China's firepower 'over-stated' (2)

08:41, December 25, 2009      

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Xu Guangyu, a member of the government-backed China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, expressed reservations toward the ranking as he thinks it should be evaluated historically and dynamically, instead of only using static data such as current military expenditure.

"It's more reasonable to put China after Russia," General Xu said.

The report gives 60 percent weight to military expenditure and 20 percent to the number of troops and weaponry.

The idea is echoed by Ni Lexiong, a professor in the Politics Department of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, who pointed to the problem of the abuse of military spending.

"If the expenditure was all used to boost China's military strength, it could be taken as a reliable factor to evaluate China's military status," Ni said, adding that the indexes such as the number of troops and weapons should only be used for ancient times, as they are unreliable and inefficient for the evaluation of modern military strength.

According to the report, the quality of weaponry owned by the 11 nations is not accounted for, as it is impossible to evaluate, though the report admits that there is a big difference in terms of performance.

"The more rational ranking should include indexes such as air assault capacity, military soft power and military theory," Ni said.

A poll Thursday on huanqiu.com showed that 85.2 percent of nearly 1,800 participants believed the report overestimated China's military strength, while only 12 percent agreed with the ranking. 43.1 percent supported the seventh-place ranking of China's comprehensive national strength, with 35.6 percent and 21.3 percent saying it is higher or lower, respectively.

Li Shaojun, also a co-author of the military part of the report, conceded that he is aware that the result will be met with many challenges from the public, but that an explanation has been given as to how the evaluation was carried out.

"It is just the result of a study which has some strategic value. But it can't be used to fit the reality," Li said.

Gao Hua, a deputy researcher with the CASS who also participated in the study, stressed that the report does not intend to draw a conclusion on how China's military power should be ranked globally. Instead, it attempts to explore the relevance between increasing military expenditure and the global financial downturn.

Source: Global Times
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