PLA Barracks Turned Into Civilian Use

China has turned over military barracks spacious enough to house nearly one million people for civilian use over the past few years.

A spokesperson for the General Logistics Department of China's People's Liberation Army, the country's armed forces, said Monday many barracks and related land have been given to disadvantaged groups, or leased to local governments at prices much lower than the market ones for education and other civilian purposes.

Over 4,000 large barracks totaling 30 million square meters were made idle after China cut its armed forces by 1.5 million persons during the past two decades, said the spokesperson.

In the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a barracks area has been turned into a large farm, where about 1,500 handicapped people raise cattle, sheep and chickens.

In Datong city in Shanxi Province, north China, a large barracks area has been leased at a low price to the municipal government. The Yudong Middle School was set up there in 1999, with 1,500 students and teaching staff.

Meng Yaowen, head of the school, said the students are happy to be able to live and learn in the barracks.

A barracks area in Pingyuan County, Shanxi Province, which used to house an artillery battalion, is now being used by a township government.

In Hebei and Shanxi provinces, Xinhua correspondents were shown a large amount of grain owned by Beijing and Shanxi that is now being kept in what used to be an ammunition store.

(People's Daily 09/04/2001)

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