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China plans 7.2% defence spending rise this year, faster than GDP target: Report


The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) two sessions of the top political meeting started on Saturday, March 4, and are expected to last for two weeks. The regime has set its 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) target at its lowest level in years. It also announced a 7 per cent increase in military spending, which is the second highest in 5 years, NTD reported.

NTD is a New York-based, global television network founded in 2001 by Chinese-Americans who fled communism. They understood that independent media are crucial to a free society.

The regime’s outgoing premier, Li Keqiang, made the last “Government Work Report” during his tenure on March 5 during the meeting, in which this year’s China’s economic growth (GDP) target was set at about 5 per cent, lower than expected by the outside world.

2022 was the second-worst year for China’s economy since at least the 1970s, trailing behind only the year 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the strict regime’s restrictive “zero-COVID” policy and control measures, NTD reported.

China’s GDP growth rate has continued to decline quarter by quarter since 2010, from 12.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 to 6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019. From 2021 to 2023, the “Government Work Report” issued by the ruling CCP has set gradually lowered economic growth rate targets at 6 per cent, 5.5 per cent, and 5 per cent respectively.

Even with the lowered target rate, in 2022, due to factors such as the pandemic, the impact of strict lockdowns on industries and consumption, and the international political situation, the final reported achieved GDP growth was only 3 per cent, far below expectations.

While commercial real estate is dying, residential real estate development is such that nobody wants to buy a house now. Real estate in third- and fourth-tier cities is a disaster. Manufacturing and export industries along China’s more affluent coastal areas are also struggling.

Fujian is a major manufacturing and foreign trade province of China, selling light industrial products such as shoes, clothing, textiles, and food to the domestic market and abroad. Many local private manufacturing companies’ owners expressed to the media that they have been experiencing a sharp decline in product orders.

Chinese media Economic reported on March 2 that according to a recruitment agency, many factories in the eastern coastal cities of Suzhou and Kunshan have reduced the hiring of new workers. Some factories that used to recruit 200-300 workers a day in the past two years now only recruit 20-50 people a day.

Officials Can’t Save China’s Economy. CCP leader Xi Jinping is expected to appoint an economic team during the Two Sessions, which is expected to be led by the new premier, Li Qiang.

The Chinese regime also announced increased military spending on March 5 that this year’s military budget is 1,553.7 billion yuan ($224 billion), an annual increase of 7.2 per cent, the second highest in the last five years. In the context of the escalation over Taiwan, intensified regional conflicts, and international turmoil, the CCP’s military budget has continued to increase in recent years despite a sluggish economy, which has caused international concern.

From 2019 to 2022, the annual increases in China’s defence spending announced by the CCP are 7.5 per cent, 6.6 per cent, 6.8 per cent, and 7.1 per cent, respectively.

According to World Bank statistics, China’s military spending last year accounted for 1.7 per cent of its GDP. In contrast, the U.S. military budget, which undertakes various security obligations around the world, accounted for 3.5 per cent of its GDP.

Wang Chao, a spokesman for the CCP’s National People’s Congress, claimed on March 4 that the increase in the regime’s defence budget is “relatively moderate and reasonable” and “is not only for the need to deal with complex security challenges but also the need to fulfil the responsibility of a major country.”

Wang, a mainland China observer who didn’t want to give his full name due to safety concerns, said that the CCP’s so-called goal is to export disasters to the rest of the world.

“There is no distinction between right and wrong for them, such as giving economic support to Russia and supporting Russia to invade other countries. I estimate that a large part of China’s financial resources has been spent in supporting Russia’s war.”

Su said, “The CCP’s military spending is to match its expansionary national strategy, which will definitely pose a threat to the world. The threat it poses over the Taiwan Strait is only a part of its strategy.”

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