The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Cynthia Watson | Go to book overview

CHINA

Zhiyong Lan

No other Chinese words were made so well known to the world in a single day as the words "Tiananmen Square." No other country's symbol of pride was so well known to the world in association with the word "massacre." Indeed, the Tiananmen military action not only shocked the people outside of China but also surprised many Chinese, including a good number of high-ranking government and military officers. The armed confrontation between the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the unarmed civilians over political issues raised a serious concern about the army's future role in the country's political life. This chapter, by reviewing the history of the Chinese civil-military relationship and the means and processes through which the PLA interacts with civilian life, tries to identify the major factors leading to the PLA's political role and their continuing effect on its future.


HISTORY OF THE PLA AND ITS POLITICAL ROLE

The PLA is an army of more than three million men and women, consisting of a navy, air force, artillery, field armies, local garrisons, and military regions and equipped with massive conventional as well as nuclear weapons. Over the years, the PLA has consistently played an active role in the country's political life. To understand why, its history best tells the story.

Before 1911, China suffered chronic war and poverty. In its four-thousand- year civilization, every change of dynasty (about two to three hundred years a cycle) was accompanied by massive wars, deaths, and destruction. Every period of glory and prosperity was also associated with war and conquest.1 To many Chinese, military power is the synonym of political power. Whoever has military power is bound to have political power. Unfortunately, China's modern history has reinforced this traditional wisdom.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Sun Yatsen, a Hawaiian-born,

-55-

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The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Argentina 1
  • Notes 16
  • References 17
  • Brazil 19
  • Notes 34
  • References 41
  • Canada 42
  • Notes 53
  • References 54
  • China 55
  • Notes 67
  • References 70
  • Cuba 71
  • Notes 84
  • References 86
  • Denmark 88
  • Notes 100
  • References 105
  • Egypt 107
  • Notes 118
  • References 121
  • France 122
  • References 141
  • Germany 143
  • Notes 152
  • References 153
  • Greece 154
  • Notes 167
  • References 168
  • India 169
  • Notes 186
  • References 188
  • Indonesia 189
  • Notes 205
  • References 206
  • Iran 207
  • Israel 223
  • Notes 233
  • References 234
  • Japan 235
  • Notes 252
  • References 255
  • Kenya 256
  • Notes 269
  • References 270
  • Mexico 271
  • Notes 281
  • References 282
  • Netherlands 283
  • Notes 295
  • References 297
  • Nigeria 299
  • Notes 320
  • References 322
  • North Korea 323
  • Notes 335
  • References 337
  • Peru 338
  • Notes 355
  • References 360
  • Poland 361
  • Notes 371
  • References 373
  • Republic of South Africa 374
  • Notes 387
  • References 390
  • Russia and the Former Soviet Union 391
  • Notes 401
  • References 403
  • United Kingdom 404
  • Notes 415
  • United States 420
  • Notes 437
  • References 439
  • Zaire 440
  • Notes 456
  • References 458
  • Index 459
  • CONTRIBUTORS 515
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