The Information Office of China's State Council issued on Monday a white paper titled "China's National Defense in 2004". Facts and figures from the document as following:
Reducing the troops by 200,000: Since the mid-1980s, China has twice downsized its military by a total of 1.5 million. In September 2003, the Chinese government decided to further reduce 200,000 troops by the end of 2005 to maintain the size of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) at 2.3 million. The current restructuring, while cutting down the numbers, aims at optimal force structures, smoother internal relations and better quality.
Defense expenditure: Pursuant to the National Defense Law, the Chinese government follows the guiding principle of the coordinated development of national defense and economy. China's GDP in 2002 and 2003 was 10,517.234 billion yuan and 11,725.194 billion yuan respectively. Its defense expenditure in 2002 and 2003 was 170.778 billion yuan and 190.787 billion yuan respectively. Its defense budget for 2004 is 211.701 billion yuan.
The increased part of the defense expenditure has primarily been used for increasing the salaries and allowances of the military personnel, further improving the social insurance system for servicemen, supporting the structural and organizational reform of the military; increasing investment in the development of high-caliber talents in the military; moderately increasing equipment expenses.
China's defense expenditure lower than major Western countries': In the past two years, the percentages of China's annual defense expenditure to its GDP and to the state financial expenditure in the same period have remained basically stable. For most of the years since the 1990s, the growth rate of China's defense expenditure has been lower than that of the state financial expenditure.
The absolute amount of China's defense expenditure has long been lower than those of some major Western countries, and the proportion to the GDP and state financial expenditure has also been relatively low. In 2003, China's defense expenditure amounted to only 5.69 percent of that of the United States, 56.78 percent of that of Japan, 37.07 percent of that of the United Kingdom, and75.94 percent of that of France.
10 million militia members: As an important component of the Chinese armed forces and the assistant and backup forces of the PLA, the militia force is an armed organization composed of the masses not released from their regular work. The militia is divided into two categories - the ordinary and the primary militia. The primary militia comprises rapid reaction detachments, infantry detachments, specialized technical detachments and detachments with corresponding specialties. There are now 10 million primary militia members in China.
Defense Education: In 2003, some 1,100 colleges and universities and 11,500 senior high schools throughout China conducted military training as required and more than 8 million students received such training.
Peaceful use of military technology:China has made remarkable progress in putting military industrial technology to civil use in the past two years. In 2003, the output value of civilian products rose by 20 percent as compared with that of the previous year, accounting for more than 65 percent of the total output value of the defense-related science, technology and industry.
China's mainland now has nine nuclear power generating sets in operation, the total installed capacity of which is 7.01 million KW. Another two, each with an installed capacity of 1.06 million KW, are now under construction. In 2003, China's nuclear power production was 43.3 billion KWH, accounting for 2.3 percent of its total power production.
41 successful space launches: Major breakthroughs have been made in space technologies for civil use. Since October 1996, China has succeeded in 41 space launches. The successful launching of the "Shenzhou 5" spaceship in October 2003 sent China's first astronaut into space. A lunar probe project was officially started in January 2004, and a lunar orbiting exploration is scheduled to be carried out by the end of 2007.
3,362 peacekeepers: Since its first dispatch of military observers to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in 1990, China has sent 3,362 military personnel to 13 UN peacekeeping operations. Since January 2000, China has sent 404 policemen to the peacekeeping operations in six UN peacekeeping task areas including East Timor. In 2004, China has sent 59 policemen to East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan, Kosovo of Serbia-Herzegovina and Haiti, and a 125-member organic police detachment to Haiti to serve with MINUSTAH at the request of the UN. In the past 14 years, six Chinese servicemen lost their lives and dozens wounded in UN peacekeeping operations.
At present, 845 PLA personnel are working in eight UN peacekeeping task areas.
Military relations with more than 150 countries: China has established military relations with more than 150 countries in the world. It has set up over 100 military attache's offices in its embassies abroad, and 85 countries have set up military attache's offices in China. Over the past two years, the PLA has sent high-level military delegations to over 60 countries, and played host to over 130 delegations of military leaders from over 70 countries.
Military students exchanged: In recent years, the PLA has sent over 1,000 military students to more than 20 countries, and 19 military colleges and universities in China have established inter-collegiate exchange relations with their counterparts in 25 countries, including the United States and Russia. Over the past two years, 1,245 military personnel from 91 countries have come to study in Chinese military colleges and universities, and officers from 44 of these countries have participated in the International Symposium Course hosted by the PLA National Defense University.
Mine clearance efforts: China attaches great importance to the solution of the humanitarian issue arising from landmines. After providing assistance to Eritrea in 2002, China sent another group of mine clearance experts to that country to give guidance on de-mining operations in 2003, trained a total of 120 mine clearance specialists for Eritrea and provided the country with de-mining equipment.