Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy since 1949

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  • January 2020
    Book Review

    The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken its most elaborate reforms since the past 30 years under President Xi Jinping. The current PLA restructuring since 2016 aligns with China’s broader regional and global interests. President Xi has set 2020 as the deadline for the PLA to achieve mechanization, 2035 for informatisation and 2049 to make the PLA into a world-class army. Just a year before PLA’s first deadline, M. Taylor Fravel’s book Active Defense is a timely intervention to understand China’s changing military approaches and strategies. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had declassified its historic party documents from 2004–2012. Fravel makes the most of these declassified documents for narrating an empirical account of the changes in China’s military strategies since 1949.