Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech over the weekend targeting corruption among high-ranking military officers that any income other than their salaries is strictly forbidden, after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) announced investigation on 16 senior military officials.
BEIJING, January 19 (ChinaMil) -- Chinese president Xi Jinping recently said at an important military meeting that in the future, military officers can only rely on their salaries for income, any unapproved income or illegal gains will be investigated and punished.
But soldiers have to bring home the bacon. How do officers and soldiers get paid and how much do they earn? Let's talk about the salaries of Chinese armed forces.
According to relevant policies, the salary structure of Chinese military can be roughly divided into three categories: military officers, civilian cadres and non-commissioned officers.
The salaries of military officers and civilian cadres include basic salary, job (professional) level salary, rank (level) salary, salary of military service age, military occupation allowance, work allowance, and living allowance and other subsidies. To sum up, it can be divided into five components including basic, military position, military rank, military service age, and the subsidies.
The salary of non-commissioned officers includes basic salary, rank salary, salary of military service age, military occupation allowance, living allowance and work allowance, etc. However, non-commissioned officers do not have the job (professional) level salary.
Servicemen’s salary is paid from the first day to the fifth day in each month, just like employees in civilian companies. The payment will be made one or two days ahead of schedule before major holidays. Military expert Li Jie said that the military salary, like the general public, is paid on time to the pay card, with a clear bill available.
Some media estimated that since 2014 when a substantial salary adjustment took place in China’s armed forces, an army lieutenant’s monthly salary is about 3,000 yuan and that of a lieutenant-colonel is 5,000 to 6,000 yuan.
"The level of salary is mainly determined by military position and military rank. It does not vary with military services (Navy, Army or Air Force). But some military services may have special allowances and grants,” said Li Jie.
"In China, this salary level is similar to that of civil servants and perhaps slightly higher," said Zhang Junshe, researcher at the Naval Military Academic Research Institute.
China's military salary structure is similar to other countries’. In terms of salary level, China’s level is comparatively low. "For example, a U.S. colonel who has served in the military for 30 years will have a monthly salary of $10,000. However, the salary of a Chinese who has served in the military for 30 years is just 8,000 or 9,000 yuan,” said Zhang.
The U.S. military's salary tops the world and this is because the U.S. implements the voluntary military service system. The U.S. military mainly relies on generous salaries, benefits and a variety of educational development opportunities to attract young people. Some media said that the U.S. military funding for staff salaries recently amounted to $70 billion, 30 percent of the Pentagon’s budget.
However, the income gap between Chinese military officers and soldiers is small compared with that in some other countries. According to Republic of Korea’s Central Daily, the salary difference between its highest ranking four-star general and the lowest ranking private soldier in the ROK is as high as 95.14 times last year.
According to the Annual Defense Report issued by the Defense Ministry of the ROK on January 13, its general’s annual salary reached 128,436,000 won (about 735,681 yuan). In contrast, a private soldier’s annual salary was only 1,350,000 won (about 7,733 yuan).
Zhang Junshe believes that the President Xi Jinping’s speech about “military officers can only rely on their salaries for income" reflected the idea of "promoting the rule of law and enforcing strict discipline in the military”.
“In the 1980s and1990s, we were in shortage of funds and the salary level in the military was far below local standards. At that time, some troops were engaged in commercial development, but later they were banned. After all, the task of the military is to defend the country, rather than making money," added Zhang.