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    China has issued new rules for its People’s Liberation Army (PLA), revising guidelines on military discipline, training management, soldiers’ weight and the use of mobile phones and the internet.

    The "PLA Common Regulations" were approved by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also chair of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC), on Sunday, and will take effect May 1, PLA Daily reported. 

    "The previous tight control on mobile phone use has been relaxed," the PLA's military website states, adding that phones and social networking apps will be allowed after the mobile devices and the applications downloaded on the devices are registered with the appropriate commanding units.

    In a recent statement, the CMC management department also wrote that "the revised regulation on the military code of conduct stipulated relevant rules regarding the military's political loyalty, organisation, combat operations, training, work, confidential information, integrity, financial affairs, interaction with the people and daily life."

    The CMC statement also adds that the revised regulations "were intended as modifications in keeping with the rapid evolution of the PLA and to facilitate the military's modernisation efforts."

    According to PLA Daily, new ceremonies were established regarding oath-taking and paying respect to those killed in the line of duty. Other new regulations created govern such activities as online shopping, injury prevention training and psychological consultation.

    Chinese military members will now have to watch their weight a bit more, too. 

    "We don't see US officers with paunchy bellies," Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military commentator, said, according to the South China Morning Post. "Body shape, to some extent, demonstrates the military's discipline."

    More than half of recruits in some areas of central China were failing physical fitness tests, Sputnik reported in August 2017, which military leaders blamed on too much gaming and masturbation.

    In addition, the new rules will reward Chinese service members who take part in overseas missions. The Common Regulations state that excellent performance in overseas operations including "peacekeeping, counterterrorism, escort patrol, joint exercises and international rescue" are encouraged, SMCP reported, although it's unclear what those rewards will be.

    "Modern warfare has evolved significantly and the missions of the Chinese military have expanded," PLA Daily wrote.

    "A first-class military must have a first-class image," a Chinese Military Commission official said, according to SMCP.


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