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2017-03-08 11:07:16

Wives of soldiers at a military base in northeastern China won’t have to endure endless lines when they visit the doctor now that they have been given medical services priority cards, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported on Wednesday, which also marked International Women’s Day.

Located in Dalian, a coastal city in Liaoning province, 210 Military Hospital had received complaints from soldiers stationed on an unidentified island nearby that their relatives were having a hard time seeing the doctor. Not only did they have to make a long trip by boat, but they also had to wait hours in line once they reached the hospital, turning a single visit into a days-long trip.

Chinese law gives soldiers the right to cut in line, whether at tourist attractions, train stations, or the doctor’s office. Their relatives also enjoy some of these benefits, but in practice, they usually find that other people don’t react sympathetically when they claim their place at the front of the line. In fact, even soldiers have reported having a hard time jumping queues.

Though 210 Military Hospital has a sign saying soldiers and their relatives have priority, the military wives felt embarrassed to cut in line because it’s hard to prove their privileges are warranted, the PLA Daily said. The recently introduced solution is a priority card for all relatives of military personnel at the island base so they can more easily claim their benefits.

The article recounted the experience of one soldier’s wife, Wang Fei, who visited 210 Military Hospital on Monday. She was able to register immediately, and a hospital employee accompanied her to see a doctor straight away. She was even given a free lunch. In the afternoon, Wang picked up her medicine and took a boat back to the island.

In total, the PLA Daily published three stories related to International Women’s Day; another of the articles dealt with the First Army Group providing new apartments for its female officers who had become mothers.

The group counts 12 mothers among its ranks, who reportedly have a hard time taking care of their families and children because of their military duties. “With their identities changing from ‘female soldier’ to ‘mother soldier,’ they have had to shoulder more responsibilities,” one high-level military officer was quoted as saying. Pregnant officers had also been transferred to new positions where there was a lower risk of exposure to radiation, the report said.

A third article described how a 21st Army Group publicity department employee visited an elderly woman whose only son had died during skydiving training while saving his comrade-in-arms.

Many Chinese media outlets dedicated articles to women on Wednesday, including stories about their contributions to society, both as workers and mothers. In a commentary on its front page, Party newspaper People’s Daily said China is “quietly stepping into the ‘she’ era.”

Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

(Header image: Wives of PLA soldiers pictured with their husbands during a ‘Top 10 Army Wives’ event in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, March 6, 2017. VCG)