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China's Peaceful Development and Its National Defense
2009/10/27

 

 

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. These sixty years have witnessed great headway in respect of our national defense modernization drive, in safeguarding our sovereignty and security, guaranteeing people's working rights, and carrying forward comprehensive exchange and cooperation.

 

1 Great Achievements in National Defense Over the 60 Years Since the Founding of New China

 

In the past 60 years since the People's Republic of China was founded, thanks to its painstaking efforts, China has gradually established an integrated, independent, strong, modern national defense system, basically from scratch,

First, a modern armed forces system with integrated arms of services. On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People's Republic of China and the PLA, consisting of the army, navy and air force, began to take shape. As the basis of the PLA, the army is a service mainly conducting land operations. It consists of such branches as infantry, armor, artillery, air defense, aviation, engineering, signals, chemical-weapon defense and electronic countermeasures (ECM), as well as various specialized service units. The Army has no independent leading body, and its leadership is exercised by the four general headquarters/departments. The seven military area commands exercise direct leadership over the army units under them. The army includes units of mobile operations, garrisons, border and coastal defenses, and reserve troops. The organizational order of these units is combined corps, division (brigade), regiment, battalion, company, platoon and squad. Directly under a military area command, a combined corps consists of divisions or brigades, and acts as a basic formation at the operational level. Directly under a combined corps, a division consists of regiments and acts as a basic formation at the tactical level. Directly under a combined corps, a brigade consists of battalions, and acts as a complete formation at the tactical level. Normally under a division, a regiment consists of battalions, and acts as a basic tactical unit. Normally under a regiment or brigade, a battalion consists of companies, and acts as a tactical element at a higher level. A company consists of platoons, and acts as a basic tactical element. The Army mobile operational units include 18 combined corps and some independent combined operational divisions (brigades). The Army has made great progress in building these arms. The armored component has been working to enhance the integration of information systems with weapon platforms, deploy new major battle tanks, and develop heavy, amphibious and light mechanized forces. The proportion of armored mechanized divisions/brigades in combined operational divisions/brigades has further increased. The artillery component has been working to develop a three-tier operational command system and deploy a series of advanced weapons and equipment, as well as new types of ammunition, such as operational and tactical missiles and large-caliber self-propelled gun-howitzers. It has established a preliminary system for multi-range precision strikes. The air defense component has been working to deploy a series of advanced ground-to-air missiles, and new types of radar and intelligence command systems, and to establish and improve an air defense operations system combining reconnaissance, early warning, command and control, plus information countermeasures and interception. The engineering component has been working to accelerate the establishment of a system of both specialized and multifunctional engineering support forces which can be used both in peacetime and war. It has developed relatively strong capabilities in the fields of accompanying support, rapid barrier breaching, comprehensive protection, counter-terrorism explosive ordnance disposal, emergency rescue and disaster relief. The chemical defense component has been working to develop new types of protection forces. It has established a preliminary integrated system of nuclear, biological and chemical early warning, as well as reconnaissance and monitoring, defense command and protection forces.

The Navy is a strategic service of the PLA, and the main force for maritime operations. It is responsible for such tasks as safeguarding China's maritime security and maintaining the sovereignty of its territorial waters, along with its maritime rights and interests. The Navy is mainly composed of submarines, surface ships, aviation, the Marine Corps and coastal defense wings. The Navy was founded on April 23, 1949. From 1949 to 1955 it set up a surface ship force, coastal defense force, aviation arm, submarine force and Marine Corps, and established the objective of building a light maritime combat force. From 1955 to 1960 it successively established the Donghai, Nanhai and Beihai Fleets. From the 1950s to the end of the 1970s the main task of the Navy was to conduct inshore defensive operations. Since the1980s, the Navy has realized a strategic transformation to offshore defensive operations. Since the beginning of the new century, in view of the characteristics and laws of local maritime wars in conditions of informationization, the Navy has been striving to improve in an all-round way its capabilities of integrated offshore operations, strategic deterrence and strategic counterattacks, and to gradually develop its capabilities of conducting cooperation in distant waters and countering non-traditional security threats, so as to push forward the overall transformation of the service. Through nearly six decades of development, a modern force for maritime operations has taken shape, consisting of combined arms with both nuclear and conventional means of operation.

China's Air Force, known as the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), is in a crucial transition stage as it changes from an obsolescent giant to a modern force prepared to fight local, limited wars under high-tech conditions. The PLAAF is slowly moving from a defensive force dominated by 1950s vintage combat aircraft with limited flight capability and a narrow range of all-weather interception capabilities to an offensive-oriented force with extended range and greater strike-power. While new aircraft like the J-10, J-11 (Su-27), and Su-30 are being gradually phased in, older aircraft such as the J-7 and J-8 are being modified with better avionics and air-to-air missiles to bridge the gap. The new combat airforce of the 21st century will be dominated by early warning aircraft, refueled by tankers, and supported by electronic countermeasure and intelligence collection aircraft. The PLAAF is forging ahead with advanced tactics and logistics techniques for its newer aircraft, while sustaining the operational capabilities of its older inventory. In addition to its combat aircraft, the PLAAF is improving its surface-to-air missile capability and mobility for its elite airborne corps. In ten years, the PLAAF will be a much smaller force, but will have greater range and strike-power than the PLAAF of the 1990s.

 The Air Force is a strategic arm of the PLA, and the main force for carrying out air operations. It is responsible for such tasks as safeguarding the country's territorial air space and territorial sovereignty, and maintaining a stable air defense position nationwide. It is mainly composed of aviation, ground air defense, airborne, signals, radar, ECM, technical reconnaissance and chemical defense sections. The Air Force was founded on November 11, 1949. The years from 1949 to 1953 witnessed the establishment of an Air Force leading organs in the CMC and in each of the military area commands; the creation of the fighter, bomber, attack, reconnaissance and transport, airborne forces and a number of educational institutions; and the organization of the Air Force of the Chinese People's Volunteers to take part in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-1953). The Air Force was merged with the Air Defense Force in 1957, by adopting a system combining air operations with air defense. In the 1960s and 1970s the Air Force formed the guiding principle of giving priority to the development of air defense forces, and gradually grew into an airborne force for territorial air defense. Since the 1990s the Air Force has undergone a phase of rapid development. It has deployed third-generation combat aircraft, third-generation ground-to-air missiles, and a series of relatively advanced and computerized weapons and equipment. It has stepped up the development of military theories with strategic principles at the core, and introduced the fundamental concept that China's Air Force should be capable of both offensive and defensive operations. As a result, the Air Force has begun its transition from territorial air defense to both offensive and defensive operations. After nearly six decades of continuous development, the Air Force has basically evolved into a strategic service comprising more than one branch. It now has relatively strong capabilities to conduct air defensive and offensive operations, and the specific capability of being able to execute long-range precision strikes and strategic projection operations

The founding of the Second Artillery Force was an historic choice the People's Republic of China was forced to make in order to deal with nuclear threats, break nuclear monopoly and maintain national security. China began to develop strategic missile weapons in 1956, and established research, training and educational institutions for strategic missiles in 1957. It created its first ground-to-ground missile unit in 1959 and formally founded the Second Artillery Force on July 1, 1966. In the latter half of the 1970s, the Second Artillery Force set itself the objective of building a stream-lined and effective strategic missile force with Chinese characteristics. In the 1990s it established its conventional missile force, entering a new stage marked by the coordinated development of its nuclear and conventional missile capability. With the advent of the 21st century it began to promote the leapfrogging development of informationization. As a result of more than 40 years of development, the Second Artillery Force has grown into a highly efficient and effective strategic force with both nuclear and conventional missiles, capable of both land-based strategic nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

As part of the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) was organized according to a decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China adopted in June 1982. Its headquarters were established in Beijing in April 1983. The primary missions of the Armed Police Force are to safeguard state sovereignty and dignity, to maintain social order and security, and to safeguard the Party and leading governmental organs, as well as protecting key targets in respect of the country's national security and the safety of people's lives and property. The PAPF implements the Military Service Law of the PRC and the PLA's orders, rules and regulations, and enjoys the same benefits as those of the PLA. The PAPF is subordinate to the State Council. It is under the dual leadership of the State Council and the CMC, and exercises a combined system of unified administration and command at various different levels. The PAPF consists mainly of the internal security force and forces guarding gold mines, forests, water and electricity supply, and communications. The border security, firefighting and security guard forces are also components of the PAPF.

 

 

Second, Independent Modern National Defense Industrial System

Science and technology represent an important aspect of the drive towards national defense modernization. In the past 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, through our ability and wisdom and self-dependence, we have established integrated scientific research combined with an experimentation and production system including nuclear technology, navigation, spaceflight, electronics, shipbuilding and weapons with the least input in the world and have achieved a great number of domestically or internationally advanced S&T results, thus making a great contribution to the modernization drive of China's army and seriously increasing its comprehensive national strength.

In 2003, China successfully carried out its first manned spaceflight and realized its thousand-year dream of flying up to the stars, making itself in the process the third in the world who could independently conduct manned space missions. On October 24, 2007, China's moon probe project achieved complete success. On September 27, the astronaut of "Shenzhou 7" spaceship carried out a space walk, thus initiating a whole new era in the exploration of the universe.

China's spaceflight industry has developed a complete product structure, covering the fields of missiles, carrier rockets, spaceships, satellites and a satellite application system. China's "long-march"series carrier rockets have been launched more than 80 times, with a success rate approaching 92 percent. China has achieved the capability of being able to develop multiple satellites and has reached the world advanced level in the fields of satellite reclaiming, orbit control, gesture control, and synchronization position fixing. China is only the third country in the world to have mastered satellite reclaiming technology and the fifth to independently develop and launch an earth stationary-orbit telecommunication satellite. From April 24, 1970, when the first sputnik "Dongfanghong 1" flew into the space, to May 27, 2008, when the "Fengyun 3" satellite was launched, China has launched over 70 domestically-produced satellites and six spaceships from Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan.

Over several decades of development, China's aviation industry has established an improved system for scientific research, experimentation and production. China has made great progress in the development of civil aircraft and new lateral aeroplanes. In 2006, China successfully and independently developed the "Jian-10" plane, the third generation advanced fighter with independent intellectual control, multiple usage and high performance. China has the capability to match any advanced foreign fighter currently in service, thus realizing the stride from the second generation to third and enhancing the wartime air capability of China's air force.

As a result of several decades of development, China's shipbuilding industry now has an S&T team with significant strength, rich experience, high S&T level, and a great many employees. They can develop and build modern navy equipment such as aircraft carriers, nukes, missile chasers and ocean survey ships for spaceflight, and high-performance and high added-value ships for civil purposes, as well as equipment for sea projects. China has seen a steady increase in shipbuilding, and has been ranked 3rd in the world for 13 consecutive years.

In the military electronics field, China has the capability to independently develop electronic systems and platform electronic systems and is able to develop basic electronic technologies. It has formed a production pattern covering radar, space measure and control systems, military telecommunication equipment, command automation systems, electronic confrontation systems, intelligence reconnaissance systems, enemy identifying systems, military-purpose computers, and electronic parts and components. Its trillion second per second computers have reached the internationally advanced level. China's space measurement and control network has come out top in respect of key control and measurement technogy.

As a result of several decades of development, China's weapons industry has achieved the transformation from traditional to high-tech, from random to precise control, from single-weapon battle equipment to a confrontation weapon system. China has formed a complete system for scientific research and production of general armaments.

 

Third, reserve force system and rapid mobilization system

China abides by the will of its people's war thought and has built up a national defense system by relying on their patriotism. With 1.3 billion people, there is a constant source of soliders. Over the past 60 years since the founding of the New China, the country has established an effective combination of full-time militia and reserve forces.

The militia is the basis for the prosecution of a people's war under modern conditions. The General Staff Headquarters administers this militia and, under the command of military organs, the militia in wartime helps the standing army in its military operations, as well as conducting independent operations and providing combat support and manpower replenishment for the standing army. In peacetime, it undertakes the tasks of performing combat readiness support, taking part in emergency rescue and disaster relief missions, and maintaining social order. The work of the militia is conducted under the leadership of the State Council and the CMC.

The reserve force was founded in 1983. With active servicemen as its backbone and reserve officers and men as its foundation, this force is an armed unit formed in line with the unified structure and organization of the PLA. In recent years, the reserve force has made significant new strides in organization and military training. It has gradually enlarged the pool of reservists, improved its organizational methods, and actively explored new structural models, such as industrial, trans-regional and community-based organizations. It conducts and manages training according to the training program and the law, so as to regularize training. As stipulated in the Outline for Military Training and Evaluation of the Reserve Force, one third of the authorized strength of a unit must undergo 30 days of training annually. Training tasks are based on possible wartime assignments and the caliber of the reservists. The reserve force is in the process of shifting its focus from quantity and scale to quality and efficiency, and from a combat role to a support role. The goal is to enable the reserve and active forces to cooperate closely, thus complementing each other, and to develop in a coordinated way

In order to ensure that, in the event of war, China will be able to efficiently shift onto a war footing and mobilize sufficient human, financial and material resources, the PRC established the War Mobilization Committee in 1995, setting up four offices for economic and personnel mobilization. It is responsible for directing, coordinating the reserve forces, and mobilization. Headquarters and various divisions and corps have all set up mobilization offices and officers. At the same time, China has resumed military training for students in university and senior high schools, integrating national defense training into the overall education system.

 

2. Modernized National Defense Provides a Basic Guarantee for China's Peaceful Development

 

Since China has always adhered to the path of peaceful development, why does it feel the need to build a strong, modernized national defense force? This is because a state cannot be founded without national defense, its people cannot achieve safety without national defense, and to be a state requires a comcommitant level of national defense. National defense provides the guarantee for maintaining the country's security, its people's safety and its social development. To establish national defense and safeguard people's peace and labor is the basic right and sacred responsibility that international law grants each country with sovereignty. With the advent of the 21st century, though the horrible disaster of the Second World War has gradually faded from people's memory and world peace undertakings have undergone constant advancement, nevertheless the power politics and war instinct exist still, and strategic expansion, ethnic conflicts, religious problems and the struggle for territory and resources are responsible for periodic outbreaks of international conflict. The international community has no enforcement mechanism to check the breakout of war. Strengthening national defense against potential aggression is the foundation for the continual existence and development of many countries. For China, it is of especially important significance.

 

First, Profound Enlightenment From China's History

China is one of the oldest countries in the world, having experienced 5,000 years of uninterrupted civilisation. Over a great deal of this period, China's ancestors lived a normal life and created the resplendence of the agricultural era in their own land. In modern history, however, China was invaded by foreign powers many times. During this period it had no national defense, thus allowing the country to be humiliated and its sovereignty to be forfeited. Since the 19th century, the rising foreign powers responsible for the Industrial Revolution, eager to establish a world market, seek investment opportunities, and snatch strategic resources, breached the defenses of old China with their guns and cannons and launched wars against China again and again, causing great tragedy to the Chinese nation. Of these, the Opium War was on the largest-scale, and the most morally reprehensible. The invasion of the Japanese subsequently became the most violent, the most atrocious and the bloodiest act of aggression against the Chinese nation. This war caused the deaths of 30 million Chinese civilians and servicemen, and 300,000 Chinese were slaughtered in the Nanjing massacre, causing a direct economic loss of at least US$ 100 billion and an indirect loss of over US$ 500 billion. This is not only the blackest page in China's history, but also ranks in infamy with anything that happened in the world. From 1842 to 1948, foreign powers forced successive Chinese governments to sign 1,175 unequal treaties. Under the terms of these, China paid a war indemnity of 1.953 billion silver dollars, equivalent to 16 times the financial revenue of the Qing Court in 1901 and 82 times the total sum of the combined assets of all nationwide mines. On China's rivers, the invaders' gun-boats went on the rampage, with no regard for anyone. At the entrance of domestic parks would be hung a plaque reading "no entry for Chinese and dogs". Only upon the founding of the PRC did China cast off its history of being invaded. Today the Chinese people are reaching out to the world and conducting friendly cooperation with the peoples of other countries, thus marching forward in friendship and facing the future hand in hand. However, history should not be allowed pass out of our minds, and tragedy, once experienced, cannot be denied. A nation who forgets the past cannot grasp the present and has no hope of building a worthwhile future. Recalling a painful experience, the Chinese people have a clear cognizance of the extreme importance of the national defense program and are firm in their determination to build up a strong modernized national defense to safeguard the country's sovereignty and security.

 

Second, Impersonal Requirement of the Realistic Environment

China has always pursued peace and put development first, but peaceful development is not a straightforward path; neither is it a safe one. It is impossible that peace relies on the favor of God. Now the world is undergoing tremendous changes and adjustments. China's peaceful development faces both unprecedented opportunities and challenges. There are increasingly unstable and uncertain factors affecting peace and development. Issues of basic security, development security, and traditional security threats, plus non-traditional security threats, to say nothing of domestic security and international security are now interwoven and interactive. Long-term, complicated, and diverse security threats continue to exert an important impact on China's security environment and have increased the pressure in respect of safeguarding national security. China is in the east of the Euro-Asia continental hemisphere. It is at the junction of the international maritime strategic zone and the Euro-Asia continental strategic zone, a place that various interested parties have always struggled for and an arena where the modern-world hotspot crises have broken out most often. Many countries with nuclear weapons are distributed around China, and they have weapons enough to destroy the human race many times over. A great number of issues historically left by both new and old colonialism and hegemonism has shaped China's neighboring economic, political and military situations, and have all greatly affected China's security environment. With the evolution of an international strategic pattern, the diversion of international competition focus and strategic aims, and the acceleration and expansion of economic globalization, China's new security issues covering politics, economics, culture and information keep emerging and mean the demand for national defense security ever increases. In recent years, such issues as terrorism, drug trafficing, the proliferation of large-scale weapons of mass destruction, information network attack, ethnic and religious conflicts, evil religion rampancy, cross-state crime, economic refugees and illegal immigration, economic and financial crises, energy security, ecology and the environment have become global security issues. There is no exception in China. Various ethnic separatist, religious extremist and terrorist activities have become increasingly prevalent in China and have colluded, doing great harm to social stability, ethnic solidarity, and the security of China's people and its border areas. The Dalai clique in exile overseas unbendingly maintain the "Independence for Tibet" position, and have wantonly carried out evil activities aimed at separating Tibet from China and have attempted to effect a return to the old order featuring a combination of political and religious leadership under which the overlords exercised total power over the serfs. East Turkistan terrorist organizations such as the "East Turkistan Islam Movement" have constantly plotted and organized explosions, assassinations, arson, poison attacks and other violent events in order to achieve their aim of a so-called "East Turkistan State", seriously endangering the security of the members of various ethnic groups as well as their property and social stability. Schism activities organized by the extreme Taiwan independence forces have been suppressed in the Island, but they still exist. China is at a stage full of strategic opportunity to construct a well-off society in an all-round way, but at the same time faces many security threats and challenges. National defense strength plays an irreplacable role in safeguarding national security and guaranteeing national interests. China's national defense provides a guarantee for its peaceful development. Building a strong national defense is consistent with China's pursuing the path of peaceful development.

 

Third, New Challenges to World Military Development and New Military Reform

Since the 1970s, global military reform featuring informanization has been on the rise. Various countries have formulated development strategies and increased input into their national defense, thus enhancing the status of national defense modernization drive from the point of view of increasing national strategic capability. With the advent of the 21st century, overall global military reform has undergone a period of accelerated development. The further development of international military reform has profoundly changed not only the face of modern warfare, but also the methods of modern war. Furthermore, it has radically changed the material elements for the comparison of the strategic powers of various countries, highlighting the imbalance of world military powers. The maturity of informationised battle system and informationised battle capability has become the criteria by which to measure a country's strategic capability and decide the safety factor and status of a country in the future international strategic pattern. The understanding of this military reform, input into it and effect it has, will inevitably have a crucial influence on the rise or decline, safety or vulnalrability of a country. It is an important innovation test for any nation and a challenge for its fortune and future. From the point of view of modern world military development trends, if not taking effective measures to strengthen the national defense modernization drive, a country will experience a new round of "era-gap." In the past, western powers with their sophisticated guns and cannons had the military technological advantage when compared with China's swords and spears, while now developed countries can possibly be said to have an informanization advantage when set against China's mechanization and self-mechanization. This poses a serious threat to China's security. The modernization drive of China's national defense and army is of important significance for the long-term development and fortune of the Chinese nation. Facing the great pressure of the modern era, China has no choice but to strengthen its national defense modernization and push forward the transition of its national defense and military system in order to not fall behind and avoid being sidelined and stand tall in the forest of world nations.

 

3. China's National Defense, Which is Completely Defensive in Nature, Does not Pose a Threat to Any Country

 

Different from the national defense program of some countries in history, China's national defense does not feature the cold war or "zero-sum" mindset, nor does it base itself on outmoded concepts such as confrontational security, bloc security, unilateral security and absolute security, but instead is based on the new security concept which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation.

China's new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation adheres to and develops the basic spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which aim to maintain peace and share security. By mutual trust, we mean that countries should rise above their differing ideologies and social systems, abandon the Cold-War mentality and power politics, and refrain from misgivings and hostility towards each other. Instead, they should favor frequent dialogues and briefings on their security and defense policies or the major actions they are about to take. By mutual benefit, we mean that a country, in keeping with the objective requirements of the development of globalization, should respect the security interests of others while pursuing the interests of its own, at the same time helping to create conditions for the better security of others while making itself more secure, thus achieving universal security. By equality, we mean that every country, big or small, strong or weak, is a member of the international community. All countries should respect each other, treat each other as equals and refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs, so that international relations will become more democratized. By cooperation, we mean that countries should resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations, carry out extensive and deep-seated cooperation on their shared security concerns, and help eliminate hidden dangers and prevent wars and conflicts from starting in the first place.

The national defense of China, on the basis of the new security outlook, undertakes the following fundamental tasks. The first is to maintain national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity and guarantee the realization of the basic targets of national development. The second is to pursue a policy of coordinated development of national defense and economy. It recognizes the modernization of China's national defense and armed forces as an integral part of the national modernization drive, so as to ensure that the national defense building and the economic construction promote each other and make the country rich and the army strong at the same time as constructing a prosperous socialist country in an all-round way. The third is to keep building a streamlined military force with Chinese characteristics, combining a streamlined standing force with a powerful reserve force and strengthening the comprehensive integrated construction of various services and arms to optimize the overall military structure. China, depending on the progress of science and technology, is speeding up the transformation of the mode of creating battle effectiveness. It continues to improve its capabilities of countering various security threats and accomplishing diversified military tasks. The fourth is to stick to implementing the military strategy of active defense. China has upgraded its capability in respect of defensive operations and aims to win local wars under conditions of informationization. It will upgrade and develop the strategic concept of a people's war and has taken the initiative to prevent and defuse crises and prevent conflicts and wars. The fifth is to adhere to the implementation of the state's nuclear policy and military strategy with a view to deterring antagonistic forces from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China. China remains firmly committed to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. It unconditionally undertakes not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and stands for the comprehensive prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. China upholds the principles of counterattack in self-defense and limited development of nuclear weapons, and aims at building a small but effective nuclear program capable of meeting national security needs. It endeavors to ensure the security and reliability of its nuclear weapons and maintains a credible nuclear deterrent. The sixth is to maintain military contacts with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and develop cooperative military relations that are non-aligned, non-confrontational and not directed against any third party. China regularly takes part in international security cooperation, strengthens strategic coordination and consultation with major powers and neighboring countries, and conducts bilateral or multilateral joint military exercises. It promotes the establishment of just and effective collective security policies and military confidence-building mechanisms, and works with other countries to prevent conflicts and wars. China observes the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, honors its international obligations, and participates in UN peacekeeping operations, international counter-terrorism initiatives and international disaster relief operations. It plays an active part in maintaining global and regional peace and stability.

The national defense of China features the salient characteristics of independence, self-defence and defensiveness. In respect of the character of independence, China believes in building and consolidating national defense independently and ensuring national security with its own forces. It makes all strategic judgments, national defense policies and development strategies in respect of national defense independently, not relying on others, not subject to outside manipulation, and not forming alliances with any country or group, nor combining with any foreign military organization. As for the characteristic of self-defence, the aim of the national defense modernization drive of China is completely based on self defense. China doesn't seek hegemony now, nor will it do so in the future, to whatever extent it may develop and become powerful in the future. With regard to the characteristic of defensiveness, China will never invade another country or launch an attack initiatively. It is committed to maintaining the long-term strategic stability of the State and creating a correct environment for the sustained development of the country, providing a credible security guarantee for the realization of modernization and national rejuvenation.

The independence, self-defence and defensive characteristics of the modern national defense policies of China were not formed subjectively but decided by China's strategic cultural tradition, the political base of the modern society of China and the connotative development road unique to the PRC. 

First, the Chinese nation, with a civilization history of 5,000 years, is one of the great peace-loving nations in the world. Historically, the Chinese civilization centered on agriculture, making it different from the capitalist commercial culture which encouraged overseas expansion. The fertile soil of the agricultural civilization cultivated the strategic cultural tradition of "living and working in peace and contentment" and "regarding harmony as most precious". The core of the strategic culture of China is to promote national harmony and state unification. The history of the ancient wars of China is mainly one of wars launched for realizing national unification and resisting foreign invasions. The attitude of all the previous military commanders towards the the concept of war has been "be cautious in war" instead of "be aggresive". In Chinese, the character "Wu" originally refered to "avoiding war", whose primary structure reflects the outlook of the Chinese ancestors, namely that the armed forces should only be used for national defense and seeking peace. The world-famous Great Wall, extending for over 8,000 km, is the most magnificent strategic defensive project of the ancient world. Obviously, it was not used for attack. It is the embodiment and epitome of the strategic defensive thought of the Chinese nation and a symbol of China's national defense policy which is consistently defensive in nature. Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), leading a fleet, made seven voyages to the "Western Ocean" from 1405 to 1433. Each voyage was made with 60-odd ships each weighing over 1,000 tons and carrying at least 20,000 personnel. During these 28 years, he visited the Indo-China Peninsula, Malaya, the South Sea Islands, India, Persia, Arabia and the furthest Eastern shores of Africa, as well as the Red Sea and Mecca, weighing anchor at 30-plus countries. His voyages were over half century earlier than those of Columbus and Vasco da Gama; the scale of Zheng's fleet was also several times that of either of those celebrated navigators. However, Zheng He brought the porcelain and silk of China to these countries instead of establishing overseas colonies, despite having the strongest maritime capability of that period. This provides a sharp contrast with the process of western colonialism. It was modern China that first advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, which conformed to the basic connotation of the Confucian thought of "loving one's fellowmen" and the strategic cultural tradition of "regarding harmony as most precious".

Second, the founding of the People's Republic of China not only ended a period of history when China allowed itself to be trampled upon but also cleared away the political soil for outward expansion. When the Chinese people cherish the peace and independence they have gained through long-term efforts, they, in the nature of things, more profoundly understand other countries' wishes and their just right to maintain their independence and peace. The national regime of the New China originated from the people and belongs to the people, which should and could only serve the interests of the people. It is the fundamental task and the exclusive tenet of the people's regime of New China to develop to the furthest extent productivity, solidify the national comprehensive strength, improve the people's living standards, and bring the maximum of happiness and contentment to the ordinary citizens. Since the1970s, China has implemented the reform and opening up policy. The successful implementation of this strategy is gradually changing some one hundred years' of weakness and poverty and will finally succeed in enabling the Chinese nation to reach full maturity and reclaim its place in the front rank of world civilization. It requires the unremitting efforts of several generations, a long-term peaceful and stable internal and external environment, and the dedicated concentration of financial power, manpower, material resources and various kinds of natural and human resources for the economic construction to fulfill this aim. The strategy of the national development of China has stipulated that China will not deviate from the overall situation of development in order to infinitely expand its military capability and sideline economic policies to waste its precious national resources on outward expansion and acts of foreign aggression.

Third, different from some powers which depend on outward military expansion to snatch external resources for their domestic development, China follows the path of connotative development. The development of China depends on its own resources and creative work. China boasts a wide territory, rich resources and strong development potential. Though the per-capita amount of resources in China is not large, with the significant resource gross and the people's ingenious ability and wisdom, to say nothing of their laborious spirit, China is capable of completely solving its own development issues independently. There is no need for China to take the old road of the primitive accumulation we associate with colonialism and imperialism which are outmoded attitudes; China is not prepared to occupy the territory of other countries or steal their resources to benefit itself. China also needs to develop sound economic relations with the outside world, but these relations must be equal and mutually-beneficial without any compelling factors and additional conditions.

 

4. Facing the World, the Increasingly Open, Practical and Confident National Defense of China

 

(1) Deepening the Reform of the National Defense and Army to Keep it Abreast with the Military Revolution of the World

The process of national defense and army building is one of constant changes and development. Since the entry into the 21st century, to meet the severe challenges of the new military revolutions in the world, China, grasping its chances and proceeding from its national and military conditions, has sped up its program of boosting military innovations with Chinese characteristics to meet the requirements of both epochal development and national security. The modernization drive of the national defense and army of China has entered into a new period of development. China plans to realize the strategic target of the modernization of the national defense and army in the first 50 years of the 21st century through the implementation of the "three-step" development strategy. As for the key first step, we should, under the overall arrangement of the national modernization drive, make full use of the current precious time of peace and development and earnestly use the helpful experiences of the developed countries in the modernization drive of their armies for reference, thus to vigorously promote innovations in respect of the theories, technologies, organization and management of the national defense with the policy of reform as the driving force, the scientific and technological innovations as the lever, and total informationization as the target. The innovations in respect of national defense theory are principally aimed at establishing a modern national defense theory in accordance with the contemporary trend of globalization, multi-polarization and informationization; the scientific and technological innovations are chiefly based around the "863 Program", the "Super 863 Program" and various other programs concerning the most advanced military technologies, in conjunction with further implementing the strategy of strengthening the army by relying on science and technology, making significant breakthroughs in the fields of basic, forward and strategic technologies, and promoting the independent, great-leap-forward and sustained development of high-tech weaponery. The restructuring of the organic system is primarily intended to construct a new informationized national defense army for the 21st century. Led by the target of informationization, efforts are being made to deepen the reform of the army structure, which is changing from manpower-intensive to technology-intensive and from large in number and scale to one high in quality and efficiency at a faster speed, and to implement the project of talent strategy in the informationized era, thus cultivating a significant number of high-quality military specialists who are loyal to the motherland, healthy, quick-witted, accomplished in military affairs, familiar with modern scientific and technological advances and are able to deal with the real situation of modern wars, thus making the PLA, which has won numerous battle honors, able to continue to live up to its great reputation and fulfill its mission in the era of informationization. The innovation on management is chiefly to renovate the basic concepts, enhance the concept of strategic, army and resource management, improve the managerial mechanism and mode and constantly strengthen the ability of scientific management and elevate the modern management level so as to adapt to the new situation of the modernization drive of the national defense and army.

As the main body of the national defense of China, the PLA will continue to implement the strategic guideline of active defense. Meeting the requirements of confrontation between opposing systems in modern warfare and taking integrated joint operations as the basic approach, it is designed to bring the operational strengths of different services and arms into full play and provide a guarantee of winning local wars under the prevailing conditions of informationization. This guideline focuses on enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces in countering various security threats and accomplishing diversified military tasks. The Army has been moving from regional defense to trans-regional mobility and has increased its capabilities in respect of air-ground integrated operations, long-distance maneuvers, rapid assaults and special operations. The navy has accelerated the installation of key weapons, developing new-generation armaments such as large-scale surface combat ships, new-type submarines with enhanced underwater self-control capability and stealth performance, supersonic cruise fighter planes, long-range missiles with strong accurate defense penetration ability, low-depth, high-speed intelligent fish torpedos and electronic warfare equipment with high-level versatility and compatibility. Work has been done to increase the modern technology content of the equipment, improve the quality and capability of the new-generation weapons, extend the strategic depth for offshore defensive operations and enhance its capabilities in integrated maritime operations. The Air Force strengthens the attack force and the corresponding ancillary building to meet the requirements of the expansion of the national interests, realizing its transition from territorial air defense to both offensive and defensive operations and increasing its capabilities for carrying out reconnaissance and early warning, air strikes, air and missile defense, strategic projection and front-line operations. The Second Artillery Force aims at progressively improving its structure of having both nuclear and conventional missiles, and raising its capabilities in respect of strategic deterrence and conventional strike power under the prevailing conditions of informationization.

 

(2) Actively Developing Flexible and Practical Foreign Contacts

China has established military relations with more than 150 countries, and now has 107 military attaché's offices in Chinese embassies abroad. Meanwhile, 85 countries have set up military attaché's offices in China. China and its largest neighbor, Russia, also conduct close co-operations regarding many defense issues while continuing to strengthen the multi-layer, wide-ranging and all-round friendly cooperative relationship between the two countries. The highest-ranking military personnel of China and Russia meet regularly and the ministers of national defense of the two countries have held many joint conferences. The Sino-Russian relationship for strategic cooperation, including military relations, has been further boosted, effectively promoting a better global strategic balance. China and America have a common interest and responsibility in respect of safeguarding world peace and development. Recent years have seen the relationship between the Chinese and American armies resumed, combining to play an ever more active role in the security and stability of both their respective regions and the world as a whole. Significant headway has also been made in the mutual-trust relationships in military affairs between China and various countries in Northeast and South Asia. The military co-operation between China and some countries in Europe and the Third World have been boosted, helping to promote the course of international multipolarization. In April 1996, the heads of China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed the Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas in Shanghai, symbolizing the formation of the "Shanghai Five" Mechanism. On June 14, 2001, Uzbekistan also joined the mechanism, giving rise to the formation of "Shanghai Cooperation Organization". The members of the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" have achieved a wide consensus in respect of promoting military co-operation, jointly combating the national separatism, religious fundamentalism and international terrorism, and bringing an active influence to the peace and development of the world in the 21st century. The principles concerning peace, equality, cooperation, consultation and mutual benefit as laid out by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be of exceptional importance as the 21st century proceeds.

As the envoy of peace and friendship, the Chinese navy has successively sent 33 naval ship teams with over 40 warships on good-will missions to 30-odd countries. Meanwhile, the naval ports in Shanghai, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Zhanjiang have also been opened in succession, receiving 100-plus warships from more than 30 countries. On April 23, 2009, the memorial day for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Navy, a total of 29 naval delegations, including the Commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy and the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, plus 21 various types of navy vessels from 14 countries, were invited to take part in the multi-national maritime parade held in Qingdao. The "Ba Yi Flight Performance Team" of the Air Force of the PLA, known as the "aerial honour guard", is a "window" for the Chinese army to open up to the outside world. The various art troupes of the PLA of China also visit dozens of countries and regions around the world. 

 

 

(3) Actively Participating in the UN Peace-keeping Operations

As an important member of the UN and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has constantly and actively supported and taken part in UN peace-keeping operations. China has sent 6,000 officers and soldiers to 15 task sections of the UN. Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China sent the most peace-keeping military personnel, of whom, eight officers and soldiers died in the implementation of their tasks and scores of other were wounded, but all of whom were proud to have served their country. On March 25, 2008, the third group of the peace-keeping army sent to Lebanon comprised 335 officers and men as well as eight staff officers and military observers and was subsequently awarded with the "Peace Medal of Honor" by the UN. On November 23, 2007, the first Chinese engineering unit consisting of 135 personnel was sent to Darfur, Sudan, for peace keeping, becoming the first peace-keeping force of the UN sent to Darfur. Since its participation in peace-keeping operations, the Chinese army, due to its favorable style and high-quality completion of the tasks assigned to it, has won widespread praise from the leading organs of the UN peace-keeping operations and the people in the respective task sections.

 

(4) The International Anti-Terror Cooperation and Joint Military Drills 

China absolutely supports and actively takes part in the wholly justified operations in respect of combating terrorism. In June 2004, the anti-terror organ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formally put into operation. During August 9-17, 2007, the "Peace Mission-2007" joint anti-terror military drill was held in Urumchi, Xinjiang and Chelyabinsk, Russia. The five countries making up the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" joined the drill, in which the Chinese Army and Air Force conducted long-distance force projection and transnational force arrangements for the first time. After the "September 11" Event, China and America conducted intelligence cooperation in the anti-terror field and the Sino-U.S. Consultation Mechanism for Military Maritime Safety is gradually being resumed, just as Sino-American military cooperation has been further deepened. Since 2002, the Chinese army has taken part in bilateral and multilateral joint military drills selectively, widening the scope of practical military exchanges and cooperation between China and relevant countries. In the new century, the Chinese Navy has held 37 joint military drills with foreign navies in respect of non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction, defence for the security of the aero-amphibious channels, anti-terror, joint search and rescue operations and humanitarian causes. During May 15-20, 2007, the "Xiangfan" missile frigate of the PLA Navy joined the "International Maritime Defense Exhibition Asia 2007" sponsored by Singapore and the "second multilateral maritime exercise of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium" held in the sea off Singapore. The multilateral maritime exercise included 15 warships from 12 countries including China, America, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore. In recent years, China has held a number of joint military drills with America, Russia and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, India, Pakistan, Britain, France and Australia, involving many non-traditional security fields such as anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling activities, drug enforcement and maritime search and rescue. The bilateral and multilateral joint military exercises joined by China comprise a new chapter in international security and cooperation.

 

(5) More Transparent and Open PLA of China

The PLA of China, as a modern army which pursues military strategy in a defensive context, aims to safeguard peace and implement opening up and cooperation, at the same time showing the world at large a more open stance and receiving ever wider confidence. It has issued six white papers on national defense, from 1995 when the white paper on arms control and disarmament was published, to the present day. They reflect the changes of the international security conditions, the new contents of the national defense policies of China, and the recent development of national defense and arms development, all promptly and objectively, as well as national defense policies and the strategic intentions of China. It can truly be said that the transparency of the national defense policies and strategic intentions of China is the highest in the world. The Ministry of National Defence of China has established the post of spokesman, conducting news issuance work regarding the national defense problems of China. The expenditure on China's national defense is also completely open, and is bound by a stiff examination and approval system and is subject to the strict supervision of the People's Congress. It has gradually increased to a certain extent in recent years with the development of the national economy, which, on the one hand, is to meet the increasing requirements of the national security and the challenges of world-wide modern military innovations, and on the other hand, provides a compensation for the negative growth of the investments in national defense in the last two decades of the 20th century. Though the absolute amount of the expenditure on China's national defense has increased, its proportion in the GDP and the financial expenditure of the State decreases year by year and is greatly lower than the world's average level. Since 2000, China has invited foreign military observers and military attachés to view its military exercises on five separate occasions. On September 27, 2005, observers from 24 countries were invited to watch the "Northern-2005" military exercise held at the Zhurihe Combined Arms Tactical Training Base of Beijing Military Area Command. In October 2007, the American Minister of National Defense visited the headquarters of the Second Artillery Force (SAF) of China, which was the first time that the SAF opened its doors to a foreign leader, demonstrating that the opening-up and transparency policy of the PLA had increasingly developed. Since 2001, Chinese forces have sent delegations or observers to Russia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia in order to view their military manoevers and have also sent delegations to view the "Cobra Gold Military Exercises" jointly held by America and Thailand. To further strengthen communication and mutual trust, the PLA of China has developed its bilateral defense consultations more actively and now takes part to an even greater degree in multilateral security dialogues, thus providing an effective mechanism guarantee for strengthening military mutual trust. So far, the Chinese forces, on the basis of establishing effective defense and security consultation mechanisms with America, Russia, Japan, Australia, Britain and France, have gradually developed a strong coaltion with surrounding countries such as Pakistan, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well countries further afield including South Africa and Italy, conducting "face-to-face" defense exchanges and dialogues intended to clear and widen the channels of military mutual trust.

 

 

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