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China to lay off 300,000 soldiers, replace with stealth jets, space weapons

The lay-offs are part of broader reforms to modernise the military, moving away from the old Soviet-era command module and putting more emphasis on high-tech weapons. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Beijing, China Oct 14, 2016, 08.10 AM (IST)

China’s military on Friday said “hostile forces” seeking to spread online rumours about the ongoing reform of the Chinese army were having a damaging effect. 

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army would lay off 300,000 soldiers, a 13 per cent reduction to the Chinese military.

The layoffs are part of broader reforms to modernise the military, moving away from the old Soviet-era command module and putting more emphasis on high-tech weapons such as stealth jets and anti-satellite missiles or space weapons. 

"The broad mass of the armed forces must clearly recognise that in the vast majority of these rumours there are online users unable to distinguish the truth, wantonly lost in fanciful thoughts and conjecture," the official People's Liberation Army Daily said via a newspaper story, Reuters reported.

"But there are also no lack of certain hostile forces thinking of ways to try in vain to sow chaos in our reform process," it added.

“These fanciful stories have attracted the attention of many soldiers, some of whom believe what they read,” it said. 

"Some have been taken in, and worried about personal losses this has affected their work."

Soldiers have a responsibility not to believe the rumours and only get their news from official sources, the story added, Reuters reported. 

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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