As the People’s Republic of China (PRC) prepares for the opening of the National People’s Congress and the unveiling of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, the budget for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was announced. Military spending in 2011 would increase from 532.1 billion renminbi ($81 billion) in 2010 to 601.1 billion renminbi ($91.5 billion).

This would represent a 12.7 percent increase from 2010 to 2011, compared with the 7.5 percent increase from 2009 to 2010, clearly suggesting that last year’s lower increase (single-digit rather than the annual double-digit increase of the last two decades) reflected the impact of the global economic downturn rather than a slowdown in Chinese defense spending.

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