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Military spending justified

2014-03-06 11:00 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

China plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan ($132 billion) in 2014, according to a budget report to be reviewed by the national legislature on Wednesday. In 2013, China spent 720.2 billion yuan on national defense, a 10.7-percent increase on the previous year.

Given the long-time Western media's habit of playing up "China military threat", it will not be surprising if they once again cry wolf at this year's double-digit growth in China's defense budget.

China's military expenditure is moderate and in line with the country's economic and security conditions. That does not change because of some Western media's efforts to mislead the rest of the world.

What the Western media never say is that China's military spending per personnel, which is the most important index in judging a nation's defense budget, is low compared with that of the developed countries.

The military budget per head of military personnel directly decides a nation's economic capability to equip its military forces, as well as how much money it can spend to support their training, even improve their living standards. Thus it is more commonly employed by experts than the total military budget to judge a nation's military buildup.

In China's case, the military spending for each of the 2.3 million military personnel is a little more than $57,000 this year, which is very low compared to the United States for instance.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday presented to Congress a $495.6 billion base budget for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2015, and the US' national defense for fiscal year 2014 is $526.6 billion. There are about 14.4 million military personnel at service in the US, so its per head military spending stood at more than $365,000. The US per head military expenditure is still about six times that of China.

Even Japan, which claims to own self-defense forces only, has allocated 4.78 trillion yen ($46.8 billion) for military spending for fiscal year 2014. With about 240,000 self-defense military personnel, Japan's per head military expenditure stood at about $195,800. Moreover, Japan's defense budget in the fiscal year 2014 posted the biggest rise in nearly two decades.

In fact, in the first 10 years of reform and opening-up, the Chinese government deliberately kept the defense expenditure low as the country focused on economic development. As the economy has developed rapidly, there is no reason to blame China for improving the training and raising the living standards of those who serve to defend its people.

2014 Two Sessions

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