The China Policy Institute is pleased to announce a seminar by Samantha Hoffman and Peter Mattis entitled From the Barrel of a Gun: Politics, Power, and the Chinese Army.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party, not the army of the People’s Republic. Everything from national strategy to managing unrest to leadership succession relies on how the PLA and party interact.
Regardless whether one believes party politics are personal or institutional, this places the PLA squarely at the center of Chinese politics. Mao Zedong once cautioned against misunderstanding the PLA as just a war-fighting force, and the PLA’s missions and policy roles should disabuse contemporary observers from the same mistake. The tumult of today’s domestic Chinese politics and the stakes created by China’s international assertiveness invite a reappraisal of the party-army relationship. Even if the answers cannot be definitive, opening the door to questions on this relationship encourages a different perspective on the PLA, the party, and China’s future.
Samantha Hoffman is an independent China analyst and research consultant, including for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and IHS-Markit. She is a final year PhD Candidate at University of Nottingham, where her research focuses on China social management and state security policy. Her writing has appeared in: Forbes, China File, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, China Brief, Jane’s Intelligence Review, The Straits Times, The South China Morning Post and The Business Spectator. She holds an MSc in Modern Chinese Studies from St Antony’s College Oxford, and a BA in International Affairs and a BA in Chinese Language and Culture from Florida State University.
Peter Mattis is a Fellow in The Jamestown Foundation’s China Program. He previously served as editor of the foundation’s China Brief, a biweekly electronic journal on greater China, from 2011 to 2013. Prior to joining Jamestown, Mr Mattis worked as an international affairs analyst for the U.S. Government and as a research associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research. His writing has appeared in Studies in Intelligence, the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, The National Interest, Jane’s Intelligence Review, and China Brief among many others. He also is the author of Analyzing the Chinese Military: A Review Essay and Resource Guide on the People’s Liberation Army (2015).
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