A new Chinese militarism?

An Australian newspaper reports on the views of a Chinese general who is encouraging the rise of a new militaristic spirit in China and the recovery of the fighting spirit in revolutionary Communism:

A rising star of the People’s Liberation Army has called for China to rediscover its ”military culture”, while challenging unnamed Communist Party leaders for betraying their revolutionary heritage.

General Liu Yuan displays sympathy for Osama bin Laden, says war is a natural extension of economics and politics and claims that ”man cannot survive without killing”.

His essay, written as a preface to a friend’s book, says ”history is written by blood and slaughter” and describes the nation-state as ”a power machine made of violence”.

General Liu’s public glorification of what he sees as an innate but previously suppressed Chinese military culture reveals an undercurrent that is driving the Communist Party’s increasing assertiveness at home and abroad.

His essay emerges at an awkward time internationally, after Army Chief of Staff Chen Bingde last week travelled to Washington with reassurances about China’s peaceful intentions.

Chinese President Hu Jintao promoted General Liu this year to be Political Commissar of the PLA’s General Logistics Department, after making him a full general in 2009, and some expect he will receive a two-stage promotion into the Central Military Commission, the military’s top leadership body.

General Liu is also an important leader among the dozens of ”princelings” whose parents founded the People’s Republic and are now claiming dominant positions in politics, business and rising through the military.

His father was Liu Shaoqi, who was Mao Zedong’s anointed successor until Mao’s Red Guards threw him in jail and left him to die.

General Liu was purged with his family during the Cultural Revolution and then left Beijing to begin his career as a grassroots official in the countryside in the early 1980s, in parallel with the current boss of Chongqing city, Bo Xilai, and China’s likely next president, Xi Jinping.

”Military culture is the oldest and most important wisdom of

humanity,” writes General Liu, inverting a traditional Chinese formulation that military affairs are subordinate to civilian culture. ”Without war, where would grand unity come from? Without force, how could fusion of the nation, the race, the culture, the south and the north be achieved?”

While overtones of 1930s Japanese and German militarism will be internationally disconcerting, the essay also opens a window into the institutional, ideological and personal struggles that are intensifying before next year’s leadership transition.

It is effectively a clarion call for the true heirs of the communist revolution to rediscover their fighting spirit and reinvent a rationale for their existence.

via Chinese general rattles sabre.

Maybe we had better not dismantle our military.

HT:  Adam

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • ELB

    Not dismantle our military? It is what we do whenever our national policy is driven by the notion that people are by nature good. My professors at university made it clear that it was fear that caused war, specifically fear of the great U.S. military machine, so that unilateral disarmament was the key to peace.
    Those who think like this aren’t much moved by the realities of national and ideological agression even when stated clearly.

  • ELB

    Not dismantle our military? It is what we do whenever our national policy is driven by the notion that people are by nature good. My professors at university made it clear that it was fear that caused war, specifically fear of the great U.S. military machine, so that unilateral disarmament was the key to peace.
    Those who think like this aren’t much moved by the realities of national and ideological agression even when stated clearly.

  • DonS

    As China’s population begins to age, and its economy to decline, as a result, there will be increasing internal unrest. The imbalance between males and females because of its strict abortion policy gives credence to the idea that militarism may offer both a diversion for its restless male population as well as a way to grow economically through colonization, and perhaps importing forced labor from conquered regions. It’s something to consider.

  • DonS

    As China’s population begins to age, and its economy to decline, as a result, there will be increasing internal unrest. The imbalance between males and females because of its strict abortion policy gives credence to the idea that militarism may offer both a diversion for its restless male population as well as a way to grow economically through colonization, and perhaps importing forced labor from conquered regions. It’s something to consider.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    The general’s comments reflect something I heard from a citizen of Hong Kong back in the mid-1990s. When I asked him about the upcoming reintegration with China, I anticipated some dread, but was surprised to hear that he was looking forward to it, as it meant that he’d once again live “in his own country.”

    A very different way of thinking to me, and a caution that our national policy ought not be predicated on the idea that the rest of the world thinks like us. It is not certain that the collapse of the Chinese economy from a lack of trade would dissuade some there from war.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    The general’s comments reflect something I heard from a citizen of Hong Kong back in the mid-1990s. When I asked him about the upcoming reintegration with China, I anticipated some dread, but was surprised to hear that he was looking forward to it, as it meant that he’d once again live “in his own country.”

    A very different way of thinking to me, and a caution that our national policy ought not be predicated on the idea that the rest of the world thinks like us. It is not certain that the collapse of the Chinese economy from a lack of trade would dissuade some there from war.


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