Former Chinese Military Personnel Protest in Beijing - NGA Rejects Claim that Chinese Island Building is Non-Military

Streets were blocked off and media access restricted in China’s capital as hundreds of former military personnel protested around the Bayi building—a central office for the military. The protestors are angry over being forced from their military positions; the government promised new jobs and has yet to deliver.
The Cipher Take: Though still the world’s largest military, in the last few years China has begun to cut down on personnel numbers. While its military budget continues to increase year on year, these funds are going towards expensive new weapons and technology programs such as missiles, stealth fighters, and aircraft carriers. Personnel costs have increased as well as China raises individual soldiers' pay to encourage a more professional and experienced army.

In a recent congressional hearing, Robert Cardillo, the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, stated that the NGA’s surveillance and intelligence gathering efforts refute the Chinese claim that its island building activities in the South China Sea are for tourism or commercial purposes. Instead, the NGA confirmed what many already accepted as true: the islands are being used to house a variety of military facilities that will extend and support the reach of the Chinese military.
The Cipher Take: While this news is not a revelation, the fact that the NGA is submitting testimony is important. The U.S. and other nations are building a case against China’s expansion in the South China Sea, and this sort of evidence and testimony could prove important to future diplomatic efforts and international arbitration cases.


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