From: tomdill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (TOM DILLINGHAM)
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 15:37:15 -0500
From: SCRUGGS 12-MAY-1999 13:05:47.51
To: the usual suspects -- bertrice bartlett <bartlett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, john bennett <jbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, john blakemore <johnb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, larry brown <lbrown@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, margaret campbell <mcampbell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, j
Subj: a very important article
this is by the best hk reporter on prc matters.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 12-MAY-1999 10:46:25.17
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Hong Kong's Future
Wednesday May 12 1999
Willy Wo-lap Lam=20
Nato's war speeds PLA's pace of change=20
The Kosovo conflict is having a momentous impact on the People's
Liberation Army's modernisation programme. Even before the bombing of
the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the bombardment of Yugoslavia had
been analysed in detail on thousands of computer screens in PLA
command centres and think-tanks.
PLA watchers believe the Balkan war, already deemed by the official
media as a "paradigm of hi-tech conflagrations in the 21st century",
will spark major changes in three areas of strategic thinking.
First, unprecedented resources will be devoted to preparations for
what Army strategists call possible "hi-tech, information-based
The successful use of cruise missiles and stealth bombers in the Gulf
War in 1991 led to a series of emergency study sessions in the PLA,
the goal of which was to catch up with the Americans in two decades or
The even more sophisticated weapons deployed in the Yugoslavian
theatre have further convinced the Central Military Commission (CMC)
of the urgency of closing the widening technology gap by earmarking
more funds and talent for research and development.
While blasting the so-called "barbaric" act against the embassy,
Chinese scholars have marvelled at the fact that there had only been
eight or nine mistakes out of the 9,000 sorties involving missiles and
As President Jiang Zemin put it last month: "It will be very difficult
for a country that has backward equipment and technology to seize the
initiative in future warfare".
While social scientists are talking about developing China's
information economy, PLA strategists are concentrating on "information
As theorist Hao Xiaoguang wrote in the Liberation Army Daily last
week, the battles of future wars will be fought on "computer screens",
and "there are brand-new characteristics and challenges for this kind
Information warfare does not only mean using computers to test-fire
bombs and simulate battles; it also consists of hacking, electronic
jamming and disinformation campaigns to wreak havoc on opponents'
The second conceptual change induced by the Kosovo experience is a
revision of the notion of fighting what PLA thinkers call "regional,
relatively circumscribed wars".
Since 1949, the PLA has seen action in nearby, relatively small
theatres, such as the border conflicts with India in 1962 and Vietnam
in 1979. The end of the Cold War reinforced the generals' belief that
China would not be engulfed in conflicts too far from home.
Up until Yugoslavia, the "regional wars" army strategists had
simulated on their computers pertained to flashpoints in Asia such as
the Taiwan Strait and the oil-rich Spratly Islands.
The development of precision cruise missiles, coupled with US
President Bill Clinton's idea that "humanitarianism is more important
than national sovereignty", however, has forced PLA think-tanks to
cast their gaze elsewhere.
Should the generals' worst nightmare come to pass - and Taiwan or
Tibet become an Asian Kosovo - the army must defend China from smart
bombs from different parts of the world. And in retaliation, the
Chinese air and missile forces must improve their capacity to strike
far and wide.
A Western military analyst said that in the post-Kosovo era, the PLA
would put more stress on developing missiles and anti-missile systems.
"One PLA priority will be to develop weapons than can knock out
aircraft carriers or submarines, which will be the launching pads for
missiles destined for China," he said.
Kosovo's third impact on Army thinking is more stress being given to
what insiders call "Mao-style People's War in the new era".
According to PLA theorist Guo Anhua, one reason why the Yugoslavs
could withstand Nato assault for so long is the unity and high morale
of the people. "We must develop people's warfare under hi-tech
conditions," said Mr Guo. Referring to the Balkans, he said an
effective kind of guerilla warfare against the Nato air force could
negate Brussels' claim that week-after-week of relentless bombing
could bring Belgrade to its knees.
From the perspective of Mr Jiang, who is also the CMC chairman, the
people's-war concept meshes with his insistence on boosting loyalty
and ideological purity among the ranks. After all, Mao-style people's
warfare was predicated upon indoctrination, which in Mr Jiang's day
centres on "rallying around the party centre with Comrade Zemin as its
Much as the generals have inveighed against the reappearance of
gunboat diplomacy, they could turn out to be the biggest beneficiary
of Kosovo. After all, most of the lessons that Chinese strategists
have drawn from the Balkan conflict boils down to one thing: speeding
up PLA modernisation. And this means the generals will be getting not
only a bigger budget but a bigger say in diplomacy and even domestic
After the embassy fiasco, the PLA and the paramilitary People's Armed
Police were among the first organisations to hold meetings to support
Beijing's tough line against the "neo-imperialists".
PLA generals including Chief of Staff Fu Quanyou and his deputy Xiong
Guangkai have been most vociferous in demanding that the "hegemonists"
Unnamed generals have asked the party leadership to take both
diplomatic and quasi-military means to forestall the global dominance
of Nato - and the possibility of Nato targeting China through
concocting an "Asian Kosovo". For example, quite a few officers, who
were trained in the former Soviet Union, are urging a quasi-military
alliance with Russia.
Domestically, PLA officers are gunning for a greater share of the
economic pie, including the hi-tech resources of civilian departments
As the Liberation Army Daily put it in a commentary last week, "We
must be expert in using the resources of society in raising the
science and technology level of soldiers."
Back To Top
It will be very difficult for a country that has backward equipment
and technology to seize the initiative in future warfare
Beijing seeks US concessions
Beijing urges WTO talks continue
Beijing orders cooling of protests
PLA linked to Pearl hospital system venture
Hawks' gathering urges steps to guard against 'unholy alliances'
The laws of military might
Officers told to steel themselves as rust-belt lay-offs hit morale
Mainland set for US standard
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Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 13:05:37 +0000
From: Donald Scruggs <SCRUGGS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: the usual suspects -- bertrice bartlett <bartlett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
john bennett <jbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
john blakemore <johnb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
larry brown <lbrown@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
margaret campbell <mcampbell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
julie chatman <jchatman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
bill clary <keclary@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
thomas dillingham <tomdill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
gayle elliott <gelliott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
bill fisch <fisch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, nancy lane fleming <NLanming@xxxxxxx>,
anne forgy <aforgy@xxxxxxx>, don gibson <dsmaybjj@xxxxxxx>,
al hahn <hahn@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, jackie hinshaw <jhinshaw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
sherry hunter <huntermoore@xxxxxxxxxxx>,
kevin scruggs <shi_kaiwen@xxxxxxxxxxx>,
marie scruggs <mscruggs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, billie martin <corr1@xxxxxxx>,
diana mingauw-johnson <dijohnson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
marguerite mitchel <mmitchel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
julie murphy <juliem@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
nina & bob seaman <NBSEAMAN@xxxxxxx>,
evette nissen <enissen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
tina parke-sutherland <tinaps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
joan rines <joanr@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
donald scruggs <scruggs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
david margo lydia & kate <margonova@xxxxxxx>,
mary segers <msegers88@xxxxxxxxxxx>, jim shields <ShieldsJC@xxxxxxx>,
silissa smith <naral@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
mary thornberry <mathornberry@xxxxxxxxxxxx>,
bill&joanna brown-todd <mrbill99@xxxxxxxx>,
andrew twaddle <ansar@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, dick wells <rwells@xxxxxx>
Subject: a very important article
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