China has ordered its armed forces to end all paid outside work within the next three years as part of a push to make the world’s largest standing military more professional and battle ready.

A Defense Ministry notice viewed Monday said both the regular army and the paramilitary People’s Armed Police would be covered under the ban. It identified no specific fields but is thought to mainly target military art troupes, publishing houses and hospitals that accept paying civilian patients.

The ban is a “major political task concerning the overall scope of military construction and development,” the notice said, emphasizing the need for officers and troops to adhere to the guidance of the ruling Communist Party headed by President Xi Jinping, who also leads the party and government commissions that control the armed forces.

The 2.3 million-member People’s Liberation Army was ordered more than a decade ago to divest itself from its vast business empire that included factories and transport firms and was viewed as fueling corruption and slack discipline.

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