Children in China as young as seven are undergoing military training.
The athlete training regime in Shanghai is designed to instil discipline and “good fighting ability” according to Chinese officials.
Shanghai’s sports bureau said the young athletes will “deeply study” the Chinese military’s “sense of standards and combat spirit”.
Chinese football teams have previously undergone similar training.
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The drills are largely performative and part of a wider campaign to promote Communist Party values.
Head coach of a men’s gymnastics team participating in the training this week He Youxiao said that the age range of his athletes spanned from seven to 25.
He said: “No matter how old or young, everybody deeply cherishes this opportunity.”
The training started on Monday and is scheduled to last until next Tuesday.
The training took place in Shanghai
The drills involve 932 athletes from 11 sports centres across the city.
The report said it is intended to “strengthen the sports teams’ organisational discipline and teamwork, helping Shanghai sports create an iron army”
“From dawn until broad daylight, the athletes move neatly and in unison, their youth military uniforms showing off a young and elegant manner.”
According to state media, China last month adopted a new education law seeking to impart a “patriotic spirit” in China’s youth.
President Xi Jinping said this year that China must enhance its readiness for “actual combat”.
It comes as President Xi Jinping said this year that China must enhance its readiness for “actual combat”.
Earlier this month foreign policy hawk Gordon Chang suggested an attempt to subjugate Taipei would result in an “all out” global conflict.
“It appears that Chinese doctrine on the first day of a war with Taiwan will target Japan and the United States for various reasons. So we may not have a choice. You know, we always say, well, will we defend Taiwan.
“I don’t know if we’re going to have that ability to make a choice because we could very well be attacked in the first moments of a war.”
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