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Chinese army helps its soldiers find love

July 1, 2010

The People's Liberation Army has said it will
help its soldiers find love after a new rule
banned Chinese troops from internet dating.
The Telegraph (UK)
Malcolm Moore, Shanghai
June 28, 2010

Until now, members of the 2.3 million-strong
Chinese army stationed in remote posts have relied on the internet for romance.

But worried that lonely hearts might let
sensitive information slip, the army has now
banned online dating. Instead, PLA commanders will become matchmakers.

"Soldiers stationed on frontiers, for example in
Tibet, have few opportunities to make contact
with the outside world," said Yang Jigui, an
officer at the Xigaze base in Tibet.

"But people with ulterior motives may make use of
the soldiers' personal information and pose a
threat to the safety of the army," he added.

The base has already held a meeting to discuss
how to find partners for its unmarried men
through the local branch of the All China Women's
Federation, an NGO to support women.

On the island of Hainan, a paramilitary police
officer has already organised a party for older
cadres to meet women working at a local branch of
China Mobile, the mobile phone company.

The new regulation, which came into force earlier
this month, also bans soldiers from writing blogs
or diaries online and from using Chinese social
networking sites to make friends.

"The internet is complicated and we should guard
against online traps," said Wan Long, the
political commissar of a regiment in Guangzhou.
He added that it was too easy for ill-intentioned
parties to use the information on the web to
identify specific army units and their location.

One of the most popular military blogs, Army
Spirit, has already been shut down. Liu Qing, its
author, was commended for his "enthusiasm" and
"military knowledge" by his commanding officer,
but informed that there was too much personal information available.
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