Trendy tattoos prove a stain for army recruits

(www.chinanews.cn)
Updated: 2006-11-08 15:05


Xing Haisong tattoos a customer at his Shanghai tattoo parlor in 2005. Increasing numbers of Chinese youths are being ruled out of military service for having tattoos, state media reported. [AFP]

Increasing numbers of Chinese youths are being ruled out of military service for having tattoos, state media reported.

More than 2,000 volunteers have been turned away by the armed forces, according to statistics released recently by the military, an increase of 30 percent from the previous year, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The Chinese military bans tattoos exceeding 2 centimeters (three quarters of an inch).

But with fast-modernizing Chinese society catching on to foreign fashion trends, many youths now sport large tattoos.

Many Chinese youths consider body art to be a necessary badge of membership in certain social circles, the daily said.

The newspaper quoted one dismayed youth as saying he did not know about the tattoo rule. Joining the army is viewed by many as a way of acquiring essential skills for a later civilian career.

The Chinese armed forces induct tens of thousands of recruits each year, the paper said.

The Chinese military also turns away recruits who are overweight, test positive for drugs or AIDS, or who are chronic snorers.

The US military bans all tattoos above the collar line and any tattoo that conveys a sexist, racist, indecent or extremist message.



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