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A number of university students say that they would be much more motivated to take part in military training this summer – even in the sweltering temperatures that have caused heat waves in southern China – if their boot camp sessions were to include lessons on how to use a firearm.
The comments come as the extremely hot weather continues to make time outdoors unbearable this summer, prompting students to assess whether there is a need for military training at this time, particularly in southern cities, where record highs have surpassed 40 C in recent weeks.
Xue Jin, a third-year student at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that he and his peers aren’t that keen to subject themselves to the scorching temperatures just to take part in simple drills and marching exercises.
“We’d be much more motivated if we could actually learn how to shoot a gun,” he told the Global Times. “The military training that schools provide for students should at least be tailored to different interests and age groups; us older students should be given the chance to use a weapon.”
Twenty-year-old Beijing resident Shi Tong, who received military training over four summers from primary school to university, said that she was never taught how to shoot a gun though she would have liked to have learned.
Chu Zhaohui, a researcher at Chinese Academy of Educational Sciences, said that universities seldom train students how to use a gun these days because “the equipment is costly and the training involved is more complicated while the safety risks are much higher.”
But an instructor at China Foreign Affairs University, who asked not to be named by the Global Times, said that the primary reason behind the school not teaching students how to use guns has more to do with China’s strict control of arms.
Fu Jianbo, who organized military training for students at Wuhan University before changing jobs last year, added that weaponry training was often excluded and the trainers were often students from a Wuhan military college.
An instructor surnamed Gu, from Sun Yat-Sen University, told the Information Times that in fact many of the people who train students in the summer are students themselves. Gu said that they’re unable to show them how to use a gun as some of them even have yet to be trained.
Too hot to handle?
Other students disinterested in whether students learn to use guns or not, meanwhile, continue to debate the necessity of the training that China has carried out to build talent and army reserves since 1985.
Student Wang Shiyun said the training should be put off until the weather cools.
“Military training is not a necessity,” the China Youth University for Political Sciences student told the Global Times. “We know that it just puts more physical and psychological pressure on students, and with all this extreme weather, why subject students to this?”
But other students believe that training in the uncomfortably hot conditions should take place as per usual as it will help develop stronger students.
“Military training is always arranged for students during the summer vacation,” Xia Tian, a student at Wuhan University, told the Global Times.
“It’s good training for us and helps make us stronger both physically and mentally. We shouldn’t be let off the hook just because of the heat,” he said.