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Defense Priorities in Post-Mao Peking

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Journal article

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In spite of the continuing prominence naturally given to Mao Tse-Tung thought in Peoples Republic of China PRC publications -- prominence that is more than lip service -- there is little doubt that the new party leadership has been reassessing its priorities and strategy for bringing China to the worlds front ranks by the turn of the century. The reassessment is underlined by the spate of over 20 high-level conferences held on critical economic and defense-related matters between the winter of 1976 and the summer of 1977. The overall plan is the one reproposed by Chou En-Lai in his January 1975 speech during the National Peoples Conference meeting. It involves two phases the achievement by 1980 of an independent relatively comprehensive industrial and economic system, and, by the year 2000, comprehensive modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. The four modernizations of the second phase are obviously interrelated. Heavy industry remains the key, but it can grow only by increased investment in agriculture and light industry. The defense industry, similarly, grows only in its proper place within heavy industry. Science and technology, moreover, serve all other modernization. As to defense priorities, two basic funding problems arise. The first is the percentage of the national budget to be devoted directly to defense the second is the appropriate allocation of resources within the defense budget itself. The PRC press has published much-although only in general terms-on the first of these problems, and one can risk fairly firm predictions on probable trends for the coming decade. The second problem, however, is a matter of some sensitivity for Chinas national security and has consequently had little, if any, open discussion one can make only enlightened guesses on the subject.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations

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