China has ordered its military to end all paid outside work within the next three years, the latest move to modernize the armed forces amid a reform to make the world’s largest standing military more professional and battle ready.
According to a defense ministry notice, both the regular army and the paramilitary People’s Armed Police would be covered under the ban.
The notice identified no specific fields but is thought to mainly target military art troupes, publishing houses and hospitals that accept paying civilian patients.
Local media said that the change had been introduced “to reduce corruption in the army”.
The military was banned from overt commercial activities in 1998 but allowed some exceptions.
The 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army was ordered more than a decade ago to divest itself from its vast business empire.
The latest round of reforms have reorganized parts of the command structure and will reduce troop numbers by 300,000, mainly by culling non-combat units and those using outdated equipment.