Civil-Military Change in China: Elites, Institutes, and Ideas after the 16th Party Congress

By Andrew Scobell; Larry Wortzel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10

DEMYSTIFYING SHASHOUJIAN:
CHINA'S “ASSASSIN'S MACE" CONCEPT
Jason E. Bruzdzinski
KEY QUESTIONS
In the absence of a comprehensive base of knowledge or intellectual debate on shashoujian, this chapter seeks to develop a baseline for understanding shashoujian in the context of current People's Republic of China (PRC) military affairs and aspirations for transformation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the early 21st century. To this end, this chapter will seek initial responses to three fundamental questions:
1. What are the historical origins of shashoujian and what does the term mean in a military context?
2. How has shashoujian emerged as a topic of significance within the Chinese national defense establishment?
3. How might shashoujian satisfy Chinese national defense requirements?

BACKGROUND

For those interested in the potential of the Chinese military to challenge or threaten U.S. interests, shashoujian is an important concept that must be properly understood and appreciated. While omitted from many discussions about Chinese military modernization in recent Western books and essays on the PLA, the shashoujian concept is a component of China's strategic culture that influences grand strategy, in addition to Chinese national security policy and PRC military affairs. As will be discussed in this chapter, shashoujian is an important part of China's effort to transform the PLA into a modern, effective, and professional force and should be important consideration for those studying PLA trends and developments.

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