People’s Liberation Army has been affected by China’s wider fertility and ageing issues, and tried to counter them. The gathering pace of the PLA’s modernisation has given its instructors and recruiters the challenge of how to train a newer breed of soldier, experts said.
“Military instructors found the strict and dogmatic training modes applied in the last century didn’t work for the more individual young soldiers born in the 21st century,” said Zhou Chenming, a researcher from the Beijing-based Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank. “Some even dared to butt against and challenge superiors when they were not happy. The military was forced to adjust. Some military instructors tell me they are still muddling through how to take charge of younger generations.”