Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chinese policing spending - budget

How much is China spending on her police? The answer is no one knows for sure. The following reported budget figures on Chinese internal security (IS) funding are not only for IS policing per se? As such the media report (has the potential) to mislead more so than it informs.

The crucial question here, for analysis purpose, is not how much China spends on IS, but what IS means in budgetary terms. For example, in China the PLA (People's Liberation Army), PAP (People's Armed Police and MPS (Ministry of Public Security) all assume IS "policing" functions.

The other question is how such IS budgeted item is spent. Chinese police is in a reform mode, and has been so for the last 30 years. In the last 10 years MPS, as with PAP and PLA, has invested a lot of money in capacity building, from technology enhancement to personnel training. We (outsiders) have little understanding of how and how much is being spent to modernized Chinese policing, including IS capacity building and operational expenditure.

The final question to be asked is whether reported IS funding includes provincial/local budget. Policing in China, as in the US, is a local affairs. It is largely locally funded, and managed, with central financial supplement and strategic direction. Technically IS is a central policing function, e.g., civil disturbance. But mass incidents are mostly local affairs to start with, and in many cases arrested before they become national concerns.


Kam C. Wong, Police Reform in China (Taylor and Francis, Sept. 15, 2011).
Kam C. Wong, Chinese Policing: History and Reform (Peter Lang, 2009).

Chinese spending on internal policing outstrips defense budget, ministry says
Bloomberg, March 22, 2011

China spent more on its internal police force than on its armed forces last year and plans to do the same this year, as the government deployed security forces around the country to control growing social unrest.

China spent 548.6 billion yuan (US$83.5 billion) on internal security last year, 6.7 percent more than budgeted and a 15.6 percent increase over 2009, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said in a report released on Saturday. Last year, China spent 533.5 billion yuan on national defense, or 0.3 percent more than budgeted, according to the ministry.

The surge in public security spending comes as so-called mass incidents, everything from strikes to riots and demonstrations, are on the increase.

There were at least 180,000 such incidents last year, twice as many as in 2006, Sun Liping (孫立平), a professor of sociology at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, said in a Feb. 25 article in the Economic Observer.

Zhou Yongkang (周永康), a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee who oversees the country’s public security forces, said in a Feb. 21 article in the People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, that the government must “defuse social conflicts and disputes just as they germinate.”

This year, the government plans to spend 624.4 billion yuan on public security, a 13.8 percent increase from last year, and 601.2 billion yuan on defense, a 12.7 percent increase, according to the finance ministry.

The announcement comes days after hundreds of police deployed in cities across the country following an online call for rallies inspired by uprisings in the Middle East.

Like national defense, China spends less on its police than the US, where federal, state and local governments spent a combined US$213.7 billion on police, prisons and the judicial system in 2005, the last year for which figures are available, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice.

US spending on the justice system in 2005 was 1.7 percent of that year’s GPD. China’s announced spending on public safety was 1.4 percent of last year’s GDP

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