Saturday, November 26, 2011

China spending big money to avoid Arab spring fever

China's ruling Communist Party is looking within for threats to its control over the country, spending more money on securing its population of over one billion than it did on its military last year, according to a new report to the U.S. Congress.

Conflicts in the Middle East with the popular Arab Spring movement have done nothing to assuage the government's fears, according to the report from a Congressional advisory panel.

"The party has created an extensive police and surveillance network to monitor its citizens and react to any potential threat to stability," the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in the report.

The 12-person expert panel, which was created in 2000 to advise Congress on the U.S. policy toward China, said when you add up spending on police, state security, armed militias, as well as courts and jails, China invested $83.5 billion in domestic security in 2010, surpassing their reported military budget of $81.2 billion. According to the report China's domestic security budget is going up, scheduled to grow faster than military spending in the years to come.

"China doesn't really perceive any external threat. It does recognize the possibility, but it's not imminent," said James Dobbins an analyst with the Rand Corporation. more