Does The Chinese Army Accept Foreigners

The Chinese Army is a large and powerful military force that still commands immense respect in the international community. However, little is known about its open membership policy and whether it accepts foreigners among its ranks. This article is meant to investigate this topic and to offer a comprehensive overview of what it takes to join the Chinese Army.

Given China’s authoritarian political system, one might imagine that open membership policies would be set aside in favor of internal ideological homogeneity, yet this is not necessarily the case. Historically, the Chinese Army has always had a slightly open recruitment policy, and at least two foreigners have served in its ranks.

The most famous of these foreign members was an American General named William Henry Furman, who served in the Chinese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Although he was only a volunteer, Furman quickly rose through the ranks and eventually became one of the most influential foreign military commanders in the Chinese Army’s history. Furman was highly regarded by the Chinese military, and although he was not formally a member of the Chinese military, he was often referred to as “General Furman” by the Chinese.

It is difficult to estimate the exact number of foreigners in the Chinese Army today, as there is an overwhelming level of secrecy around the military, but it is reasonable to assume that there are a few. Chinese recruitment policies are often tailored to specific cultural and linguistic qualifications, making it very hard for foreigners to join the army. Furthermore, foreign members of the army are not allowed to rise above certain ranks and positions.

Policy For Foreigners In Chinese Military

The Chinese Government has never officially stated its policies regarding foreigners in the military, but experts believe that foreign individuals may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. In recent years, several expats have recounted their experiences and adventures while serving in the Chinese military, illustrating a nuanced and somewhat open policy. Expats and other foreign nationals are allowed to work as volunteers and even teach courses, but the process is highly selective and highly regulated.

In general, expats must have a deep understanding of Chinese culture and language before they can be accepted into the military. This is mandatory in order to ensure that foreign soldiers can effectively interact with their Chinese counterparts. Additionally, foreigners must show a clear commitment to Chinese values and ideology and must demonstrate complete loyalty to China and its governing institutions.

Foreigners who have successfully joined the Chinese military have done so by exhibiting a deep understanding of Chinese culture and by showing a willingness to learn and grow in the program. Given the difficult language barrier and the fact that the Chinese military is largely considered to be a closed-off organization, it is not surprising that few foreigners have been successful in joining the program.

Issues for Foreigners in Chinese Military

Apart from the difficulty of joining the Chinese military in the first place, there are other issues that foreign members must face. For example, foreign soldiers are not allowed to rise beyond certain ranks and may even find themselves subjected to discrimination. On the other hand, foreign soldiers are likely to receive higher salaries and better benefits, though this depends on the specific situation.

Furthermore, foreign members of the Chinese military must also be careful to avoid any potential legal problems while in the country. According to Chinese law, foreign members of the military must obey all laws and regulations, and failure to do so can lead to serious legal consequences. It is therefore important that foreign members of the military familiarize themselves with Chinese laws and regulations before joining the army.

Advantages For Foreigners Joining Chinese Military

Despite the obvious difficulties and potential drawbacks, there are several reasons why someone would consider joining the Chinese military. Firstly, it offers the opportunity to have a unique and rewarding cultural experience. The Chinese Army is an immensely powerful organization and joining it can open up countless career pathways for foreigners.

Secondly, joining the Chinese military offers the opportunity to further one’s understanding of Chinese culture and politics. Foreign members of the Chinese Army are often privy to information that is not normally available to outsiders, and this can provide a unique window into Chinese society.

Finally, foreign members of the Chinese Army can gain valuable skills and experiences that will be useful in the future. From combat tactics to political know-how, foreign members of the Chinese Army will gain an intimate understanding of the inner workings of Chinese society and the Chinese military.

Life of Foreigners in Chinese Military

The life of a foreigner in the Chinese military can be quite different from that of a Chinese soldier. Foreign soldiers are often kept apart from their Chinese counterparts and are typically assigned to special units or postings. This ensures that foreign members of the army are not privy to the same level of insider knowledge that full Chinese soldiers enjoy, though this is not always the case.

Foreign members of the Chinese military are typically only allowed to serve for a few years before they must return to their home countries, as the Chinese government does not want long-term foreign influences on its governance system. In some cases, foreign soldiers may be allowed to stay for longer, depending on their particular circumstances and the nature of their postings.

Foreign members of the Chinese military are often expected to serve more diligently and with more devoted commitment than their Chinese counterparts. After all, they are representing the interests of another country, so their conduct is viewed as an extension of their home country’s relations with China. As a result, foreign members of the Chinese military must always act with the utmost respect and discretion, particularly in public or politically sensitive areas.

Reactions from Chinese Public

The reaction from the Chinese public towards foreign members of the military is generally positive, though there are exceptions. Oftentimes, foreign members of the military are seen as symbols of foreign influence and as such, some of the more conservative and nationalist elements of Chinese society may view them with suspicion. For this reason, foreign members of the military must always tread carefully and must be mindful of the potential repercussions of their actions.

Overall, the foreign presence in the Chinese military is small and it is unlikely to expand significantly in the near future. Nonetheless, foreign members of the military will always serve an important role in providing an external perspective and in helping to bridge gaps between the Chinese military and the outside world. As long as all parties are willing to show respect and understanding towards each other, foreign soldiers will continue to play an important role in Chinese military affairs.

Chinese Military Training

Foreigners in the Chinese military must endure rigorous and often grueling training that is designed to sharpen their military skills and to develop their understanding of Chinese culture. Training for foreign members of the Chinese military typically involves physical fitness assessments, language and cultural studies, and intensive military drills. Often, foreign members must also obtain special security clearance in order to access certain sensitive areas or information.

In order to gain the full confidence of their Chinese counterparts, foreign members of the military must prove their commitment to the Chinese cause and must demonstrate a complete understanding of the country’s language and culture. Only then can they be fully accepted into the fold and considered as legitimate members of the Chinese military.


In conclusion, it is clear that foreign members of the Chinese military can play a valuable role in bridging gaps between China and the outside world. With the right qualifications and a deep commitment to the Chinese cause, foreign members can become valuable assets to the Chinese military and can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities. Nonetheless, foreign members of the military should always be mindful of the potential pitfalls of joining the Chinese military and should always maintain a respectful and understanding attitude towards their Chinese counterparts.

Letha Wimmer is a military expert with more than a decade of direct experience in the U.S. Army and National Guard. She specializes in researching and writing about the world's armies and their capabilities, equipment, capabilities, strategies, organizations, and operations. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation from Middle Tennessee State University as well as an Aerial Firefighting Certificate and numerous other advanced aviation certifications. She also enjoys traveling to distant lands to gain firsthand knowledge about their military forces and has written extensively for various websites on the subject.

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