BEIJING - China's army will recruit 130,000 graduates from Chinese universities and colleges this winter to raise the quality of the armed forces and help solve the job crisis facing graduates.
Chinese sources last month told Reuters of a plan to cut the 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army by 700,000, mainly lower-skilled foot soldiers, while adding better-educated recruits able to serve in a technologically sophisticated force.
Graduates who have signed up for military service will receive a one-off rebate of up to 24,000 yuan ($3,500) on college tuition fees or student loans, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Education.
This means the state pays for university education of those servicemen, Zhang Haoming, deputy director of the ministry's department for college student affairs, was quoted as saying.
Recruits with higher education will have a greater chance of promotion or further study at military academies. After their two-year commitment, they will enjoy preference at jobs with police and other law enforcement departments, Xinhua said.
China's army is still overwhelmingly made up of young men from the countryside with a high school education or less. Most college graduates prefer the higher salaries and greater opportunities of business or government jobs.
A Defense Ministry survey of more than 6 million college and university graduates in July found that about 1.44 million male graduates were interested in military service, Xinhua said.
(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Ron Popeski)