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Demystifying China’s Defence Spending: Less Mysterious in the Aggregate

In an upcoming China Quarterly article, former CWP Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Professor at the US Naval War College, Andrew Erickson, and current Princeton Politics doctoral candidate, Adam Liff, write that China’s limited transparency concerning its defence spending harms strategic trust, but foreign analysts often lose sight of important realities. Specific details remain unclear, but China’s defence spending overall is no mystery – it supports PLA modernization and personnel development as well as its announced objectives of securing China’s homeland and asserting control over contested territorial and maritime claims, with a focus on the Near Seas (the Yellow, East, and South China seas). This article offers greater context and perspective for Chinese and Western discussions of China’s rise and concomitant military build-up through a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of its defence spending and military transparency.  Full article here.