China to boost military spending by 8 percent

China to boost military spending by 8 percent

Based on Zhang's latest remarks as well as the People's Daily article, there is little doubt that the NPC will agree to scrap the two-term limit for the presidency in China's constitution, in spite of harsh opposition at home and overseas.

He added that China's aspiration to build world-class armed forces would cover "all aspects of military training and war preparedness", so that "national sovereignty, security and development interests" could be firmly safeguarded.

At the same time, he pledged tax cuts of 800 billion yuan for companies and individuals and set a 6.5% annual economic growth target - the same as last year's target but slower than the actual performance of 6.9%.

On the military front, Premier Li said China has reduced the armed forces by 300,000 troops.

"In particular, we must achieve substantial progress in the tough battles of addressing big risks, poverty reduction and pollution prevention", said Li, who is officially second in the Chinese leadership but is overshadowed by Xi and his allies.

"We can expect that China's defense budget to continue to be subordinated to, and coordinated with, China's economic performance", James Char, a military expert at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, told the AFP news agency.

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"The government will have to continue with the same fiscal support as previous year", but also spend more and increase off-balance sheet borrowing, she said.

Can China avoid sliding back into strongman politics as Xi Jinping reshapes charter in his own image?

The two week session of the National People's Congress is also scheduled to amend the constitution to include a reference to Xi's political theory, enshrine the Communist Party's leading role in governing the country and create a new anticorruption commission that expands party oversight of all public servants.

But the President is the only one with a formal limit of two terms introduced by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent another lifelong dictatorship after Mao Zedong's tumultuous rule.

The promise comes as China's reform and opening up policy enters its 40th year in 2018, which is of even greater importance as the Chinese economy has transitioned from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. He has also pursued a relentless but popular campaign against corruption that has punished more than a million party officials.

But a year ago numerous same commentators claimed that the new rate of "around 6.5% would see a slowing in activity, because it was down from the 6.7% growth rate seen in 2016".

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"One of the greatest tasks after he took office was to remove all threats to the party and state".

USA laws state that presidents are only allowed to serve for two terms.

"The Chinese system is a system that requires strong leaders, but it's not easy to train a strongman".

"In the face of both the opportunities and challenges of economic globalization, the right thing to do is to seize every opportunity, jointly meet challenges and chart the right course for economic globalization", Xi said in Davos a year ago.

"If Xi transfers power on time, it is likely that the power will be returned to the hands of the corrupt groups and the elite class and all his efforts in the recent years will be wasted".

It is nearly impossible to precisely gauge genuine public opinion on the extension of Xi's rule, with state media strictly controlled by the government and the internet diligently scoured by censors for any comment that harbours explicit criticism or veiled mockery, the Post report said.

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