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Home > Catalog > China's Use of Military Force
China's Use of Military Force


  • 1 map
  • Page extent: 316 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.566 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 355/.033051
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: UA835 .S3797 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • China--Military policy
    • China--History, Military--1949-

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521819794 | ISBN-10: 0521819792)

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$113.00 (C)

Andrew Scobell examines the use of Chinese military force abroad as in Korea (1950), Vietnam (1979), and the Taiwan Strait (1995-1996) and domestically, as during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and in the 1989 military crackdown in Tiananmen square. Scobell warns that a "Cult of Defense" disposes Chinese leaders to rationalize all military deployment as defensive. However, changes in the People's Liberation Army's doctrine and capabilities over the past two decades suggest that China's 21st Century leaders may use military force more readily than their predecessors.


Preface; 1. Introduction; Part I. Layers of Culture: 2. The Chinese cult of defense; 3. Bringing in the military; Part II. Use of Force in the Mao Era: 4. Lips and teeth: China's decision to intervene in Korea; 5. Support the Left: PLA intervention in the Cultural Revolution; Part III. Use of Force in the Deng Era: 6. A self-defense counterattack: China's 1979 war with Vietnam; 7. Why the People's Army fired on the people: Beijing, 1989; Part IV. Use of Force in the Post-Deng Era: 8. Show of force: the 1995–6 Taiwan Strait crisis; 9. Conclusion: explaining China's use of force.


"In this thoughtful, thoroughly researched study of traditional Chinese views about the military and Beijing's present-day use of force, Scobell concludes that the traditional 'cult of defense' blended realpolitik and Confucian pacifism--allowing the Chinese to convince themselves that thet used force only as a last resort and thus to commit to warfare with abandon when they deemed it necessary. The bulk of the book consists of case studies...for which he draws on the latest scholarship and newly opened Chinese and Russian archives). He finds that the Chinese military is far from a monolithic institution, and that its relationship with the state has changed considerably over time....In the end, the Chinese come out looking neither as pacific as many believe nor as bellicose as others fear." Foreign Affairs

"Whether and how China will pose a strategic threat is one of the top questions in U.S. national security policy. So far debate has been dominated by pat theories and facile analogies. Scobell's investigation of the actual record of Chinese use of force over the past half-century, his fascinating interpretation of Chinese strategic culture, and his novel explanation of the cult of the defensivea and its implications, all serve to firm up the basis for estimating possible future strategic initiatives by the PRC." Richard K. Betts, Director, Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

"This book is a comprehensive history and analysis of China's military its leadership, its internal and external struggles, and above all it's application of force. Andrew Scobell is well qualified for this task, and his book should be required reading for all those who aspire to anticipate China's future military actions." James Lilley, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Ambassador to China, 1989-1991

"Andrew Scobell's contribution to this debate is a clearly written presentation of a sensible and moderate view. A commendable and original aspect is Scobell's inclusion of intra-state violence. It is an excellent introduction to the subject, and is recommended for laypersons and China scholars alike." Pacific Affairs, Harlan W. Jencks, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.

"In this very solid book...the author has demonstrated just how important it is to use all available tools to decipher China's conduct." He has produced the admirable, multidimensional study he set out to write...a welcome contribution to the dispassionate analysis of a subject that is going to stay controversial for a very long time." Parameters, Dr. Mel Gurtov

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