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China increases health budget for armed forces
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The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has more than doubled its annual healthcare budget to an equivalent of 180 yuan (US$23.7) per person, according to PLA's General Logistics Department.

"The level of the adjustment is the largest for decades," said Li Jianhua, director of the health bureau under the General Logistics Department.

The per capita annual health budget for PLA serviceman has increased from 72 yuan (US$9.5) to 180 yuan (US$23.7) per person, up 150 percent, Li said.

The annual hospitalization budget for retired officers and in-service officers above division level has been adjusted from an average of 35,000 yuan (US4,605) to 54,000 yuan (US$7,105) per bed per person, up 54 percent, he said.

Family members of PLA soldiers can enjoy an annual budget of 180 yuan (US$23.7) per person, up from 100 yuan (US$13.16), he said.

"The adjustment aims to alleviate the pressure caused by the disparity between supply and demand and to basically meet medical requirements of the soldiery and retired officers," he said.

Earlier this year, the PLA increased food subsidies to 11 yuan per day (US$1.45) per person from 10 yuan to offset the impact of price hikes and improve food for soldiers, as "military training demands a lot of energy and a strong body", said Liao Xilong, director the department.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2007)

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