Friday, March 5, 2010

Chinese military grows at single-digit rate

Formerly, it had been double-digit. The downtick, analysts say, is to assuage fears by the neighbors, particularly India and Vietnam, but perhaps South Korea, Japan, and maybe Taiwan as well.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Coming after almost two decades of double-digit increases, the relatively modest 7.5% boost in the budget, to $78 billion, also highlights the Chinese leadership's stated plan to channel funding to social programs.

"China is committed to peace," said Li Zhaoxing, a spokesman for the National People's Congress, where the budget figures were released.

It is an annual ritual for the military budget to be announced at the opening session of the congress. But as the legislature has no real oversight of the People's Liberation Army, the event is largely about what message the Chinese leadership wishes to send.

Western analysts believe that the Chinese government significantly underreports its military spending, so the announced modest increase might in fact be more of a signal than a reflection of reality.
I hope this means it'll be too much trouble to set up the Inner Cháoxiān Autonomous Prefecture.

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