The Office of Net Assessment, Department of Defense, is attempting to understand the long-term consequences of the rise of China as a major world power. As part of that effort, it seeks to understand the views of the most important Chinese authors who have analyzed the future security environment. Some Americans wrongly believe Chinese views reflect a mirror image of their own. This study suggests instead that the Chinese have their own unique perceptions, which may be difficult to appreciate.

The risk of mirror imaging our own views was an issue also present in the study of the Soviet Union. Andrew Marshall, Director of the Office of Net Assessment, cautioned against assuming that a foreign nation's strategic assessment is merely a reflection of ours: "Soviet calculations are likely to make different assumptions about scenarios and objectives . . . perform different calculations, use different measures of effectiveness, and perhaps use different assessment processes and methods. The result is that Soviet assessments may substantially differ from American assessments." (1) This cautionary note also applies to understanding Chinese assessments of the future.

This study offers over 600 selected quotations from the writings of over 200 Chinese authors published from 1994 to 1999. Analysis and interpretation are kept to a minimum so that the Chinese may speak for themselves. Many Chinese scholars assisted with this study by providing hard-to-get books and articles unfamiliar to most Westerners. Half the authors were interviewed in China. They explained some of the viewpoints in recent debates about the future security environment. Debates in China are generally concealed, and frequently authors pretend they do not exist. However muted they may be, China's debates about the future nevertheless exist and merit attention if we are to understand the premises of China's national strategy and set a baseline from which to measure any future change in these premises.

China policy debates are not easy to understand fully. Western studies in the past two decades have suggested various approaches. The selection of Chinese quotations in this study is based on the analytical foundation laid by the pioneering scholarship of A. Doak Barnett, Thomas J. Christensen, Banning Garrett, Bonnie Glaser, Carol Hamrin, Michael Hunt, Iain Johnston, Samuel Kim, Kenneth Lieberthal, Lyman Miller, Michel Oksenberg, Jonathan Pollack, Gilbert Rozman, Thomas Robinson, David Shambaugh, Michael Swaine, Allen Whiting, and Donald Zagoria. (2) One reason that the subject of Chinese policy debates is so complex and sensitive is because of the affiliations of the Chinese authors. They are not freewheeling scholars giving their personal views. The authors, who developed their writings in government-funded research institutes, (3) are either military officers who hold positions at China's Academy of Military Science (AMS), the National Defense University (NDU), and other research organizations affiliated with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), or civilian analysts from leading government institutes, such as the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). (4)

This study's main finding is that for these Chinese authors, the future security environment is remarkably clear, even if some aspects are still subject to debate. Surprisingly, this clear picture is consistent with what Chairman Mao and Premier Chou Enlai told President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger 25 years ago: namely, a multipolar world was emerging and that four nations threatened China--Russia, India, Japan, and America. (5) Although there is some debate among them, Chinese authors consistently express suspicions about other foreign powers, especially the United States, Japan, and India. As Stanford Professor of Political Science Michel Oksenberg states, "China's leaders are naturally suspicious of foreign powers. They believe that foreign leaders tend to be reluctant to welcome China's rise in world affairs and would prefer to delay or obstruct its progress. They fear that many in the outside world would prefer to divide China if given the opportunity. . . . China's leaders retain in their minds a strategic map of the points on their periphery that make them vulnerable to foreign influence." (6)

Two important influences on Chinese assessments are Marxist-Leninist doctrine (though it is seldom mentioned explicitly) and China's own history, particularly its ancient historical statecraft. As will be discussed in the Prologue, Chinese authors are heirs to a 5,000-year-old written tradition of statecraft that has been distilled into a few classic texts. (7) Embedded in Chinese writing about the future are extensive references to this ancient statecraft. These allusions are often mistranslated. If the translator selects similar English language phrases, the translation will lose the reference to a specific historical meaning that was intended and that would be familiar to a Chinese. Obviously, this study cannot impart the subtle details of the entire corpus of Chinese ancient statecraft and its uses in China today, but important references to it will be pointed out. Indeed, in order to permit the reader to encounter Chinese views without delay, a number of issues have been treated in the Prologue and appendixes: appendix 1 defines what the strategic assessment process entails, and appendix 2 provides background about the major Chinese assessment institutions.


Some words of caution are advisable to any reader not fluent in Chinese or familiar with Chinese Government-sponsored documents. It is easy to set out the English language words with which Chinese analysts in government research institutes have described the future security environment. It is more difficult to attain a true understanding of the context and what these specific words actually signify to the Chinese. There are at least four obstacles to understanding Chinese views to keep in mind.

Precise Translation

Readers unfamiliar with the Chinese language may not appreciate how wide a range of choice an interpreter has in translating Chinese terms from ideographic symbols, the semantic content of which has developed in a 5000-year-old cultural framework. For example, the Chinese word sixiang may be translated as "ideology," "thinking," "thoughts," and "doctrine," among other choices. Chinese verbs have no tense, so tense must be indicated by context, and Chinese nouns do not indicate singular or plural, again relying on context.

Some translation issues create only minor misunderstandings; others can be more significant. An example may help. Chinese writings on the future of warfare and the revolution in military affairs (RMA) frequently use three Chinese ideograms to signify something that can be used in a war that will surprise and overwhelm the enemy, vital parts of exploiting the RMA. The three ideograms (sha shou jian) literally mean "kill," "hand," and an ancient word for club, or "mace." U.S. Government translations have rendered this term as "trump card," "magic weapon," or "killer mace." None of these translations is wrong, but none captures the full meaning. The importance of the term can be seen in its continued usage over time, both originally in traditional Chinese novels and ancient statecraft texts, as well as today in the daily military newspaper. Behind these three ideograms may lie a concept of victory in warfare through possession of secret weapons that strike the enemy's most vulnerable point (called an acupuncture point), at precisely the decisive moment. This entire concept of how RMA technology can win a war cannot be fully conveyed by its simple English translation of "trump card."

The Changing Rules of the Chinese Communist Party about Debate

All authors quoted in this study are Party members with access to a system of confidential Party documents, many of which deal with assessment of the future security environment. Debate must remain within the limits of Party guidance. Books by Party members clearly will contrast with the freewheeling debates in American books about the future. In the United States, there is certainly no "party line" from the White House about the nature of world politics in 2020. Yet, as "scientific socialists," the leaders of the Communist Party of China are expected to have an official view of the future security environment and to disseminate this in confidential Party documents to members. The line may be unclear between narrow doctrines that Party scholars are expected to accept uncritically and broad areas that may be debated. Foreign readers, even if they know the Chinese language, can become lost in the woods if unfamiliar with Party context--which points are ideologically mandated and which are open to debate. One clue appears when there is extensive repetition by Chinese authors of "boiler plate" (tifa) phrases describing the future. Such repetition probably signals quotations from Central Party documents, but to foreign readers such terms may appear to be an uncanny coincidence of the same phrases used by dozens of Chinese authors.

The Party seems ambivalent about open debates. For 20 years, Party leaders have even debated whether or not to have open debates. The 20th anniversary on May 11, 1998, of the publication of the article, "Practice is the Sole Criterion of Testing Truth," led to numerous pieces in the Chinese press commemorating the debate over economic reform and opening up, that was ignited by the article. (8) Not only do they now praise the past debate, but they also advocate that in order to further carry out China's reforms, the country needs to "inherit the pioneering spirit of the debate . . . adhere to the ideological line of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, and initiate a new stage for China's development." (9) One book written as part of the commemoration of the "criterion of truth" debate and the reforms that it brought about may itself even be ushering in a new open form of academic debate in China. (10) Jiaofeng (Crossing swords), by Ma Licheng and Ling Zhizhun, describes three periods of the "emancipation of the mind" since the end of the Cultural Revolution, in 1978, 1992, and 1997. According to a review in Ching Pao, the book broke all of the norms of Chinese veiled debates. "It criticizes people by name in total disregard of their 'face' or feelings. All parties involved in the sword crossing in the book are referred to directly by name and by the title of their works rather than by quoting and commenting on people's opinions as was usually the case in the past. It has been calculated that over 100 articles were cited. Even Renmin ribao and Qiushi [Party Central Committee publications] were cited. It is really clear where its spearhead is directed against." (11)

Premises about Statecraft Held by Chinese Analysts

The Prologue addresses several important examples of how ancient Chinese statecraft is used as a lesson or metaphor to assess the future. Chinese references to the "Warring States era" of 2,500 years ago remind Chinese readers never to forget the eternal verities of geopolitics and worst case scenarios. The Warring States era as a guide to the future is a rich subject, but it is never spelled out for foreign readers. (12) Though significant, the true meaning of "the words" is never made explicit in a way Westerners need to know in order to understand what is really meant.

The Taboo on Open Discussion of Future Chinese Security

This obstacle can truly confuse foreign readers. China's future role in international politics (which Western scholars often assume will be significant) is seldom mentioned. One explanation is that this sensitive subject can be dealt with only in secret Party documents, not in the open source books and journals upon which this study completely relies. Glimpses of these internal documents sometimes come as "leaks" to the press. In 1994, a Hong Kong magazine, Cheng Ming, disclosed that a confidential report about the period 2000 to 2010, "War to be Won," had been circulated to Party members by the Policy Research Office of the Chinese State Council, the Policy Research Office of the Central Military Commission, and the Policy Research Office of the Communist Party Central Committee. The main points are that China's Comprehensive National Power (CNP) will be among the top three in the world and that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will be unified. (13) China's gross national product (GNP), excluding Taiwan, is estimated to become about U.S. $2.5 trillion by 2010. China will have two to four aircraft carriers and a PLA of 1.5 million, reduced from today's 3 million. By 2010, manned Chinese spacecraft will be launched and will have established a space station. (14) In May 1997, Cheng Ming leaked another report on Sino-U.S. relations, done by the Central Policy Research Center, the State Council's Policy Research Center, the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry. This second report predicted that war between China and the United States was possible in the future. According to Cheng Ming, the report asserted:

With the return of Hong Kong and Macao to Chinese rule, the Taiwan issue will inevitably become China's major event around 2010. If the United States uses force to meddle in China's sovereignty and internal affairs, China will certainly fight a war against aggression, thus leading to a limited Sino-U.S. war. China must be prepared for this. With the change in the international situation, the United States will make use of islands, maritime space, and resources, encourage and support of Japanese militarists in provoking a war against China. . . . China is the U.S. number one political adversary at the turn of this century. China must make systematic preparations against the invasive war and military attacks unleashed by the United States under any pretext. (15)

If authentic, these documents represent rare samples of the kind of confidential forecasts Party members may be reading about China's future role that cannot be discussed in open books and journals.

These obstacles need not prevent all understanding, but together they limit the probability of fully comprehending China's assessment. Modesty is an appropriate attitude to adopt in any attempt to understand Chinese assessments. The need for further research and more extensive translations should be kept in mind.

preview of findings

The central finding of this study is that China has developed a remarkably detailed picture of the future security environment. The concluding chapter provides details about the range of Chinese debates on the features of the future. The extent of the debate is very restricted when compared to the freewheeling give and take that exists in the West. The mutually exclusive "scenarios" employed by Americans to explore alternative possibilities for the future do not exist in Chinese writings. (16) China's clear picture of the future is an amalgam of Marxism and ancient Chinese statecraft from the Warring States era. All institute authors and PLA officers are members of the Chinese Communist Party, obligated to accept Party doctrine about the shape of the future. According to Deng Xiaoping, in order to preserve this clear picture of the future, Chinese should not "debate" because it can make things "complicated." Nevertheless, reformers continue to challenge orthodox ideological authors on sensitive issues. These debates are an important key to improving U.S. understanding of China. (17) Western understanding of Chinese debates has improved since 1949 because of the remarkable efforts of only a few scholars, mostly Chinese who have emigrated to the United States or Americans. This study highlights veiled debates between reformers and orthodox authors on:

The following section outlines additional findings of this study: measuring geopolitical hierarchy, dangers and opportunities for China, probable scenarios for future warfare, Marxist taboos, including absence of self-criticism, and the premise that capitalist nations trigger wars.

Measuring Geopolitical Hierarchy

Consistent with the texts of ancient statecraft, China's analysts believe in geopolitics. They try to calculate mathematically the hierarchy of the world's future major powers. At least two teams have done so at the orthodox Academy of Military Science and the reform-minded Chinese Academy of Social Science. According to the military forecast, China's CNP by 2020 will grow equal to that of the United States in a multipolar structure. Russia, Europe, and Japan will be "poles" three, four, and five, each with half the power level attained by the United States or China. According to the "reform" civilian forecast, the United States will lose its hegemony not to China but to Japan. Tokyo's national power will grow equal to that of the United States by 2010, followed closely by Germany. The civilians rate China only as number eight by 2010, not even one of the top five "poles." China and Russia score only half as high as the United States and Japan. Given these calculated power scores, Chinese analysts of the future focus intensively on assessing the intentions of Japan and the United States toward China, especially the strength of the "slanderous" and dangerous "China Threat Theory" in Tokyo and Washington.

China foresees a turbulent multipolar world. In contrast to wide-ranging Western debates about scenarios from the "long boom" to a more "dangerous world," since 1986, China's Communist Party has had an almost unchanging assessment of an "inevitable" multipolar future. (18) This Chinese assessment draws heavily on both Maoist, pre-Gorbachev Marxist-Leninism, and ancient Chinese statecraft. It sees a relative decline in U.S. power so that the world will be "multipolar," much like the Warring States era. American security alliances will weaken, the United States will decline to become a regional power, and the post-World War II rules and norms set mainly by the United States and the Allies will give way to China's proposed rules, known as the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. (19) China's authors warn of future wars. There will be intense competition among major powers to build CNP and to develop the RMA. There will be a danger of frequent "local wars," from future small wars in Africa to wars on the scale of the Korean conflict and the Gulf War. The main cause of wars involving major powers will be competitive struggles over natural resources (oil and gas). The "Yalta System" of stable "spheres of influence" must be replaced by the Five Principles, which have already been adopted by "most countries," including Russia, but not the United States or Japan. (20) Without a new "system," turmoil like that during the Warring States era will continue indefinitely. "Systems" tend to last at least 40 years, according to some Chinese authors.

China calculates power ratios and predicts American decline. Ancient Chinese statecraft from the Warring States era emphasizes the need to calculate future power ratios mathematically. Chinese national security research analysts have quantitatively analyzed the relative power of the nations of this inevitable new "world structure" in which the United States will decline economically, socially, militarily, and internationally to become one of five "poles" in a "multipolar world." Nothing can save the United States from this fate, which will include serious conflict with its former NATO and Japanese allies, a failure to exploit the coming RMA, and a fading away of all U.S. security alliances. Orthodox Chinese analysts predict that 15 to 20 years will be sufficient; reformers argue that it may take longer. U.S. influence is already said to be declining because the multipolar power of other nations constrains U.S. ambition. A domestic Chinese radio broadcast explained, "Even though the United States is currently the most developed country in the world, this does not mean that it can dominate everything as it pleases; and this is specifically the inevitable outcome of the world's accelerated pace toward creating a multipolarized pattern after the Cold War." (21)

Dangers and Opportunities

This new multipolar world will present China with both dangers and major opportunities that parallel those of a rising power during the Warring States era. (22) Some rising states were brutally "extinguished" by the hegemon of the Warring States, a role the United States could play. Ancient strategists deceived or diverted the hegemon and even formed a coalition to balance it. As today's hegemon, the United States may already be maneuvering to prevent ("contain") China from entering this new multipolar world in which China's CNP continues to rise and grow closer to that of the United States. Orthodox authors argue that it is "too late" for the United States to "contain" China. They say U.S. military forces can be defeated through ancient strategic techniques known collectively as "the inferior defeats the superior" (yiruo shengqiang). Conversely, other authors assert that the inevitable process of America's decline has not gone far yet. One senior analyst created a probability chart of alternative policies China could pursue in order to delay for 10 years any U.S. military actions that would use force against a rising China to preserve American hegemony. Another author warns that this dangerous threat to China from the United States will not arrive until the decade 2020 to 2030, when the United States finally realizes the implications of becoming inferior to Chinese national power. Both orthodox and reform authors recommend tactical accommodation (including partnership) with the United States. However, both fear that if the China Threat Theory gains more influence in America, the United States will become so alarmed by China's rise that Washington will decide to contain, use strategic deception, or even attack China in order to preserve U.S. hegemony.

China's ancient statecraft urges the development and use of surprise "magic weapons" to win wars, a theory that today appears to influence China's view of the RMA. Five books about the RMA published in 1996-97 are striking evidence of the importance of this subject to the Chinese military. Analysts assert that the different rates at which major nations exploit the radical changes in warfare will change the world balance of power, as occurred during the ancient Warring States era. These authors' books boldly predict the United States will lose its initial lead within a decade and then fall behind other nations in this RMA competition. Such a forecast about U.S. failure to take advantage of the opportunities of a potential RMA is consistent with the calculations of other Chinese authors about the future relative decline of the United States. Russia and Japan will surpass the United States in exploiting the RMA, they say. Thus, the effect of the RMA will reinforce the current "inevitable" trend toward multipolarity and the end of America's superpower status.

Future Warfare

There is some evidence that there are three distinct schools of debate about which type of future warfare China will most probably face. There is not a direct debate, so this study labels the different schools of thought the "RMA" advocates, the "Local War" advocates, and the more traditional "People's War," or "Active Defense," advocates. The RMA advocates complain that China's current military modernization is too slow and ought to be aimed instead at leapfrogging the other major powers. Since the mid-1980s, Local War advocates have been seeking to reduce ground forces and develop a better navy and air force. The advocates of continuing Chairman Mao's approach of Active Defense and People's War focus on ideological training, large, lightly armed infantry, and a national defense mobilization base.

There may be a tacit link among these three schools of thought and the debate about the future security environment. RMA advocates would prevail in a budget debate if forecasts of the future emphasized that China would face no local wars or major land invasions but would need to defend itself after two decades against a United States bent on dismembering China to prevent it from challenging U.S. hegemony. Local War advocates benefit from forecasts that China will indeed be challenged in the near term--such as by aggression on China's border with India or Vietnam, or in the South China Sea, or by a declaration of independence by Taiwan. People's War advocates benefit from forecasts that focus on the suspicious intentions of major powers (Japan or the United States) to invade or to dismember, justifying a 3-million-strong army and militia mobilization base.

Marxist Taboos

Some of the current strategic assessment was formulated secretly in the years between 1982 and 1985 through debate among the senior leadership in Beijing. (23) The procedure, which can be seen as China's "assessment cycle," brought about publication of a set of premises that began to shift during the decline of Deng Xiaoping in the early 1990s. There is now a new component--the United States as a potential threat to China's rise. It is remarkable that 20 years ago China saw the United States as a potential military ally and source of advanced weapons, yet today portrays the United States as a future long-term rival and even potential military opponent. Many Chinese note, however, that such changes were routine in the Warring States era.

There remain untested ideological taboos. One cannot publicly forecast certain scenarios. No Chinese author can today openly argue that the United States will grow relatively stronger than other major powers; U.S. relations will improve with capitalist Europe or Japan; Japan will weaken or remain a quasi-pacifist nation under its Peace Constitution; "multipolarity" as defined in China is unlikely; or it is wrong to suspect the United States of being a greedy hegemon seeking to dismember China's Tibet or Taiwan, because it continues to receive 70 percent of China's exports, remains among the top three foreign investors in China, and pledges to reduce arms sales to Taiwan.

One taboo prohibits forecasts or debates about China's own future security role. In sharp contrast to widespread Western interest and writing about the consequences of the rise of China, this subject cannot be addressed by Chinese analysts beyond certain boilerplate phrases used by senior leaders in international fora. There is no discussion of alternative scenarios about the rise of China as a great power. Analysts only repeat platitudes that China will never be a superpower, never seek hegemony, and always be a force for peace and stability. (24) Foreign commentary suggesting that China might behave as other great powers have done has been harshly criticized and punished. (25) A top Chinese analyst agreed in 1987 with the prediction by the U.S. Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy that China will emerge by 2010 as the world's second economic power (after the United States and ahead of Japan and Russia). However, he warned that anyone who even considers unpleasant scenarios about China's future role, such as a "potential enemy," shows "a lack of sound strategic thinking." (26)

Candid Chinese views of China's own possible future role as a great power either do not exist or are not available in open sources. This topic is avoided. Instead, daunting challenges are emphasized. (27) China's leaders repeatedly warn that no one should be worried about China as a rising military power. Li Peng stated, "It will take more than 30 years for China to achieve modernization. Therefore, the China Threat Theory is not an objective view. It was spread by anti-China forces in Western countries with ulterior motives to contain China." (28) Apparently, some authors fear that a growing trend in America and Japan will be to prevent China's rise as a future power. "Within the U.S. Congress and the Clinton administration (such as the Defense Department and the intelligence departments), there are a number of experts, strategists, and government officials who do not consider issues from the angle of political strife but instead focus on preserving the U.S. world hegemonist status and proceed from long-term geopolitical strategic awareness in holding that the rise of China will be an enduring challenge and even a threat to the United States. They call for maintaining strategic alertness and instituting strategic precautions against China. They fabricate and publish all kinds of 'reports,' and stir up all kinds of 'cases' for which there is no factual evidence, in order to create strategic opinion for the 'China threat,' 'alertness against China,' and 'precautions against China,' in a bid to attain their strategic and political goals in the world, Asia, and China (including Taiwan)." (29) Chinese concern about the reaction of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to the development of its military force and a potential China Threat is one reason that a plan to build an aircraft carrier was postponed to the 2000-2005 Five-Year Plan. According to one officer, "We do not want our neighbors to misread the signals . . . but we need an aircraft carrier if we are to complete plans to modernize the navy. We have no plans to threaten anyone with an aircraft carrier." (30)

No Self-Criticism

Chinese analysts have not engaged in public criticism about any aspects of China's foreign policy, in sharp contrast to the level of self-criticism in the USSR that Gorbachev permitted as early as 1987. No Chinese author has yet gone as far as Gorbachev's speech to the 19th Party Congress, which asserted, "It even happened that decisions of major importance were made by a narrow circle of persons. . . . This led to an inadequate reaction to international events and to the policies of other states and even to erroneous decisions." (31) No Chinese author has yet agreed with Gorbachev's call for "de-ideologization of interstate relations," or with Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoli Adamshin's rhetorical question, "Why is injecting ideology into foreign policy so dangerous? . . . It is no less incorrect to suppose oneself the bearer of historical truth, the possessor of a patent on the future." (32) Nor has any Chinese yet followed Gorbachev's speech on November 2, 1987, which challenged the Leninist view of international politics by suggesting that capitalist nations can do without militarism and neocolonialism. (33) Allen Lynch concluded after this speech, "One may even speak of the emergence . . . of a new Soviet theory of international relations," while Sylvia Woodby referred to it as a "new world view." (34) Not so in China.

China's commitment to its version of Marxism rules out the public use of purely Western international relations concepts to assess the future security environment. This ideology prohibits using certain concepts to assess the future. Deng's national security advisor on the State Council, Huan Xiang, wrote in 1987 that "bourgeois theories of international relations" were to serve the interests of imperialist foreign policies. (35) One well-known Chinese analyst observed, "Differing from Western international relations theorists such as Hans Morgenthau, China's theory of international relations is based on dialectical and historical materialism." (36) Textbooks of international relations in use in China, such as a recent book by Liang Shoude and Hong Yinxian, emphasize the interpretations of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Deng Xiaoping. (37) Liang asserts that the foreign policies of nations depend on whether the bourgeoisie or the proletariat is in power.

Capitalist Nations Trigger Wars

Chinese textbooks state that bourgeois states are greedy and constantly plot war and intervention; they are blocked from this course only by the socialist states, who desire peace and development. Students in China from high school on are examined on these principles. Liang Shoude headed the commission that drafted the national syllabus in international politics for all universities. Chinese have publicly rejected Western international relations theory, including the school of thought known as Realism or Neo-Realism, which began to be discussed in 1982 in China. (38)

In contrast to Western research that suggests miscalculation and misperceptions may be the leading cause of war, Chinese analysts assert that "scrambling for resources" causes war. "Economic factors are . . . the most fundamental cause triggering war." (39) This view may make it difficult for Chinese analysts to appreciate the role of miscalculations and misperceptions in causing war.

Chinese analysts often assert that signs of future trends appear in hidden in current events. For example, the Bosnia conflict is said to reveal a struggle between the United States and the European Union (EU) to dominate Europe and to re-divide the former Soviet sphere of influence. (40) The hidden intent behind U.S. policies of NATO enlargement and revision of the U.S.-Japan defense guidelines is to challenge the spheres of Russia and China from both the east and west flanks.

Will another 25 years of Sino-American "strategic dialogue" and military-to-military exchanges eliminate the Chinese misperceptions identified in this study? American exchange programs have been effective and need to be increased in the future. However, China may not be willing to modify its most dearly held beliefs about traditional statecraft and the future.


1. Andrew W. Marshall, "A Program to Improve Analytic Methods Related to Strategic Forces," Policy Sciences (November 1982): 48.

2. A. Doak Barnett, The Making of Foreign Policy in China (Boulder, CO: Holt, Praeger, 1985); Thomas J. Christensen, Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). Carol Lee Hamrin, China and the Challenge of the Future, Changing Political Patterns (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990); Michael H. Hunt, The Genesis of Chinese Communist Foreign Policy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996); Alastair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism, Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); Samuel S. Kim, China in and Out of the Changing World Order (Princeton: Center of International Studies, 1991); Kenneth Lieberthal, Central Documents and Politburo Politics in China (Ann Arbor, MI: Papers in Chinese Studies No. 33, 1978); H. Lyman Miller, "Politics inside the Ring Road: On Sources and Comparisons," in Decision-Making in Deng's China, Perspectives from Insiders, eds. Carol Lee Hamrin and Suisheng Zhao (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995); Michel Oksenberg, "Methods of Communication Within the Chinese Bureaucracy," The China Quarterly, no. 57 (January-March 1974): 1-39; Jonathan D. Pollack, The Sino-Soviet Rivalry and Chinese Security Debate (Santa Monica: Rand, 1982, R-2907-AF); Gilbert Rozman, The Chinese Debate About Soviet Socialism, 1978-1985 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987); Thomas W. Robinson and David Shambaugh, eds., Chinese Foreign Policy, Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press, 1994); David Shambaugh, Beautiful Imperialist: China Perceives America, 1972-1990 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); Michael D. Swaine, The Role of the Chinese Military in National Security Policymaking (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 1996); Allen S. Whiting, China Eyes Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); and Donald S. Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet Conflict 1956-1961 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), especially "A Note on Methodology."

3. Background on these institutes is provided in appendix 2.

4. This book's bibliography lists over 300 Chinese books about future warfare and the future security environment. In addition, more than 100 Chinese military and civilian authors were interviewed during eight visits to Beijing and Shanghai from March 1995 to October 1998. Forty relevant articles appear in Michael Pillsbury, ed., Chinese Views of Future Warfare (Washington: National Defense University Press, 1997).

5. William Burr, ed., The Kissinger Transcripts (New York: The New Press, 1998), 216, footnote 57.

6. Michel Oksenberg, Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong in Sino-American Relations (Stanford, CA: Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, 1997), 56.

7. See Alastair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism, Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995).

8. Some policy debates are not disclosed. For example, an article in the New York Times about China's bid to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO), reported, "China's top trade official, acknowledging for the first time that many lower level Chinese officials oppose the nation's proposed entry to the WTO, said in newspaper reports published on Monday that the government would begin a broad campaign to try to temper the internal discord. . . . Until now, Beijing's stance has been to pretend no opposition existed, even though many Chinese officials are known to be unhappy at the prospect of more open competition with international companies, one of the consequences of joining the trade organization." Seth Faison, "China Seeks to Win Over Dissenters on Joining Trade Group," New York Times, International Business Section, June 8, 1999.

Not only do Chinese analysts generally not admit publicly to the existence of debates, but usually they do not even refer to, let alone criticize, other author's views in their writings. For example, at the end of 1997, the Center for Peace and Development in Beijing hosted a conference on the situation in the Asia-Pacific in which more than 15 Chinese scholars from a variety of institutions presented different opinions without direct debate among themselves. See "1997 nian Yatai xingshi nianzhong yantaohui" (The 1997 year-end symposium on the situation in the Asia-Pacific), Heping yu fazhan (Peace and Development), 63, no. 1 (February 1998): 8-13. A similar conference on the international political situation, attended by 23 analysts. also lacked direct debate. "1997 nian guoji zhengzhi xingshi yantaohui fayan xuan deng" (Viewpoints as presented at the seminar on the international political situation in 1997), Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi (World Economics and Politics) 209, no. 1 (January 1998): 5-22.

9. Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, "Party Schools Commemorate Debate on the Criterion for Truth," May 14, 1998, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)-CHI-98-134, May 15, 1998. See also, "PRC Marks 20th Anniversary of Ideological Debate," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, May 3, 1998, in FBIS-CHI-98-123, May 6, 1998, and "Free Minds Essential to Reform," China Daily, May 5, 1998, 4.

10. Ma Licheng and Ling Zhizhun, Jiaofeng (Crossing swords)(n.p.: China Today Publishing House, March 1998).

11. According to the Ching Pao, the editor-in-chief of the Chinese periodical Zhongliu, who was criticized by the book, retaliated by "accusing the authors of 'bullying,' 'baring their fangs,' 'breathing strong as a bull,' and 'becoming arrogant and overbearing.' " See Tsou Wang, "'Jiaofeng (Crossing swords) Gives Rise to Confrontation, Puts the Authorities in a 'Dilemma'," Ching Pao (The Mirror), August 12, 1998, in FBIS-CHI-98-224, August 13, 1998.

12. The Warring States era (475-221 B.C.), which produced some of the classics of Chinese statecraft, was a period when a multistate competition to become "hegemon" featured stratagems, small wars, interstate conferences, treaties, and what Western scholars of international relations would label "anarchy."

13. According to Professor Allen S. Whiting, "Although Cheng Ming is a Hong Kong journal, it has a good track record of acquiring authentic PRC classified documents." Allen S. Whiting, "East Asian Military Securities Dynamics," Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, February 1995, 49, footnote 9.

14. Cheng Ming (May 1994): 1.

15. Li Tzu-ching, "CPC Thinks China and United States Will Eventually Go to War," Cheng Ming, no. 235 (May 1997): 15-16; in FBIS-CHI-97-126.

16. For examples of U.S. debates about the future, see Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1987); Joseph F. Coates, John B. Mahaffie, and Andy Hines, 2025: Scenarios of U.S. and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology (Greensboro, NC: Oakhill Press, 1997); and the annual publication, Earl H. Tilford, Jr., ed., World View: The 1998 Strategic Assessment from the Strategic Studies Institute (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, February 26, 1998). See also articles in Futures Research Quarterly, published by the World Future Society.

17. An example of how differences between reform and orthodox views on China's future development resulted in "complications" was the debate over political and economic reform in the late 1980s, leading up to Tiananmen protests in 1989. For a discussion of this issue, see Benedict Stavis, "Contradictions in Communist Reform: China before June 1989," Political Science Quarterly 105, no. 1 (1990): 31-52. The Western press reported in 1998 that debate concerning political reform was once again emerging in China. See Steven Mufson, "Debate Blossoms in Beijing Spring, Open Discussion of Reform Spread to Universities, Media," The Washington Post, April 19, 1998, A1, A26; and Eric Eckholm, "Chinese Book on Political Reform Stirs Hopes for More Debate," The New York Times, August 25, 1998, A5.

18. For Peter Schwartz' vision to 2020 of "unabashed technological optimism," see Steve Lohr, "Long Boom or Bust for Leading Futurist," New York Times, June 1, 1998. A pessimistic vision is Richard Kugler, Toward a Dangerous World: U.S. National Security Strategy for the Coming Turbulence (Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation, 1995), 101-160. Additional reading includes Melville C. Branch, "Why We Simulate Long-Range Futures," The Futurist 32, no. 3 (April 1998): 52.

19. Said to date from a 1954 agreement between China and India, they are Mutual Respect for Territorial Integrity, Nonaggression, Noninterference, Equality and Mutual Benefit, and Peaceful Coexistence. India violated them 8 years later and had to be taught a lesson by China, as did Russia (1969) and Vietnam (1979).

20. Li Zhongcheng, "Emerging China's Role in World Politics," Contemporary International Relations 8, no. 2 (February 1998): 16. Li is a Research Professor in the Division for China and World Studies at CICIR.

21. Yuan Bingzhong, "The Challenges the United States Confronts While Adjusting its Foreign Policy," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, December 17, 1997, in FBIS-CHI-97-352, December 20, 1997.

22. Wu Rusong, "Zhanguo shidai duoji douzheng de zhanlue sixiang" (Multipolar strategic thought in the Warring States era), Zhongguo junshi kexue (China Military Science) 29, no. 4 (Winter 1994): 126. Colonel Wu stated in an interview with the author in August 1996 that he directs the ancient strategy section of the Strategy Department at AMS in Beijing. The article suggests parallels to the present.

23. By 1986, an open source article described many of the key tenets of the current assessment of a multipolar world structure. See Gao Heng, "Shijie zhanlue geju zhengxiang duojihua fazhan" (Development of global strategic multipolarity), Guofang daxue xuebao (National Defense University Journal), no. 2 (1986): 32-34.

24. For example, see Hu Ping, "Heping fazhan shi Zhongguo de changqi zhanlue quxiang" (Peaceful development is China's long-term strategic orientation), Guoji zhanlue yanjiu (International Strategic Studies) 46, no. 4 (October 1997): 4-6. Hu Ping is a Research Fellow at the China Institute of International Strategic Studies (CIISS).

25. Foreign critics of China may be rebutted by name and accused of "slandering" China. Journals regularly assess the views of U.S. experts on China. The published writing of former U.S. Ambassador to China James Lilley has been criticized frequently in press articles. The Coming Conflict With China, by Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, was harshly reviewed in China. For example, see Mi Zhenyu, "Stupid Lies--Commentary on 'The Coming Conflict With China' " (in Chinese), Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, April 17, 1997. See also an article in China Youth, a collection of the views of leading analysts at CICIR, NDU, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing University, and other institutions, "Zhong-Mei chongtu ji jiang daolai ma?" (Is a Sino-U.S. conflict coming?), Zhongguo qingnian (China Youth), no. 8 (1997): 8-11. Even Russians must be criticized if they perceive a threat from China: "Some extreme nationalists in Russia also made trouble . . . [promoting] the theory Russia is getting weaker and China getting stronger." Shi Ze, "Lun xin shiqi de Zhong-E guanxi" (Perceptions of Sino-Russian relations in the new era), Guoji wenti yanjiu (International Studies) 60, no. 2 (April 1996): 7. There are also examples of Americans and Britons who publicly discussed a potential "China threat" and were then denied visas in the 1990s. Shi Ze is Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

26. Chen Zhongjing, Guoji zhanlue wenti (Problems of international strategy)(Beijing: Shishi chubanshe, 1988), 310-311. Chen, born in 1915, is one of the most distinguished Chinese strategic experts. Chen has been President of the Institute of International Relations and the Director of CICIR, a research institute affiliated with the Ministry of State Security. Some say he served as a vice minister of the Chinese foreign intelligence service.

27. For example, see Ma Hong and Sun Shangqing, eds., Jingji baipishu: Zhongguo jingji xingshi yu zhanwang: 1995-1996 (Economic white paper: China's economic situation and prospects: 1995-1996)(Beijing: Zhongguo fazhan chubanshe, 1996); Shi Bike, Zhongguo da qushi (China megatrends)( Beijing: Hualing chubanshe, 1996). For warnings on the need to conceal increasing national power, see Ma Jinsheng, Junshi qipian (Military deception)(Jinan: Junshi kexue chubanshe, 1992).

28. "Li Peng on Domestic, International Affairs," Beijing Xinhua Domestic Service, January 2, 1996, in FBIS-CHI-96-002, January 3, 1996. Former Premier Li Peng added, "China will never practice hegemonism nor seek any spheres of influence. Even when it gets stronger in the future, it will, as always, maintain friendly relations with other countries."

29. Chu Shulong, "Sino-US Relations Pushed into Perilous Waters," Shijie zhishi, no. 11 (June 1, 1999): 9-10; in FBIS-CHI-1999-0622, June 23, 1999. See also Song Qiang, Zhang Zangzang, and Qiao Bian, Zhongguo keyi shuo bu--Lengzhan hou shidai de zhengzhi yu qinggan jueze (China can say no--post-Cold War political emotional options)(Beijing: Zhonghua gongshang lianhe chubanshe, 1996), 6. The introduction states that "stemming both from its deep-rooted different ideological views, as well as from its ultra-hegemonic efforts to unilaterally dominate the world, the United States has increasingly shown agony and uneasiness regarding the rise of China . . . a big conspiracy on the part of the free world directed at China has begun to ferment and brew. . . . It is said to be a conspiracy because what the United States says is one thing and what it does is another."

30. Quoted in Paul Beaver, "China Will Delay Aircraft Carrier," Jane's Defense Weekly, June 3, 1998.

31. Quoted in Sylvia Woodby, Gorbachev and the Decline of Ideology in Soviet Foreign Policy (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989), 36.

32. Ibid., 16, 17.

33. See Gorbachev's anniversary speech of November 2, 1987, on Moscow television, in FBIS, November 3, 1987. Cited in Woodby, Gorbachev and the Decline of Ideology in Soviet Foreign Policy.

34. Allen Lynch, Gorbachev's International Outlook: Intellectual Origins and Political Consequences (New York: Institute of East-West Security Studies, 1989), 37; and Woodby, Gorbachev and the Decline of Ideology, 23. See also Galia Golan's work on the subject, Gorbachev's "New Thinking" on Terrorism (New York: Praeger, 1990; published with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington).

35. Huan Xiang, "Preface to the Chinese Translation of Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff, Contending Theories of International Relations," Shijie zhishi (World Knowledge), no. 8 (1988): 12.

36. Wang Shuzhong, "The Post-War International System," in As China Sees the World: Perceptions of Chinese Scholars, ed. Harish Kapur (London: Francis Pinter Publishers, 1987), 22.

37. Liang Shoude and Hong Yinxian, Guoji zhengzhixue gailun (General theory of international politics)(Beijing: Zhongyang bianshi chubanshe, 1994).

38. See Chu Shulong, "Guanyu guoji guanxixue xueke jianshe de ji ge wenti" (Several issues concerning the establishment of the subject of international relations), Xiandai guoji guanxi (Contemporary International Relations) 66, no. 4 (April 1995): 59-63; Yang Zheng, "Shixi guoji guanxixue de yanjiu duixiang wenti" (A tentative analysis of the object of the study of international relations), Xiandai guoji guanxi (Contemporary International Relations), 66, no. 4 (April 1995): 64-67; and David Shambaugh and Wang Jisi, "Research on International Studies in the Peoples Republic of China," PS (Fall 1984): 758-64. According to an interview in Beijing with Wang Jisi in June 1995, the first article on Western theory was by Chen Lemin entitled "Western International Relations Theory" in Research on International Problems, the journal of CIIS. Chu has a Ph.D. from George Washington University; Wang, from Oxford University.

39. Liu Mingde, "Changes in the Forms of War and Their Implications After the Disintegration of the Bipolar Pattern," International Strategic Studies 24, no. 2 (June 1992): 9. Liu is a Research Fellow at CIISS.

40. Chen Feng, "1997 nian di guoji zhanlue xingshi" (The Strategic situation in 1997), Guoji zhanlue yanjiu (International Strategic Studies) 47, no. 1(January 1998): 3-7. According to interviews, Colonel Chen served in the Situation Room of the Chinese military intelligence headquarters in Beijing. He is now at the Chinese mission to the United Nations in New York.