A Chinese newspaper recently published an article pointing out that, despite all the increased Chinese defense spending not much of it was getting to the infantry. The troops have new camouflage uniforms and assault rifles, but none of the high tech protective gear, rifle accessories, protective gear and communications found on American troops. To demonstrate this the article listed the function and cost of everything a Chinese infantryman carried into combat versus his American counterpart. The cost of equipping a Chinese soldier was under $1,600 versus nearly $18,000 for the American one. The Chinese do without protective vests, high-tech rifle scopes, personal radio, night-vision goggles and GPS. In Chinese infantry companies there are only two radios, a few night vision goggles and not all troops carry compasses with them. Some are known to buy GPS devices with their own money.
These disparities are no secret to Chinese infantry, most of whom have Internet access and have read Chinese language military sites that provide details of what Western troops carry into combat and what a difference is makes. The Chinese infantry are not happy about this disparity and that was apparently why this article appeared despite the heavy censorship of mass media in China.