China military exports
By avalon on Jun 13, 2006
On the front page of China Daily today, an article appears titled 'Patience key to solve Iran nuke impasse'. This article is quite hard to find on their website. The Iran commentary is uninteresting but in a second section, under the same title, the author (Le Tian) comments on China selling arms (weapons - guns, helicopters, etc) to other countries around the world. What Le Tian doesn't mention is that what is being called for is greater accountability in China's export trade of arms. How would this help? To be more accountable means to be more open. By being more open it becomes easier for China to fight accusations by being able to point at facts rather than say "trust us". As for my position on arms sales, I'd refer you to a 2005 movie titled "Lord of War". It is said that the movie is in part based on fact. I believe it is an entertaining movie that is also educational. The sad part, in my eye, is it is all too believable. If you haven't seen it, watch it.
Whether it is by coincidence or not, China Daily today has two extra articles on guns - "China targets illegal explosives, guns" and "Crackdown to target illegal guns, explosives". So the sale of one gun can earn a farmer 3 times what he makes in a year on his farm. I think there are some very powerful incentives there to dabble in this field. Maybe a good way to help make selling illegal firearms less attractive would be for the Chinese government to subsidise farmers more. Of course this would need to come at some cost to the budget in China but wouldn't it be money well spent? That said, if there were 100,000,000 farmers at this wage level (not unbelievable in a country of 1,300,000,000), then the budget cost would be 200,000,000,000 RMB (200 billion RMB) or USD$25,000,000,000 (USD$25 billion). That's a lot of pennies in anyone's book.