In November 2002, the Chinese Communist Party held its 16th Congress and formally initiated a sweeping turnover of senior leaders in both the Party and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The meeting heralded not merely a new set of personalities in positions of political and military power, but also the emergence of a new generation of leaders. Who are these individuals, and what does their rise mean for the future of China and its military?
The group of China specialists who have written this book have applied their research talents, intelligence, and hands-on experience to clarify and explain the most important issues of the day in China. China obviously matters to the United States because of its size, its spectacular patterns of growth, its profound problems linked to rapid growth, and its military intentions.
These specialists have avoided the diseases of bias, demagoguery, predispositions, and showmanship, which infect so many of the analyses of China. Rather, they have examined the facts and the trends to explain the divisions and cohesions in the Chinese leadership and their potential significance to the United States and the rest of the world.
These annual conferences have a long continuity stretching back to the early 1990s. Hence, there is a common database for the books produced each year. The writers revisit major problems in China's development, particularly in the military sphere. They also examine how Chinese policies have evolved over the years, and how important the United States has been in influencing China's strategy. What, for instance, will the emerging leadership with its factious differences do about Taiwan and North Korea?
The conference took place at the Carlisle Barracks in September 19- 21, 2003, and was sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Army War College. The exchanges were frank, the atmosphere was filled with camaraderie and tension. There were challenges, I understand, but there was no group-think. The depth of knowledge was astounding. I commend this book to all interested in China and to anyone who thinks about our future and China's role therein.
Ambassador James R. Lilley
American Enterprise Institute