Feb. 4, 2019
Introduction: Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA
Integral to Xi Jinping’s vision of restoring China to greatness—what he defines as the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” [zhonghua minzu weida fuxing, 中华民族伟大复兴]—is building a more modern, capable, and disciplined military. China’s economic development, territorial integrity, and even the survival of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) itself cannot be guaranteed without an army that can fight and prevail in modern warfare. Articulating the need for a stronger military, Xi and his colleagues have reflected on periods of Chinese weakness, such as the era of imperial decline in the late 19th century and the Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s. In Xi’s words, a “nation’s backwardness in military affairs has a profound influence on a nation’s security. I often peruse the annals of modern Chinese history and feel heartbroken at the tragic scenes of us being beaten because of our ineptitude.” Such humiliations, in his view, should never be repeated.