Is silence better than a lie? For years, China has published defence budgets which no one believes. The only thing that seems certain is that China’s defence budget is still below that of the United States as a percentage of GDP, which gives China ammunition whenever Chinese defence spending is criticised. It also seems certain that China’s internal security budget is even higher than the military budget. Now, the Chinese government has refused even to provide its customary figures, something that is difficult to interpret except as a denial of China’s need to justify itself to anyone- another sign of a rather disturbing change of attitude in Beijing.