How Will CCP’ Military Spending Change During Xi’s Rule?
China’s military spending, called by economists one of its
two biggest financial sinks, always draws wide attention.
At the Chinese Communist Party’ (CCP) National People’s
Congress meeting now, CCP announced that the military budget in 2013 will be 770.6 billion Yuan, or 10.7% higher.
As CCP’ huge military spending continues to disturb China’s
neighbors, what will the situation be under Xi Jinping’ rule?
In the last decade, CCP’ military spending continues to grow
by a double-digit, drawing China’s neighbors attention.
“China’s Threat Theory” also becomes a long-standing
hot topic for discussion.
Last year, CCP had shown robustness in the dispute over
Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, drawing further media attention.
BBC report cited Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun’s article,
that CCP’s military increase focuses on the East and South China Sea to cope with the US ‘Back to Asia’ strategy.
Hua Po, Beijing political affairs observer:
”When making decisions about military spending,
the CCP won’t take into account the attitudes of
its neighboring countries.
In most cases the CCP only claims that it will develop
peacefully without seeking hegemony.
All its work is no more than making announcements, etc.
But CCP won’t really compromise on its military increase.”
In the recent months, Xi Jinping made high-profile
inspection tour in the CCP’s military forces.
Hua Po remarked that Xi had to establish his authority
in the military as the new commander-in-chief.
Hua Po: ”In the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe, the revolt of military at critical moments had become a key factor.
Therefore to protect his position, Xi Jinping has to establish
authority in the military to ensure his absolute leadership.
Only by achieving this can Xi stabilize the situation
at critical moments.”
On the other hand, Xi had visited most military groups
in his inspection tour, including the army, navy, air force, the second artillery, and the armed police, among others.
He stressed that the army had to be absolutely loyal to CCP,
following the principle of “the Party Commands the Gun.”
This clearly shows Xi Jinping’s worries about the army’s loyalty.
Hua Po: ”Right now, the social conflicts in China
have reached a critical level.
The possibility of having another historic event
like the ‘June 4t Incident’ also grows higher.
Therefore Xi Jinping wants to make sure that the army
will follow his commands at critical moments.
To achieve this Xi also made important personnel changes
in the Military Commission at the 18th CCP’s Congress.”
China’s economic growth is projected
to drop in the coming year.
Hua thinks CCP’s military budget will experience a significant
slowdown after Xi solidifies his leadership in the military.
Currently Xi needs to take care of the army’s sentiments,
as he just took power.
This is the reason why the military spending
maintains a two-digit growth.
Hua Po remarked that Xi attempts to strike a balance
between justice and mercy over the army.
On one hand, he is trying to address the problem
of the widespread corruption to establish his authority;
on the other, he obliges them by cutting down the military
increase in a moderate manner, because he doesn’t want to irritate the military force.
Political commentator Heng He remarked that the military
increase will not influence China’s economic development too much as China has a very large economic pool.
Heng He: ”The more important question is how much
will the CCP depend on the military to solve any crisis.
If a huge military power is necessary to deal with political
or economic crisis in the future, this will lead to increase in the army’ spending.
I don’t think this policy will change much
with the new commander-in-chief.”
Heng He further remarked that being able to “benefit”
from corruption is what the CCP entices its followers with.
If all the corruption is really eliminated,
then both the party and its army will have survival crisis.
Heng He: ”How can the CCP implement anti-corruption
policy with a power from one individual?
When the whole party is corrupt,
anti-corruption is what will destroy it.
This cannot last for long as it would either kill the party,
or the individual himself.
At most it can become
a political movement for a while.
But it will never be really effective in eliminating corruption,
which is already ubiquitous.”
Another article reveals that the salaries in the army
will be raised again in June.
This move can be seen as Xi continuing to win
the army’s loyalty with “power” and “money.”
In such a case there is little chance of seeing a significant
slowdown in the military spending growth.
According to US statistics, China’s “actual” military spending
is maybe 3 to 4 times higher to what CCP announces to be.