15 December 2013

Just Out in December 2013 China Quarterly: “Demystifying China’s Defence Spending: Less Mysterious in the Aggregate”

Adam P. Liff and Andrew S. Erickson, “Demystifying China’s Defence Spending: Less Mysterious in the Aggregate,” The China Quarterly 216 (December 2013): 805-30. (lead article)

Click here to read the full text version.

Abstract

China’s limited transparency concerning its defence spending harms strategic trust, but foreign analysts often lose sight of important realities. Specific details remain unclear, but China’s defence spending overall is no mystery – it supports PLA modernization and personnel development as well as its announced objectives of securing China’s homeland and asserting control over contested territorial and maritime claims, with a focus on the Near Seas (the Yellow, East, and South China seas). This article offers greater context and a wider perspective for Chinese and Western discussions of China’s rise and its concomitant military build-up, through a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of its defence spending and military transparency.

Keywords: China; defence spending; military budget; rising powers; People’s Liberation Army; PLA

Copyright © The China Quarterly 2013

(Online publication March 25, 2013)

Keywords

  • China;
  • defence spending;
  • military budget;
  • rising powers;
  • People’s Liberation Army;
  • PLA

Correspondence

Email: apl@princeton.edu (corresponding author)

Adam P. Liff is a doctoral candidate in Princeton University’s department of politics. He is also a Minerva Scholar affiliated with the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC).

Andrew S. Erickson is an associate professor in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). He is also an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

Footnotes

Adam Liff thanks the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation for generous research travel support. The authors thank Richard Bitzinger, Dennis Blasko, Felix Boecking, Amy Chang, Patrick Chovanec, Thomas Christensen, Roger Cliff, Gabriel Collins, Abraham Denmark, Arthur Ding, M. Taylor Fravel, Nan Li, Darren Lim, James Mulvenon, Barry Naughton, William Norris, Michael O’Hanlon, Suzanne Patrick, Robert Ross, Sean Sullivan, one anonymous American expert and two anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts. They owe special thanks to Yunzhuang Zhang and Nancy Hearst for suggesting useful Chinese-language sources. Unless explicitly cited otherwise, the views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors.