Evolution in the Civil-Military Relationship in the People's Republic of China and the Potential Impact on the Recent Endeavor to Professionalize the People's Liberation Army
Jones, Randall D.
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In this thesis, I analyze how civil-military relations in the PRC have evolved during previous efforts to professionalize the military and examine the implications on contemporary analysis of civil-military relations. Current approaches to understanding civil-military relations in the PRC have focused on the professionalization of the military. However, lessons learned from similar episodes of professionalization in the PLAs past have not been fully incorporated into the current analyses. I develop two case studies chosen at times when there was a prominent shift in the relationship between the CCP and PLA that negatively affected the push toward increased professionalization of the military. The first case study traces the growth and reversal to professionalization in the late 1950s while the second case study follows the professionalization trend through the 1980s and its dramatic reversal in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. By comparing the key linkages between the CCP and PLA that allowed for the previous reversals of professionalization in the military, I highlight the consistencies among the different episodes in the PRC's civil-military history. Lastly, I expand on the implication of these findings on contemporary civil-military relations and its potential impact on current professionalization of the PLA.
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