Today China Daily published a number of articles about how China is cutting the size of its military. The gist of it is that the country will cut its military by about 300,000 troops in the process of modernizing, using more effective and “efficient” weapons rather than bloated troop ranks. China Daily is a state-owned English-language paper, so it is amusing to see how the paper pushes pro-government views with contradictory statements in the space of a few paragraphs. (The front page had three big photos of Tibet’s 50th “anniversary” celebration and a note on how Tibet’s GDP grew 68 times since its “liberation.”) On the one hand, China cutting it’s troop numbers is a sign that China is committed to a peaceful rise — why else would they want a smaller military? — but on the other hand, the military will be even more effective at defending the Chinese people (that is to say, stronger, though the paper didn’t use that word).
The best example of this doublespeak argument comes from Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant for the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, who did an interview with the paper that was condensed into an op-ed, “A lighter but sharper force for peace.”
Here are 3 things we learn from Guangyu’s views:
- ) China cutting its military proves they are committed to peace:
In comparison, the United States has a population of 315 million and a military of 1.4 million personnel. That means 445 out of every 100,000 American citizens are military personnel. And neighboring Japan, with a population of 126 million, has 247,000 personnel in its “Self-Defense Forces”, for a ratio of 200 SDF personnel for every 100,000 people. Both are higher than China’s.
After the troop cut, only 146 out of every 100,000 people in China will serve in the military. That is solid evidence of China’s defense policy being purely defensive in nature and the country is not pursuing military superiority.
2.) Next sentence: China cutting its military will improve its military:
The move to cut troops is also in accordance with the central leadership’s policy of improving the quality of the military. As a country advances on the technology front, it can afford to reduce the size of its military without compromising its ability to defend itself. For example, even though the size of the US military is smaller than China’s, advanced technologies, excellent support systems and modern equipment enable it to reach every corner of the globe to defend American interests.
3.) Don’t worry, China is mostly just getting rid of non-combat performance troupes and troops with old-fashioned equipment.
Reports say the number of troops with old-fashioned equipment would be reduced, with the leadership using the money to provide advanced equipment and devices for elite troops. … Many analysts say the PLA will mainly cut the number of its performing troupes instead of “true military” personnel. That’s a reasonable guess, because it conforms to the top leadership’s ongoing military reform plan, and its efforts to root out corruption from all walks of life, including the PLA.
So there you have it: China’s plan to expand the strength of its military by cutting the size of obsolete troop units and entertainers and using the savings on advanced weaponry proves China is dedicated to peace.