Connect with us

Breaking News

Beijing Boosts Defense Spending amid Rising US Tensions



Lion statue in front of the Forbidden city in China | Beijing Boosts Defense Spending amid Rising US Tensions | Featured

China slashed government spending across the board in its annual budget, from education to public services. However, one area where the country won’t skimp is its military.

As the Chinese economy suffers along with the rest of the world, President Xi Jinping has shown he’s more willing to sacrifice public programs than national security. He boosted defense spending by over 6% while most programs saw cuts. His comments at the annual meeting of the Chinese Community Party Congress highlighted a more martial position. It also showed a focus on military preparedness.

Chinese state media reported heavily on the event and Xi’s speeches. Regarding the military, state news agency Xinhua said,
“He ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Chinese state media often features heavily laudatory stories regarding Beijing’s military, but Xi Jinping himself has indicated a renewed focus on defense. Military spending was one of the only items to grow in the new annual budget, and Xi spoke extensively about the need for the military to be immediately prepared for battle.

China on the Back Foot

The likely explanation for this military buildup is an increasingly insecure China. It is an understatement to say that China has made few friends in 2020. The country’s highly suspicious handling of the coronavirus pandemic has embittered nations around the world. Its adventurism in the South China Sea has united its neighbors and the United States in containment efforts. Its insistence that Taiwan be forced into diplomatic isolation despite Taiwan’s crucial assistance during the pandemic has also been a frequent staple of the international news cycle.

China’s budget decisions, as well as the tone of the Communist Party’s annual congressional plenary, indicate a country on a defensive footing. In 2019, China was in a confident, expansionary mindset. This was evidenced by ambitious global infrastructure projects and heavy development spending at home. Today, the country is focusing on stability and security.

In this spirit of national security paranoia, the country is continuing to crack down on Hong Kong. Beijing recently passed a new law that will extend most of mainland China’s security powers to the territory. This effectively ends Hong Kong’s unique status within the Chinese political system.

Hong Kong “No Longer Autonomous”

In response to Hong Kong’s continued state of unrest, China has approved a law that essentially extends the mainland police state into Hong Kong. This gives Beijing more authority to clamp down on protesters. It also provides them more power to influence the media, and control the political process on the island.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Hong Kong should no longer receive special status under US law. He said it is no longer meaningfully autonomous. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground…It is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.”

Under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, signed into law by Trump last year, the State Department must recertify Hong Kong’s autonomy each year in order for the territory to keep special trade status. If lumped in with China, then Hong Kong’s status as a financial center is in serious jeopardy.

The move is intended to punish China’s violation of human rights and agreed autonomy for Hong Kong until 2047. However, the effect will likely be an acceleration of Hong Kong’s further melding into the Chinese political system. This can also happen as China will have few incentives left to allow the territory its unique autonomy and freedoms.

Up Next:

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2022 Breaking News Alerts. This copyrighted material may not be republished without express permission. The information presented here is for general educational purposes only. MATERIAL CONNECTION DISCLOSURE: You should assume that this website has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the persons or businesses mentioned in or linked to from this page and may receive commissions from purchases you make on subsequent web sites. You should not rely solely on information contained in this email to evaluate the product or service being endorsed. Always exercise due diligence before purchasing any product or service. This website contains advertisements.