China overhauled its military honor system recently by issuing a set of rules.
The Regulation on the Armed Forces' Honor System sets three major categories of honor－one for service members' exploits during wartime, another for their work during peacetime and the third for efforts during massive noncombat operations－and also establishes special honors for commanding officers.
The regulation stipulates that the new honor system consists of medals, honorary titles, citations, commemorative badges and special rewards. It lists recipients' qualifications, the criteria for the awards, the awarding procedures and measures used to promote the recipients' actions, and it explains how the honor system is managed.
The document also governs the issuance of honors granted to foreign nationals and Chinese soldiers' acceptance of foreign honors.
The processes for approving and conferring honors to service members during wartime will be streamlined to inspire soldiers fighting on the front line. Rewards and other special treatment bestowed upon those honored for wartime exploits must be greater than those for others, it emphasizes.
According to the regulation, two types of medals have been revived－the Red Flag and Red Star medals, which were last used almost eight decades ago.
The history of the Chinese military's honor system can be traced back to the early years of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, the first armed forces units under the Communist Party of China.
In 1931, the Party established and awarded its first military medal－the Red Flag. Eight Red Army leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhu De, received the decoration.
Two years later, the Red Army created the Red Star Medal and decided that it should be the highest decoration for military personnel.
Since then, the Chinese armed forces have reformed their honor system several times.
The Central Military Commission's Political Work Department began working on the new regulation in January 2019.
It was reviewed and approved by a meeting of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau on Nov 18 last year and then issued by the CPC Central Committee, State Council and Central Military Commission on Dec 9.