China's Military: Domestic and International Impacts
The sheer size of China’s population leads many people to believe that the nation takes advantage of its manpower by having a large military. China’s People’s Liberation Army is comprised of “some 1.25 million ground troops, the largest in the world" (Bumiller). Nations are afraid of what China's military is capable of mainly because of its size. If China were to become land hungry or desire more resources it would surely be able to inflict major damage and defeat another country. Already, China poses a threat to Taiwan, as the country claims possession of the island nation. Drew Thompson argues that China's one-child policy is likely to weaken the People's Liberation Army. China is the largest military with a majority of only children in its military. Children from the one child generation "made up more than half of the force" by 2006, which is an increase from "20 percent a decade earlier” (Thompson). The People's Liberation Army also allows only children to fulfill shorter service requirements, as it understands that one-child soldiers "are often the sole support for parents and grandparents" (Thompson). Soldiers who are only children desire to leave the military earlier in order to seek better employment opportunities to provide for their aging family members. With a great number of soldiers serving shorter terms, the army has to keep up its recruiting efforts to maintain its size. Since soldiers stay in the army for shorter periods and new recruits are continually being brought in, "many units will likely maintain low levels of readiness" (Thompson). Thompson also says that "only-child recruits are not as tough" as their counterparts with more than one sibling which may be the result of the lifestyle of these "Little Emperors," which often consists of a spoiled childhood with constant attention from both parents and all four grandparents (Thompson). While the one-child policy has impacted the military negatively from a domestic standpoint, it has lessened the threat China poses internationally.
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