
Zhou Yuan, a commentator for PLA Daily, has called for tests on whether enemies can be prevented from using the devices and whether the devices' signals will expose bearers' location to an enemy.
Currently, militaries in more than 30 nations including the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan use such identification tags.