It is widely assumed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plays a dominant role in handling internal security. Yet a comparative study shows that regular armed forces prefer to avoid becoming involved in domestic conflicts—and China’s PLA is no exception. Concentrating on Uyghur unrest, the article shows that most of the burden of maintaining internal security in China falls on para-military troops, primarily on the People’s Armed Police Force, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps and the Militia, and on non-military outfits, such as the Police and internal security units. Maintaining internal security absorbs an increasing share of China’s defense budget, so much so that in recent years Beijing conceals the figures.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations