China orders firms to hire retired soldiers

Beijing, Dec 29 (IANS) The Chinese government has ordered state firms to reserve jobs for the large number of soldiers who will be out of work once the army cuts over 300,000 troops as announced by President Xi Jinping in September, the media reported on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the ministry of civil affairs and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, companies must reserve five percent of their jobs for “qualified veterans”, EFE news reported.

Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo said, “The settlement of the demobilised soldiers matters to defense and military building as well as social harmony and stability.”

Xi announced China’s one of the largest reductions in troops on September 3, at the start of the commemorative military parade of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan in the Second World War.

The Chinese army with 2.3 million troops is the largest in the world, despite undergoing ten cuts, the last being in 2003 when 200,000 soldiers were demobilised.

The People’s Liberation Army once had five million soldiers in the mid-20th century; however in recent decades it has significantly reduced its troops while at the same time keeping pace with technological modernisation.

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