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China to Link Military Promotions With Weight, Fitness

BEIJING — A new military policy in China requires all personnel to meet weight limits and links promotions to fitness, a People's Liberation Army newspaper said Friday.

The policy of the Communist Party's Central Military Commission aims to ensure physical fitness in China's armed forces, where it has increasingly become a concern. Members of the public have long joked that their pot-bellied generals are better at banquet dining than battlefield commanding.

The policy was announced on the website of the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the military commission, which oversees the armed forces. China's military is controlled by the Communist Party, not the government.

The military has previously had a fitness requirement, but it was not directly linked to promotions. The announcement did not specify the new body weight requirements or give details of how fitness will relate to promotions.

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Anti-corruption officials have said they are seeking to halt what they say is the common practice in the military of bribery in exchange for promotions.

Xu Caihou, former deputy chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently was accused of taking "especially huge amounts" of bribes directly or through family members in exchange for granting promotions or other benefits.

Xu is the most senior military figure ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption launched by President Xi Jinping, and his case points to widespread corruption among the military ranks.

Obesity also has become a public concern in China, where economic development has significantly improved living standards.

Educators have lamented deteriorating fitness among the country's current youth, who eat higher-calorie diets, focus on highly competitive academic exams and are more likely to be addicted to sedentary activities such as video games.

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