China military exports

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.

Comments:

Arms trading must be the dirtiest and most secretive business on earth. According to the article you referred to, "Amnesty International is calling on China to report annually and publicly on all arms export licenses and deliveries" - Can you find such kind report presented by Russia? U.S.? Britain? France? Germany? (the top 5?) or Australia (I don't know they sell arms or not)? I want to see how accountability is achieved by the "mature countries" in this old international "game". I did see from various reports, that the latest arms-deal "offered" by U.S. to Taiwan, is a $11-$18 billion package, which Taiwan hasn't accepted yet. Here's to wish the human beings are not destroyed by ourselves.

Posted by Tao on June 13, 2006 at 04:31 PM PDT #

Right and that $11-$18 billion package most likely keeps a lot of military contractors in business, in the USA. For politicians, that means US workers get to keep a job and they can think they're doing a good job. Or to be more direct, America profits quite handsomly from the discontent across the Taiwan straights. But to understand that number in proper context, it is not for just one year, it will cover a number of years.

In a Washington Times article, it mentions the purchase of destroyers, submarines, etc. These take years to build and appropriate payment plans, not someone signing of a $18billion cheque.

On the comparison between the other nations and China, have you gone looking on the Internet for this information? I can find some of it in just a few minutes using google. America publishes a lot of information about what it does, but it may not be in the concise manner that you want/expect. The Library of Congress is a good source of such information, but can you access it?

I don't think Australia officially has much, if any, export of arms. Occasionally we design a plane or boat that foreigners like and buy, although this is never secret business.

As for the dual faced politics of the USA, I strongly recommend watching "Lord of War."

Posted by Darren on June 13, 2006 at 09:04 PM PDT #

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