China slows military budget increase to 7 percent despite proposed U.S. hike

Chinese military
(Image credit: Greg Baker/Getty Images)

Beijing announced Saturday its military spending will grow by just 7 percent in 2017, the slowest rate of growth for the Chinese defense budget in years. Last year's increase of 7.6 percent was the first single-digit hike after nearly two decades of annual double-digit growth.

The news came with a reiteration from the Chinese legislature that the military is exclusively defensive in nature. "We advocate dialogue for peaceful resolutions, while at the same time, we need to possess the ability to defend our sovereignty and interests," said Fu Ying, a representative of the National People's Congress. "The strengthening of Chinese capabilities benefits the preservation of peace and security in this region, and not the opposite."

This move comes despite political pressure in China's state-run media to further increase Chinese defense spending in response to President Trump's proposed 10 percent addition to the U.S. military budget. "There was a view that China would increase its defense budget in line with the rise of the defense budget in the United States," said Takashi Kawakami of Japan's Takushoku University. "But the fact China kept it at this level means it's in a wait-and-see mode regarding the Trump administration."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.