China to spend USD 111 bn on internal security

Beijing: In tandem with a whopping defence spending, China today boosted its domestic security budget by 11.5 per cent to USD 111 billion apparently to contain unrest in the strategically important Tibet and Xinjiang regions.

The internal security spending, a shade higher than its defence budget, was unveiled at the ongoing National People`s Congress (NPC, ahead of a leadership succession that has sparked fear of instability.

The hike comes amid tension in ethnic Tibetan parts of China and days after an attack in Xinjiang – home to minority Muslim Uighurs – left 20 people dead. The security budgets of the local and central governments were stipulated at 701.

8 billion yuan (USD 111.4 billion), according to the Chinese draft of the Finance Ministry report. Last year China spent 629.3 billion yuan, which was an increase of 13.8 per cent increase compared to 2010.

With the domestic security budget continues to surpass the defence budget, China remained one of the rare countries to spend more on internal security than that of defence.

The defence budget which was announced yesterday touched a major milestone crossing USD 100 billion mark. The defence spending was hiked to USD 106.4 billion, (670 billion Yuan) registering 11.2 per cent increase.

China is facing most challenging security situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, perhaps the worst in its six decade-long control of the two of its biggest province which are ethnically different from the mainland Han Chinese community.

Xinjiang, home of Uighur Muslim minority continued to be restive ever since large scale violence broke out there in 2009 with Uighurs resorting to mass protests over the increasing settlements of Hans.

Periodic brutal attacks by militants believed to be of East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) continued targeting members of Han community. Tibet too is turning volatile with 24 reported self immolations mainly by Buddhist Monks calling for return of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.