Chinese People's Liberation Army adds psychological test to recruitment process

According to a report in People's Daily Online, new recruits of the People's Liberation Army will in future need to pass psychological tests. This is in response to increasing mental and psychological problems among young people in China. According to the report, the PLA recruitment office and research departments started piloting the psychological tests in 2002 in over 400 cities and counties. Over 100,000 applicants have taken the tests. "The contents, standards and methods of the psychological recruitment tests have been revised, improved and upgraded over the past five years," the report said, adding that the tests finally passed national assessment in July. "The move is designed to prevent young people with mental and psychological problems from joining the army," the report quoted an official with the PLA General Logistics Department as saying. "It aims to improve the overall quality of army officers and soldiers and reinforce battle effectiveness," the official said.

China has become increasingly aware of the mental health of its armed forces. Earlier this year, China's military colleges were ordered to carry out drug and psychological tests when recruiting would-be military officers.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army is almost 2.5 million strong, and is based on conscription. The Military Service Law of the People's Republic of China stipulates that male citizens who reach the age of 18 by December 31 each year are eligible for enlistment for active service. Those who are not enlisted that year remain eligible for enlistment until the age of 22. Female citizens may also be enlisted, if necessary. Male citizens reaching the age of 18 before December 31 should register for military service before September 30 of the same year. Citizens who meet the required conditions for active service are enlisted into active service after gaining approval from the military service organs of their own counties, autonomous counties, cities or municipal districts.

Sources: Chinese PLA to add psychological test to recruitment process, 30 September 2006; China's National Defence 2004