March 5, 2011 / 7:47 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-China internal security spending jumps past army budget

 * To spend $95 bln on public security, $92 bln on
 * Security spend includes police, jails, state
 * China to remain vigilant against calls for
 (Adds budget details, paragraph 9) 
 By Chris Buckley	
 BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - China's spending on police and
domestic surveillance will hit new heights this year, with
"public security" outlays unveiled on Saturday outstripping the
defence budget for the first time as Beijing cracks down on
protest calls.	
 China's ruling Communist Party also issued its loudest
warning yet against recent Internet-spread calls for "Jasmine
Revolution" protest gatherings inspired by popular uprisings in
North Africa and the Middle East. 	
 The 13.8 percent jump in China's planned budget for police,
state security, armed civil militia, courts and jails was
unveiled at the start of the annual parliamentary session, and
brought planned spending on law and order items to 624.4 billion
yuan ($95.0 billion).	
 By contrast, China's People's Liberation Army budget is set
to rise 12.7 percent to 601.1 billion yuan ($91.5 billion).	
 "This would be the first time that the openly announced
domestic security budget has surpassed military spending", said
Xie Yue, a political scientist at Tongji University in Shanghai.
He called the figure a gauge of China's spending on what
officials call "stability protection."	
 "This shows the rising costs of maintaining internal
control," said Xie, who studies China's domestic security
policies and spending. "This system is very sensitive to any
instability or contention."
 China's main political risks:                 
 China defence budget rises                 
 Succession pressures stoke crackdown       
 China stability spending raises alarm      
 Protest call smothered in Beijing:         
 Risks slim of China soon erupting          
 China tightens reporting restrictions      
 The Beijing Daily, a Party mouthpiece, signalled that China
would not relax its crackdown against Internet-spread calls for
pro-democracy protests inspired by Middle Eastern uprisings.	
 "Everyone knows that stability is a blessing and chaos is a
calamity," said the newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the
Communist Party administration for China's capital.	
 The bulk of China's spending growth on internal security and
law and order comes from provincial and local government
outlays, tables in the Chinese-language version of the Finance
Ministry report showed. The central government's "public
security" budget for 2011 is 161.7 billion yuan, a rise of 9.6
percent in that figure from 2010.	
 The budget figures and protest warning show how jumpy
China's leaders are about potential unrest, despite robust
economic growth and powerful security forces. The forces were on
show in Beijing on Saturday, with police and troops stationed at
nearly every major street corner.	
 Last year, central and local agencies spent 548.6 billion
yuan on public security, more than the 514.0 billion yuan the
government initially budgeted. As a result, actual spending on
internal order last year was slightly higher than spending on
national defence, which hit 532.1 billion yuan.	
 Chinese scholars have said spending on enforcing domestic
security is diverting money from welfare spending and other
initiatives that could ease causes of social unrest.
 "When a goal as vast and vague as 'stability maintenance'
becomes an obvious leadership priority, and there is money
about, people will come rushing out of the woodwork arguing that
the thing they want to do is critical to stability maintenance,"
said Murray Scot Tanner, a researcher who studies China's
domestic security policies for CNA, a private research group in
the United States.	
 Many foreign experts believe China's real military budget is
much bigger. Xie, the Shanghai professor, said spending on
"stability maintenance" was also far higher than official data.	
 China's most immediate security fear is the online move for
"Jasmine Revolution" protest gatherings inspired by the
political flux across the Middle East and North Africa, but
protest calls in China have little chance of taking off.	
 Police have rounded up dozens of dissidents. Internet
censorship also means that few Chinese residents are aware of
the calls for protests spread by an overseas Chinese website.	
 "Those people intent on concocting and finding Middle
East-style news in China will find their plans come to nothing,"
said the Beijing Daily commentary.	
($1=6.571 Yuan)
(Reporting by Chris Buckley, Editing by Don Durfee and Daniel

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