China is adopting a practice long used in Western armies; employing civilians instead of soldiers for many support jobs. The Chinese army is hiring thousands of civilians to perform jobs as drivers, clerical workers, communications specialists and repairmen. As was discovered in the West after World War II, especially in all-volunteer forces, it was more effective to have your soldiers doing soldier things, and hire civilian workers for the civilian jobs. So, rather than having soldiers working in kitchens, typing pools and chauffeuringbig shots around, civilians are hired. The soldiers are sent back to military units, to do what they are supposed to be doing.
While China is late in picking up on this, it shows that they are serious about improving the skills and effectiveness of their troops. It also makes it easier to recruit professional troops, as the recruits know what they are getting into, and will not be diverted to a civilian job.