undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

China hikes defence budget to $175 bn

10 March 2018, 12:58 | Damon Campbell

Party censors have stamped out any dissent on social media over Xi’s gathering of power

Party censors have stamped out any dissent on social media over Xi’s gathering of power

The Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China (PRC) published the report on the central and local budget draft for 2018 at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) on March 5, 2018.

Boosting the military budget, curbing "systemic risks" in the economy and targeting GDP growth at 6.5% were the key policies announced as the curtain went up for the National People's Congress in Beijing.

In line with Xi's vision of turning China into a superpower, Beijing upped military spending by 8.1 percent to $175 billion for this year. Chinese defense spending is only officially about one-quarter of the military spending of the United States.

Defense spending has increased following Xi's appointment as Commander-in-Chief in April 2016. "It is extremely alarming for Australia and many other countries in the region".

Ma Baozi, from central Henan province, a source of numerous migrant workers who power the country's economy, said of ditching presidential term limits: "It's very good. People shouldn't be left guessing as to what exactly the objective of these increases is". The defence spending figure is closely watched around the world for clues to China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

"China's development will not constitute a threat to any country".

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China will target 6.5 percent economic growth overall this year, Li announced, an entirely unsurprising number, but notably without last year's caveat that it could be "higher if possible in practice".

While China is aiming for a narrower official deficit, leaders still plan to expand the issuance of special objective bonds, which are sold by local governments to finance items that aren't included in the general public budget and not counted in the deficit ratio released annually.

Today, China's material and technological foundations are much stronger; its industrial system is complete, its market is vast, its human resources are abundant, and its entrepreneurs and innovators are dynamic, Li pointed out.

But analysts said China's military spending is still fairly low by the standards of developed countries.

"If it would be the case that a wide number of people were being consulted, I'd imagine there would be many leaks - people would leak that to worldwide media", he said.

Asked whether China's propaganda drive risked creating a Mao-style personality cult around Xi, Song Fengnian, an elderly delegate wearing a golden Mao Zedong lapel pin on his chest, said it was "a definite good thing". "It is increasingly clear that China and Russian Federation want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions".

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