China had to suspend its military recruitment program for this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, but the postponement will lead to no significant impact on the number or quality of the eventual recruits, an expert with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) predicted on Thursday.
The PLA's heroics in battling the virus and helping people will encourage even more young people to sign up for the military, the expert said.
China is facing a severe situation in controlling the epidemic, so the time for the physical examination phase of the 2020 military recruitment at various locations across China will be adjusted, according to a report by 81.cn, the PLA's official website, released on its WeChat public account on Wednesday.
One place to enact the decision is Hunan Province, which lies next to the virus outbreak epicenter, Hubei Province. The physical examinations originally planned for early February will be postponed until a later date because gathering of people during the event could risk cross-infection, Hunan Province's conscription office said on Tuesday.
The postponement will not hinder the determination of hot-blooded youth who yearn to join the military, 81.cn said, citing comments online saying they can't wait to make their dream of becoming a soldier come true.
Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that the postponement is needed (to prevent the virus from spreading) and the postponement "should not have much effect on the number or quality of the eventual recruits."
The Chinese military is actively taking part in the battle against the coronavirus, sending 1,400 military medical personnel to Wuhan.
Many young people dream of joining the military because of a sense of honor and duty, 81.cn said.
Li said the military's spirit of responsibility shown in this battle has encouraged people, and he expects more young people will sign up to join the PLA in the future.
About 1.24 million Chinese university students signed up online for military service in 2019, 81.cn reported, noting that countries like the US are having trouble recruiting enough due to war-weariness.