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China Table of Contents


Defense Industry and the Economic Role of the People's Liberation Army

The transformation of China's defense establishment into a system capable of independently sustaining modern armed forces was one of the major goals of the military modernization program. In the late 1970s and 1980s, defense spending remained relatively constant despite the shift in resources in favor of overall economic development. Reforms focused on reorganizing the defense research-and-development and industrial base, more closely integrating civilian and military science and industry, and selectively utilizing foreign technology. China sold arms for hard currency to provide additional funds for defense industries. The PLA continued to play its role in economic development by participating in selective construction projects, providing dualuse training, and producing most of its food needs.

Data as of July 1987