'Kill! Kill! Kill! - How China Recruits For Its Massively Underpaid Army

China's military is out with a new recruiting video, although it isn't what some may envision. The People's Liberation Army (incidentally the world's largest military force, with a strength of approximately 2,285,000 personnel, or 0.18% of China's population) released an online recruiting video, which however was anything but your average, army stock filler with a beating bass line or a cherubic choir in the background: it was just the testament to demonstrate China's militant yet "cultured uniqueness" as it sets off to dominates the world. In other words: a "culturally unique" rap video.

Here is Quartz' translation of the clip, which begins with an narrator voiceover of a soldier getting dressed.

There is always a mission on your mind.

There is always an enemy in your view

There is always responsibility on your shoulders

There is always passion in your heart

War could erupt any time

Are you ready?

The morbid chorus opens with a reference to what else: getting shot. It is a rap video after all.

Even if a bullet passes through my chest
My mission remains carved in my heart
Brothers, let’s follow this path
[Roar! Roar! Roar! Roar!]
Roar with animal spirit
Look to the bravest general of them all
Walk from here toward the site of combat

Even if a bullet passes through my chest
My mission remains carved in my heart
From the center to the borders
Let’s go to war, let’s fight to win
When we follow the commands of the party
The country honors our guardianship
The rising head of a loyal patriot
If I don’t bear the burden, who else will?

And then a gentle invocation to take out China's enemies ruthlessly, mercilessly and with the following refrain: "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

To be sure, this is not China's first attempt a "motivational rapping." Last December, China's CCTV released an animated rap clip describing the virtues of president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Then, a few weeks ago, China’s public security ministry released more videos warning citizens about the dangers of spies—in this case US superheroes.

A PLA spokesman said that the video marks an attempt to attract younger recruits, and also dismiss any notions that the army doesn't stack up against other countries in technological prowess. The PLA is estimated to have over 2 million personnel, and has difficulty recruiting and retaining top talent due to low pay. Supposedly the thinking here is that if you like rap, and want to play with the fun toys the military possesses, forget about the low pay and enlist.

The clip is below:


What is not said in the clip is that while the PLA clearly spares no penny on video post-editing, the PLA offers some of the lowest salaries of any forces in the world. A 30-year career colonel in the US army makes a monthly salary of about $10,000, while an equally experienced Chinese member would make between 8,000 and 9,000 yuan (between $1,236 and $1,390). As such, we doubt anyone will be swayed by the thumping, patriotic beat. Or maybe they will, once Chinese corporations have no choice but to let go millions in workers as China's inevitable and long overdue hard landing arrives. To Beijing it may ultimately be a win-win situation: an economy in shambles but tens of millions of vortially free soldiers, just itching to fire a gun.