Chinese Officer Calls for Hard Line Against U.S.

March 7, 2010 2:15 am Last Updated: October 6, 2010 1:08 am

[xtypo_dropcap]I[/xtypo_dropcap]n his new book, China Dream, Senior Colonel of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Liu Mingfu appears poised with gauntlet in hand, wielding statements such as “It is time [for China] to cast away illusions and get ready for the duel with the United States for global dominance in the 21st century.”

The book was released just before the convening this month of the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

At the two sessions in Beijing, the defense budget will be one of the hottest of topics. At the same time a year ago, Beijing announced its defense budget for 2009—an impressive 14.9 percent raise over 2008. Some military experts think the actual defense budget for 2010 far exceeds this.

According to state-run media in China, Colonel Liu’s 303-page book has attracted extensive attention. After an arduous bidding process with a few dozen publishers vying to publish the book, the China Friendship Publishing Company won out.

Lieutenant General Liu Yazhou, a well-known military strategist, senior commissar and member of the party elite, wrote the preface for the book.

In the book, Liu calls on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to build up its military, in order to topple the United States.

“China’s grand goal in the 21st century is to become the world’s No. 1 power,” said Liu, professor and director of the Institute of Military Construction at the elite National Defense University. He added, “Rivalry between the two powers is a competition to dominate the world, a conflict over who rises and who falls.”

Liu’s arguments contradicted the policy to “never seek hegemony” of previous Chinese leaders, and the “peaceful rise of China” policy of the current regime.

It’s not the first time military professors have made hawkish arguments. In 2005, Chinese Major General Zhu Chenghu, professor and Dean of China's National Defense University, told journalists in Hong Kong that China might start a nuclear war if the U.S. decided to intervene in a military conflict in the Taiwan straits.

According to a report by The New York Times, General Zhu said, “If the Americans place their missiles with precision-guided munitions [so-called “smart bombs”] into the target zone of China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.”

Zhu made a dramatic conclusion, “We… will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xi'an. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared for hundreds… of cities to be destroyed by the Chinese.” [1]

While western countries are plodding along the road to recovery from the financial crisis, advocates of a hard line against the United States and Europe are again being listened to in China. Liu’s opinions ring out as a dominant voice amid shrill, persistent voices that demand an offensive strategy towards Washington, on such thorny issues as Tibet, human rights, trade, the environment, and arms sales to Taiwan.

In an interview with the Voice of America (VOA), Professor So Wai-Chor of the Open University of Hong Kong said, “Athough Liu said the book represents only his personal views, it's likely the publication has the tacit approval of the CCP.”

So said, “I believe that it may reflect the views of the Communist regime. They want to test the waters. For sensitive topics, such people are able to make their views public only if approved by the authorities.”

China’s No. 1 online military forum is considered to be A blogger recently posted there, “The Soviet Union collapsed because all the people in the country held similar views. Luckily, this time the advocate [of such war-oriented views] is only a PLA colonel.”

[1] Joseph Kahn, "Chinese General Threatens Use of A-Bombs if U.S. Intrudes," New York Times, July 15, 2005; Alexandra Harney, "Top Chinese General Warns U.S. Over Attack.”

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