The PLA’s New Rule: No More Promotions for Fat Officers

Mao's chubby grandson already mocked online


Pot-bellied military officers and soldiers in China have woken up today to some disheartening news: China decided that a military officer’s weight will directly be linked to his or her career prospects. In other words if you’re overweight, there’s no chance of being promoted.

The new regulation is part of a five-year plan from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to improve soldiers’ overall physical fitness.  By 2020, the PLA wants 95 percent of its soldiers to be able to pass the expected weight standard, but didn’t say what that is.

It didn’t take people in China long to target the PLA’s most famous tubby general: the grandson of Chairman Mao Zedong, Mao Xinyu. Within minutes, comments targeting the younger Mao spread rapidly. “This is obviously aimed Mao Xinyu!” one person said. Or: “This is bullying the grandson.” Another added, “What did Mao Xinyu do to piss you guys off to introduce the new rule?” And one more: “There goes major general Mao’s career. No hopes of getting any promotions any more.”

Still, others wonder if bear-like president and chairman of the central military committee Xi Jinping would be able make the cut. One Weibo user wrote, “Not sure if Xi Dada can actually pass”.

The good thing is the regulation never specified what qualifies as the standard weight. But we figure whatever Xi Jinping weighs will be the cutoff point.

Natalie Wang

Journalist based in Hong Kong.