21:24 GMT06 June 2020
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    The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has started airing videos of battle tanks, PHL-03 rocket launcher systems and WZ-19 attack helicopters based in the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison in an effort to “attract young recruits,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

    Hong Kong’s reputation as an international city and the rapid development of the military stronghold there both stand to be major selling points for potential new recruits. Or at least Chinese military planners seem to think so. 

    The PLA previously complained that a significant portion of young trainees from an undisclosed municipality failed fitness examinations due to what they described as time spent playing computer games, “excessive masturbation and too little physical activity,” according to an August report published by the People’s Liberation Army Daily.  

    The PLA’s Hong Kong garrison has been tasked with providing for Hong Kong’s defense since 1997, when the former British crown colony’s sovereignty was transferred to Beijing as part of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

    “The popularity of the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison has grown [in mainland China] since the Liaoning [aircraft carrier] was opened to the public for the first time during a visit to Hong Kong” in July, Antony Wong Dong, a military analyst, told SCMP.

    The videos posted by the PLA this week depict high-tech weaponry in an apparent effort to show potential recruits what they could get their hands on if they join the military.

    The Hong Kong garrison is a highly desirable location to be stationed for PLA troops, according to the Post, “even though recruits must meet higher education, political and physical requirements than applicants for mainland bases.” The base remains popular despite the fact that troops stationed in Hong Kong are prohibited from dating Hong Kong residents.

    Nevertheless, the videos showcasing sophisticated weaponry represent a major step forward for the folks running the PLA’s “propaganda department.”

    In April, the PLA apologized for broadcasting an embarrassing poster that clearly showed non-Chinese military assets: Russian MiG-35 aircraft and US-made amphibious assault ships were poorly photoshopped onto a poster next to China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier. According to the Global Times, it was the first time China’s Defense Ministry atoned for a work error.

    The public relations fail prompted one user on Weibo, a hugely popular social media site in China, to quip, “Everyone at the propaganda department is mentally deficient.”

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    army recruits, PLA, China
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