Forces: June 16, 2003


For the second time since 1997, China is reducing the size of it's armed forces, cutting 500,000 troops over the next five years, leaving a total strength of 1.85 million troops. As in past reductions, many of the positions lost with be support type jobs that, in other nations, are handled by civilians. Also, much of the Chinese military hospital system will be turned into civilian hospitals, many headquarters will be closed and military schools merged. Many of the professional soldiers affected will be transferred to the national police force (currently with a million members). This force reduction will save money that will be invested in buying more modern equipment and paying for more training. This trend increases the combat capabilities of the Chinese armed forces which, in reality, are quite low. 


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