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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 10:48 GMT
Chinese army bans mobile phones
PLA soldiers
PLA soldiers cannot use pagers without permission
China has banned the unauthorised use of pagers and mobile phones by members of the People's Liberation Army in an effort to keep its military secrets under wraps.

"Military personnel should not use mobile phones or beepers and other telecommunications devices, unless they are approved by the division or brigade commander for work," the official People's Daily said.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin wants to modernise the military
Even approved devices are forbidden inside telecommunications centres, military aircraft, ships, war operations, intelligence gathering and decoding rooms, missile launch sites and other sensitive areas, it said.

Instead, People's Liberation Army soldiers must use any land line available.

China is the world's fastest growing mobile phone market.

But mobile phones or beepers must never be used for the transmission of military information, the new regulation states.

Unhealthy places'

Another new rule stipulates that China's 2.5 million soldiers should avoid "unhealthy places", such as karaoke parlours, bars and nightclubs, reports said.

President Jiang Zemin, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, is said to be behind the changes.

He ordered that military regulations should be reviewed and adapted to changing times, the People's Daily said.

For the last 10 years, Beijing has been implementing reforms and increasing its military spending in an effort to modernise the PLA into a streamlined, high-tech force.

See also:

06 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China pours cash into military
26 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
China bans state secrets from Internet
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: China
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