Home China China Set To Introduce Bill That Will Make Military Training Compulsory For...

China Set To Introduce Bill That Will Make Military Training Compulsory For University Students


China has begun revising its National Defence Education Law in a bid to expand military training for universities, high schools, and middle schools. The draft bill, which has undergone a first reading by the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress in Aprilm will push for defence training for university, high school, middle school, and even primary school students.

A Nikkei report says that several universities have already introduced bootcamps where students can be taught how to use and load firearms and even drive armoured vehicles. But according to the report, it is not just humans. President Xi has also pointed to what he called “emerging areas” such as AI, robotics, and space and has stated that they must be part of the modernisation process of China’s military.

A VOA report stated that the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress – the country’s rubber stamp legislature – began its first reading of the revisions last week. The changes are also open for public comment until late May, though it is unlikely that broader debate will occur.

The responsibility for this training is being put on the Ministry of Education and the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission (CMC) which is China’s top defence body. The revisions in the bill also call for local and central authorities to strengthen the oversight and training for students.

Critics of the bill say the move by the government to enforce military training is to bind loyalty to the party and also to take attention away from the flagging economy and the high unemployment rate for students across the country. Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the Global Times reported that the jobless rate for students between the age of 16-24 was at 15.3% in February.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

While the report said that the situation was stabilising it also pointed out that China is expected to see more than 11.7 million college graduates in 2024 ensuring that the number of young job-seekers was likely to grow.

President Xi who had called for a “global cessation of war” during the Paris Olympics in his recent meeting with President Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has made no secret of the fact that China needed to be war ready. CIA Director William Burns has said that China aimed to be “ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion” of Taiwan and that the US needed to be prepared.

“I think it’s very much in our interest, as a policy matter in the United States, to make clear our commitment to the status quo, to make clear that we’re not interested as a country in changing that status quo, that we’re deeply opposed to anyone trying to change that unilaterally, especially by the use of force,” Burns said, adding that conflict over Taiwan would be “deeply unfortunate…for everyone involved, including China.”

(With inputs from agencies)