Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, March 10, 2014

The state of China's state

How China's public budget affects its politics, and vice versa.

China congress reveals growth target and defence boost
China announced a growth target of 7.5% and revealed plans to raise its defence budget by 12.2%, as it opened its annual parliament session in Beijing.

Premier Li Keqiang said that economic development was the central task of the government, but "painful structural adjustments" were needed…

Mr Li also pledged to "declare war" on pollution, fight corruption "without mercy", and "crack down" on terrorism…

The 10-day meeting of around 3,000 legislators from delegations across China began on Wednesday.

China describes the National People's Congress (NPC) as the country's "supreme organ of state power". It has the power to enact and amend legislation. In practice, it is generally considered a rubber stamp for the ruling Communist Party…

Correspondents say the fact that the growth target for 2014 has not changed will lead some to question how serious China is about embracing economic reforms, which would involve lowering the growth rate.

According to Mr Li's speech, reforms were the "top priority" for the government and had entered "a critical stage".

"We must rely on the people, break mental shackles and vested interests with determination as great as a warrior cutting his wrist, and deepen reforms in all fronts."…

The increased budget will see military spending rise to just over $131bn this year (808 bn yuan).

China has consistently announced double-digit increases to its official military budget in recent years. Analysts say its total military spend may in fact be higher…

Issues such as targeting corruption and the environment are also on the agenda at the National People's Congress…

In his speech Mr Li admitted the toxic smog hanging over many Chinese cities was "nature's red light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development".

"We will declare war against pollution and fight it with the same determination we battled poverty," he said…

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