China's 2022 Military Spending Reaches $710 Billion, Over Triple What Beijing Announced

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, May 08, 2024 - 12:20 AM

By Frank Fang of Epoch Times

China’s communist regime spent $710.6 billion on its military in 2022, more than three times Beijing’s publicly stated totals, according to a report from the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

“Considering that the Pentagon has labeled China the ‘pacing challenge,’ this revelation should cause concern,” the April 29 report reads.

“When compared globally, China’s estimated $711 billion military budget illustrates that China is more of a ‘pacing threat’ than a ‘pacing challenge.’”

Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior fellow at the AEI and the author of the report, explained that she came up with the figure based on her calculation after accounting for economic adjustments, including cheaper labor costs in China, and estimating “reasonable but uncounted expenditures.”

China's DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019.

In 2022, the Chinese regime announced that its defense spending for the year would be $229 billion.

Beijing’s self-reported military spending should also include the money that it spent on its paramilitary organizations, Ms. Eaglen wrote, since these groups “are increasingly used in tandem with” the regime’s military, which is officially called the People’s Liberation Army.

She estimated that Beijing spent $45.2 billion on its People’s Armed Police Force and $2.1 billion on its China Coast Guard in 2022.

China doesn’t include other relevant expenditures related to its space forces, military satellites, or counter-space capabilities in its defense budget, according to the report.

“Given many satellites’ inherent dual-use capability and Beijing’s general adherence to a strategy of military-civil fusion in space policy, AEI’s model counted this entire budget as a military expenditure,” the report reads.

Ms. Eaglen estimated that China’s space budget in 2022 could have been $21 billion.

Other hidden expenditures included spending on military demobilization, retirement, and pensions, which the author estimated to total $46.1 billion. China likely spent more than $1.8 billion on continued construction of military facilities in the South China Sea and arms imports, according to the report.

A portion of the $711 billion spending also included military research and development expenditures, which Ms. Eaglen estimated to be $45.8 billion. However, she noted that the estimated military research and development spending could be much higher, considering the regime’s military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy, cyberespionage operations, and reliance on state-owned companies.

“If fully evaluated, Beijing’s expenditures via military-civil fusion and dual-use technology investments prove even the much larger $711 billion figure underestimates China’s military investments,” the report reads.

"Pacing Challenge"

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using the MCF strategy to acquire cutting-edge technologies, such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

According to the State Department, the regime is implementing the strategy through “licit and illicit means,” such as theft, to achieve military dominance. Private companies, joint research institutes, and academia are “being exploited” to help the CCP’s military advance, often “without their knowledge or consent,” the department warned.

“In just the past decade, however, China has managed to rapidly build sophisticated missile forces, surpass the United States by building the largest navy in the world, and catch up to and even exceed the United States in many other key national security areas,” the report reads.

“By calculating the true buying power behind the Chinese military budget, it’s easy to understand how Beijing can continue this unprecedented military buildup while, on paper, appearing to spend much less.”

In comparison, the United States spent $742.2 billion on its military in 2022, excluding supplemental spending, according to the report.

However, Ms. Eaglen noted that the approximately equal spending level between the two countries “plays to Beijing’s benefit.”

Continue reading at the Epoch Times