Modern Chinese Defence Strategy: Present Developments, by Rosita Dellios

By Rosita Dellios

If China continues to be an enigma to many then chinese language defence coverage is the simplest hidden of its secrets and techniques. This booklet is an research of chinese language defence coverage and the modern value of the 'people's struggle' procedure, exemplified from the revolution of 1949 to Vietnam. opposite to the commonly held view that defence modernisation needs to spell an finish to 'people's war', this learn argues that the tactic will proceed, discovering new effectiveness via a combinaton of middle-range know-how and unconventional battle together with new makes use of for nuclear guns: 'guerrilla nuclear warfare'. China isn't grooming its army strength as a bad copy of a Western or Soviet army strength. The altering face of chinese language defence is just cosmetically Western; its strategic positive aspects stay particularly chinese language. the writer keeps to correspond for the recent Hong Kong journal "Asiaweek".

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The short answer is that China does not expect a mass attack scenario under the current conditions of improved superpower relations and improving Sino-Soviet relations. On this point there is no disagreement with Joffe and fellow analysts. Differences in interpretation set in when one considers that China is still in a position of relative weakness, it still needs a strategy to address that weakness and that this is precisely what the model of contemporary people's war advanced in this chapter does.

Under such circumstances it may be argued that it is not necessary for China to equip itself with significant numbers of expensive modern battlefield weapons. These could be updated slowly - at China's own industrial modernisation pace - so long as its willingness to fight a people's and a nuclear self-defensive war continues to be communicated. Both nuclear weapons and massive human mobilisations serve as useful symbols of power. They provide a deterrent which cannot be easily ignored; but a deterrent which is being constantly reassessed, nonetheless, in the light of changing standards in military technology.

But Soviet assistance did reveal the Chinese inability, and ultimately - in view of the Sino-Soviet split - unwillingness, to accept the implications of foreign dependence to meet domestic needs. For people's war, premised as it was on the goal of 'national liberation', the most important of modern conditions was the change in China's political authority: the Communist victory in 1949 meant that Mao's revolutionary forces became the defence establishment of the new nation. From challenging the prevailing authorities or competitors for authority, they became the defenders of the new incum- People's War: A Conceptual Odyssey 37 bents in power, the protectors of PRC sovereignty, and the instruments of 'policy by other means' when circumstances were deemed appropriate.

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