Original photo by Olemiswebs
Things just got a little lonelier in the PLA. After an order banning soldiers from blogging or creating websites was passed a few weeks ago, soldiers are now also forbidden from virtual job hunts, accessing social networking sites or taking advantage of one of the internet’s finest amenities: online dating.
Blogging raised concerns when the disclosed information started getting a little too, well, relevant. According to one anonymous retired senior colonel, the problem of PLA soldiers spilling secrets, intentionally or not, over the internet, especially regarding weapons, has increased in past years, leading to the blanket blogging ban. “The internet is complicated and [the PLA] should guard against online traps,” said Wan Long, a political commissar in Guangzhou. The new regulations even caused blogs popular with the military, like “Army Spirit”, to be shut down — the potential for accidentally leaked information was still too great.
And now those same fears have arisen over lonely hearts, or rather “longly hearts,” letting intel slip. “People with ulterior motives may make use of the soldiers’ personal information and pose a threat to the safety of the army,” said Yang Jigui, an officer in Tibet. The concerns are reasonable, sure: internet predators don’t discriminate. But those poor soldiers, surrounded by only each other every single day, now have their best bet for meeting girls taken away from them? That’s rough.
Luckily, their commanders are not deserting them! Instead, officers are joining forces with local organizations to play matchmaker. In Hainan, one commander arranged a party for older soldiers and women working at the local China Mobile branch, (no word as to how that party ended), and Yang Jigui’s unit in Tibet has asked for match-up help from local government offices and the CCP’s women’s federation.
If it’s already pretty embarrassing when your mom tries to fix you up, talk about pressure when you’re attending a mandatory military-sanctioned singles mixer organized by your boss.