The turn of the century has opened a new chapter in the development of human society.

When we look back on the twentieth century we notice that mankind created enormous material and spiritual wealth never seen before. We also experienced two world wars, hundreds of local wars and the Cold War that lasted for nearly half a century, suffering tremendously from the scourge of wars or the menace of wars. The Chinese nation has gone through many hardships. The Chinese people have fought bravely for their national independence, liberation, democracy and freedom. They have finally brought the country onto the road toward modernization. The Chinese people know full well the value of peace.

Humanity is facing a rare chance for development as well as tough challenges in the new century. To safeguard world peace and promote the development of all are the themes of the times and the common aspirations of people all over the world. China is engaged wholeheartedly in its modernization drive. A peaceful international environment and a favorable surrounding environment serve China's fundamental interests. China steadfastly follows an independent foreign policy of peace and is committed to a new world of peace, stability, prosperity and development. China firmly pursues a defensive national defense policy and is determined to safeguard its state sovereignty, national unity, territorial integrity and security. The Chinese people are ready to work together with other peace-loving people of the world and contribute their wisdom and strength to world peace and development, and a more beautiful future for mankind.

At this important point in history - the turn of the century - we publish this white paper, China's National Defense in 2000, to express the Chinese people's sincere aspirations for peace and to help the rest of the world better understand China's national defense policy and its efforts for the modernization of its national defense.