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Is It Worth to Be Afraid of the Chinese Military Power?

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Is It Worth to Be Afraid of the Chinese Military Power?

IMAGE: Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti

In recent decades, China has achieved major success not only in economics, politics, construction and sports. All this time it has been also actively modernizing the largest army on the planet. Only the country’s official military budget grew from less than $10 billion in the early 1990s to $177 billion in 2019, becoming the second largest in the world. Reforms conducted by the current President of China Xi Jinping dramatically increased combat efficiency of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA), making it more mobile, modern and technically advanced. China’s military machine is now being transformed into an American-style army with a powerful fleet and aviation capable of conducting combat operations far from Chinese borders and protecting the global interests of the new superpower.

The United States have recently declared a trade and technological war on the PRC. Already at this point, all major American strategic documents call China “number one threat” to the US national interests. Today, an open military confrontation is much more likely to happen than it was twenty years ago.

The Chinese army firmly established itself as the world’s third-largest military force – second only to the United States and Russia. Even before the start of the current stage of forced modernization which began in the 1990s, the PRC was already one of the three countries capable of destroying any strategic object on the planet with an atomic missile. However, at that point Beijing lagged far behind its main competitors in terms of conventional weapons.

Things have seriously changed since that time. The military budget of China in 2019 equals $ 177 billion. In nominal terms, this figure is almost 3.8 times larger than the Russian military budget ($ 46 billion), but still does not reach even a quarter of the American one ($ 716 billion). China has finally moved away from the Soviet doctrine of the reliance on a huge land-based army and is currently developing the sea and air components of its military machine at a fast pace, which will allow it to use its military power far beyond national borders.

The Chinese auto industry is also becoming one of the world’s leaders. China is the largest automobile market in the world and also the largest automaker on the planet. Last year, it released 28 million 81 thousand new cars. The number of chinese car brands is constantly increasing: over the past year, 13 new local brands have appeared on the local market. Special mention should also be made of the so-called New Energy Vehicles segment, which includes rechargeable hybrids, electric cars and hydrogen cars.

China is now the world’s second largest exporter of military drones – one of the most advanced types of weapons. Chinese battle drones have already found their buyers in Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, Nigeria and even in Europe. In September 2019, Serbia Buys Chinese Wing Loong Attack Drones.

If we compare the armies of China, Russia and the United States in terms of numbers, we will discover that Beijing has many reasons for pride: it is ahead of its main competitors in many key indicators. This, however, does not say anything about the quality of their technologies. Some Chinese weapons systems are notoriously outdated, and their replacement with new models will occur only within the next five years.

Comparison of US, Russian and Chinese Military Armed Forces

Is It Worth to Be Afraid of the Chinese Military Power?

Click to see the full-size image

The Chinese military-industrial complex is now one of the most powerful in the world, although in the late 1990s military experts considered it to be outdated: most of the technologies trailed far behind Russian and Western models. Richard Bitzinger, Senior researcher at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, highlights three key reasons for the dramatic breakthrough of China’s defense construction.

First, Beijing has introduced a new model for managing the defense industry, making it more “marketable.” The number of employees was reduced, production chains were consolidated, many conglomerates were divided into smaller companies and forced to compete with each other for government and export contracts. Secondly, in recent years Beijing has been relying on deep civil-military integration, trying to actively use the achievements of commercial sector in the military-industrial complex and encouraging military factories to commercialize their products. Thirdly, the greatest effect was exerted by a multiple increase in the military budget. Chinese enterprises got the opportunity to attract the best graduates of universities, invest in scientific developments and test new types of technology.

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  • Z.P.

    Nobody has more tanks than Russia.
    Russia has them altogether about 20 000 (counting those in reserve)
    More than all NATO forces combined.
    Those on the chart are only number of the tanks that are in service with the army..
    China is double in size of Russian army so it is logical that they have bigger numbers of the equipment.
    Also Russian artillery and missile forces are second to none in fire power and range.
    As for ICBMs Russia (except for Satan) has only ICBM’s with multiple warheads ( unlike China or US )
    So they have less ICBM’s but more nuke warheads (more powerful as well) than US has.

    • Jens Holm

      Your numbers are not correct at all. I will not dispute with You.

      Above You see Russians has 3090 tanks and USA has 2831. So You tell me the rest of Nato fx minus Turkey has less then 259 tanks.

      Maybee You should check Your facts again.

      • PZIVJ

        2019 Russian tank numbers:
        Active In Reserve
        T-90 350 200
        T-80 450 3000
        T-72 1950 7000

        • Z.P.

          Those are Wiki numbers I suppose?
          But don’t they say anything about T-64, T-55’s ?
          I am more than sure that total number of all the tanks (including reserve) was 20 000.
          It is true that I was reading about that many years ago and for some reason situation might have changed.
          In that case it might be that they’ve decided selling older tanks is much more cost effective than to keep them in reserve.
          Either the older models are not counted or they are already sold as second hand equipment

      • Z.P.

        Even Western propaganda platform – Wikipedia disagree with you.

        • Jens Holm

          I just relate to that those numbers are very inaccurate on both sides, but the russian ones is so relative, thet You cant use those numbers as You do at all.

          Those are relative “bruttos” and maybee not even that.

          Its says nothing Russians fx has 20.000 tanks or semilar if many are old and hardly can drive as well as they not even has drivers for them.

          Thats foes for west as well. The danish forces do have many F16s as well as Leopards, but a % is kind of spareparts and last chance. Those cant be renovated or upgraded like that.

          The same goes for the big museum of 20.000 You use.

          ANYBODY can write in WIKIPEDIA. Thats the string side of that organ, but things there has to be documnted as well as its goes. People like You can correvct in it too.

          Very primitive attitude to the best we got for the whole world, where we all can participated writing in anything we wish in words, peciyure, videos, sound and like that.

          I also will repeat back, that all other sources I see confirm, that Russians might have been that strong, but are not now. Russia also work for a smaller but more effective world and by that those 20000 and much much less is no option for war as well a being museum.

          Try “military strength” links at the Internet. Thats what war is about and not simplified numbers.

          I see it again and again fx for Iran about a month ago. They have many many soldiers, but those mainly are very low educated and armed and a war fx by USA would nor fight agains them at all, if not needed.

          The same goes for Turkey.

          The military victories would be by taking infrastructure away, so they fast will be bodies having no arms legs and maybee heads. It doesnt matter if the troops of theirs are digged very well in concrite boxes as in WW1.

          Iran fx have no infrastructure for removing troops and support them as well outisde the country and hardly inside. By the USA boycut they only has fuel if most of themuse bicycles too.

          MILITARY STRENGHT.

          You have written the wrong parts of Wikipedia as well. Of course You too often get the wrong answers, if You ask the wrong questians and You not even know, what war is.

          The Russian T34 never had taken anything back from the Russians that soon without the 250.000 American Bedford trucks mainly filled with american fuel. You see them all over. They never are mentioned in the Russian propaganda as well as the other parts of help.

          We only can read, that the first Sherman tanks given to USSR burned well, which was true but also was the only thing USA had so send. The same goes for the heavy armed Grant(and Lee). They were not good for attack, but Stalin and other never mention, they were not sonstructed for attack. Those were defensive weapons and after Staling lost manyby stupidity, they were very good against Finland north of Leningrad and to Murmansk, because the nazis used second class equipment there. So those tanks did their job and replaced the defence lines well in stead of the Russians a year og two had had nothing having lost most production lines incl. all truck factories in Ukraine.

          1) Russians of today are not even able to supply the many tanks, You see at the short list well.
          2) Westerns in many ways are semilar. The reserves are useless or close too, but at least we have the capsity to renovate fast, but we – very important – dont have educated drivers and gunners for the reserve.

          • Z.P.

            Sorry mate, can’t be bothered to read your speech.
            You all quote Wiki and use it as “valid” source, only when it suits you (which is very often)!
            Wiki is Western product and its content is controlled by the West only.
            Thus it is instrument of propaganda like the rest of the Western MSM .
            Western media in general has nothing with informing people.
            It is huge PROPAGANDA MACHINE.
            You hate Russia because has guts to oppose to all of you and stop Western domination and exploitation of the rest of the planet.

          • Jens Holm

            Then buzz of from the internet and computertechnology as well.

            As I reacall it, the editors of fx Internet are from countries all over the world, because they have better local knowledge then You.

  • Hasbara Hunter

    War…War…any next War won’t be Conventional that very long…How fast & accurate one can intercept incoming Hypersonic Nukes seems to be much more relevant than the number of Tanks & Boats you’ve got…

  • Jens Holm

    I think the question is wrong. As we see most war is added trade, sanctions and threats. Here we see China has changed a lot and has becomme much bigger.

    So we have to add all factors.

  • Lazy Gamer

    All the weaponry in the world will help little if they dont know how to use it effectively and efficiently. Look at Yemen.

    • Hasbara Hunter

      The Houthis know very well how to use all sorts of Weaponry…they have destroyed & Defeated a lot of AngloZioNazi Modern Technology

  • Icarus Tanović

    Yes, it is.

  • verner

    yep and indeed and the evil americans should just watch out because when chine sets its mind to it, it will invade the american heartland and take over the running of the country from the criminally insane cabal presently running the country out of washington dc. all for the better of the world since the americans have soiled the word democracy to something unrecognizable during the last 70 years.

  • Bob

    Multinational driven globalism has dramatically changed China – it has certainly had its costs on China – but multinationals chasing a vast cheap labor market, for greater profit, have in effect generated an authentic industrial revolution in China. The population has heavily shifted from rural to urban in last decades. Western multinationals have handed over troves of engineering and manufacturing know-how to Chinese contractors, who like all humans are highly adaptive to learnt experience. Sure, reverse engineering has its faults, lacking the developmental processes that came to a certain design conclusions through trial and error. But it’s worth recalling that in 19th century, Germany was considered an inferior industrial upstart, manufacturing cheap copies of British industrial products. To the point the British insisted a ‘Made in Germany’ label be placed on all German goods to mark them as inferior imitation products. A century later ‘Made in Germany’ had greater international market cache than ‘Made in UK’. Point being, the outcome of such wholesale change for China are still in motion.

  • Mehmet Aslanak

    Trade is not bad between US & China. Just like 1930s Nazi Germany & the US.
    Guess what happened in 1940s…