Military service; update to CHN16580.E of 17 February 1994; military service in Fujian province [CHN33505.E]

China's military service law was amended in December 1998 in a number of areas relevant to military service. The principal goals of the amendments were to decrease the reliance of the armed forces on conscripts, to foster the creation of a more modern, professional armed forces and to decrease the overall size of the armed forces by 500,000 (Xinhua 27 Oct. 1998; KWIC 28 Oct. 1998; China Daily 24 Feb. 1999; USA Today 3 Dec. 1999). Article 18 of the amended law reduced the term of compulsory service to two years from the previous three or four years of service (Xinhua 27 Oct. 1998; ibid. 30 Dec. 1998a; ibid. 3 Jan. 1999). The amended law also integrated the reserves and militia (Xinhua 27 Oct. 1998; ibid. 3 Jan. 1999) and extended the age limits for reservists to include persons 29-35 years old (Xinhua 5 Jan. 1999).

The provisions regarding punishments for violation of military service were also revised. According to an official cited in Xinhua:

Under the new situation of developing a socialist market economy, military service work must have the safeguard of powerful laws. In order to dovetail the Military Service Law with the Criminal Law, the National Defense Law, and other relevant laws, a considerable revision has been made on stipulations of punishment according to the new situation and the practical situation in military service work. There are now five articles instead of two that expressly stipulate what acts of citizens, units, and state officials constitute violations of military service laws and regulations, what the punishment measures are, and which organs to carry out the punishments. The amendment aims at strengthening the mandatory nature and restraining power of military service laws and regulations and ensure military service work can be carried out smoothly under the new situation (3 Jan. 1999).

The provisions of the amended law regarding punishments, found in Articles 61 through 65 of the amended law, were published by Xinhua:

Article 61 has been revised as: "Citizens who have the obligation to serve in the military service and commit any of the following acts shall be forced to make corrections within a prescribed time limit by the county-level people's government. Those who do not make corrections by the expiration of the time limit shall be forced to fulfill their obligation to serve in the military and may be forced to pay a fine by the county-level people's government.
(1) Refusing and evading registration for military service and physical examination;
(2) Citizens who have been enlisted but refuse and evade enlistment;
(3) Reserve personnel who refuse and evade military training and performing military duties.
Those who have committed the act listed in aforementioned item (2) and refused to make corrections shall not be allowed to work as a government employee or a State-owned enterprise worker. Nor should they be permitted to go abroad or enter a higher school.
In wartime, those who have committed acts listed in aforementioned items (2) and (3) and constituted a criminal offense shall be held accountable for their criminal liabilities according to law.
Article 62 has been added. It reads: "Soldiers in active service who refuse to perform duties or desert their military units with an aim to evade military service shall be given administrative sanctions in accordance with the provisions of the Central Military Commission. Those who desert their military units in wartime and constitute a criminal offense shall be held accountable for their criminal liabilities according to law.
Those who knowingly hire military deserters shall be forced by the county-level people's government to make corrections. Those who constitute a criminal offense shall be held accountable for their criminal liabilities according to law.
Article 63 has been added. It reads: "The county-level people's government shall order offices, organizations, enterprises, and institutions to make corrections, if they refuse to fulfill their tasks with regard to military service as stipulated by this Law and prevent citizens from fulfilling their obligation for military service. It shall order them to carry out rectification, if they refuse to accept and take care of military veterans, or carry out other acts in interfering with military service. It may also order them to pay a fine for such wrong doings. Persons who are directly in charge of and others who are directly responsible for these erring units shall be punished according to law."
Article 64 has been added. It reads: "Those who disrupt the order in carrying out the task for military service, or prevent military service personnel from performing their duties according to law shall be punished in accordance with the regulations on penalties for security administration. Those who use violence and threats to achieve their goals and thus constitute a criminal offense shall be held accountable for their criminal liabilities according to law."
Article 62 has been changed to Article 65 that reads: "State functionaries and military personnel who commit any of the following acts in carrying out work for military service and constitute a criminal offense shall be held accountable for their criminal liabilities. If their offenses have not yet constituted a crime, they will be given administrative sanctions.
(1) Accepting bribes;
(2) Abusing their power or committing dereliction of duty;
(3) Playing favoritism and committing irregularities in picking up and seeing off unqualified soldiers. (30 Dec. 1998b)

New regulations promulgated in June 1999 contain details regarding the establishment of a non-commissioned officer system, the recruitment of persons with specialized skills and the granting of special status to demobilized soldiers within the job market (Xinhua 11 July 1999; China Daily 13 July 1999).

In August 1999, 270 militia members in Fujian province were activated and participated in exercises "in several coastal areas of the province" according to AFP (10 Aug. 1999). According to the report, citing the China News Service, these were "the first military exercises undertaken by the provincial militia in ten years" (ibid.). No further information concerning military service, specific to Fujian province, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


AFP [Hong Kong, in English]. 10 August 1999. "PRC Mobilizes Civilian Militia Across Taiwan Strait." (FBIS-CHI-1999-0810 10 Aug. 1999/WNC)

China Daily. 13 July 1999. "China - New Army Regulation Issued." (FT Asia Intelligence Wire 1999/NEXIS)

_____. 24 February 1999. "China - PLA Seeks Better Quality." (FT Asia Intelligence Wire 1999/NEXIS)

Kanwa Information Centre (KWIC). 28 October 1999. "Analysis: China Claims Increase the Proportion of Volunteer Soldiers." [Accessed 23 Dec. 1999]

USA Today. 3 December 1999. John Omicinski. "The Military Draft: Casualty of the New Kinds of Warfare U.S. 'Revolution' in Combat Has Other Nations Taking Note." (NEXIS)

Xinhua [Beijing, in Chinese]. 11 July 1999. "New Revised Military Service Regulations." (FBIS-CHI-1999-0728 11 July 1999/WNC)

_____. [Beijing, in English]. 5 January 1999. "New Military Service Law Frees Up Age Limitations." (NEXIS)

_____. [Beijing, in Chinese]. 3 January 1999. Ma Xiaochun and Zhao Xiujuan. "Official on Amended Military Service Law." (FBIS-CHI-99-008 8 Jan. 1999/WNC)

_____. [Beijing, in Chinese]. 30 December 1998a. "Text of Revised PRC Military Service Law." (FBIS-CHI-99-015 15 Jan. 1999/WNC)

_____. [Beijing, in Chinese]. 30 December 1998b. "NPC on Revising Military Service Law." (FBIS- CHI-99-015 15 Jan. 1999/WNC)

_____. [Hong Kong, in Chinese]. 27 October 1998. Li Nuer and Nie Siyi. "Yu Yongbo Explains Revised Military Service Law." (FBIS- CHI-98-301 28 Oct. 1998/WNC)