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China Table of Contents


Defense Industry

Beginning in 1978, Chinese leaders set out to transform the defense industries, which had a huge excess capacity and were criticized for having a "golden rice bowl" (rich but always begging for more). To utilize this excess capacity better and to break down the barriers between military and civilian industry, the machinebuilding ministries were reorganized, and civilians were appointed to manage them. The civilianized, renamed ministries and their responsibilities consisted of the Ministry of Nuclear Industry-- nuclear weapons; Ministry of Aeronautics--aircraft; Ministry of Electronics Industry--electronics; Ministry of Ordnance Industry-- munitions and armaments; Ministry of Astronautics--ballistic missiles and space systems; and China State Shipbuilding Corporation--naval construction. In 1986 the Ministry of Machine Building, which produced civilian heavy machinery and industrial equipment, and the Ministry of Ordnance Industry were consolidated into the new State Machine-Building Industry Commission as a way to strengthen the unified management of the national machine-building and weapons enterprises. In 1987 little information was available about this new commission or its relationship to the NDSTIC or to the State Economic Commission, whose Defense Bureau coordinated the civilian production of the defense industry. Further changes in defense industry structure occurred in 1986 and 1987, when inland defense enterprises were either relocated closer to transportation links or cities, closed down, or transferred to local civilian control and production.

Data as of July 1987