China's armed forces will dress up all servicemen in new uniforms within three years, said General Liao Xilong, chief of the People's Liberation Army General Logistics Department, in an interview with Xinhua News Agency yesterday.
The PLA garrison troops in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region put on new uniforms on July 1, the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.
Military officers and civil cadres outside Hong Kong and rank-and-filers in the national capital of Beijing and the Macau Special Administrative Region will change into the new uniforms as of August 1, the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the PLA. Servicemen elsewhere will put on the new uniforms the moment they are issued.
The change of army uniform and bedding is expected to add an additional cost of six billion yuan (US$789 million), the general said.
The per capita expense of bedding and clothing for the PLA would still be lower than the world average after current uniform upgrading, he said.
"The expenditure on new army uniforms is necessary, because uniforms serve as the name card of a country, revealing the discipline and bearing of armed forces. But we must make every cent count, he stressed.
Explaining the three-year cycle of uniforms upgrading, Liao said "We take into consideration of garment industry's production cycle and the PLA's current financial status. In this way, we could make full use of existing inventory and avoid wastes."
(Shanghai Daily July 3, 2007)