II. National Defense Policy
The Chinese government firmly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) clearly specifies the tasks of the armed forces of the PRC as being to consolidate national defense, resist aggression, defend the motherland, safeguard the people's peaceful labor, participate in national construction and strive to serve the people. China's state interests, social system, foreign policy and historical and cultural traditions postulate that China will inevitably adopt such a national defense policy.
China has always attached primary importance to safeguarding the state's sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security. Following the Opium War in 1840, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, and the Chinese nation was subject to the imperialist powers' invasion, oppression, bullying and humiliation time and time again. After a protracted, persistent and heroic struggle, the Chinese people won the independence for their country and the emancipation of the nation; therefore they hold dear their hard-earned right to independence. Defending the motherland, resisting aggression, safeguarding unity and opposing split are the starting point and underpinning of China's defense policy.
China being at the primary stage of socialism, the fundamental task of the state is to concentrate its strength on the socialist modernization program. The situation in which China has a large population, a poor foundation, uneven regional development and underdeveloped productive forces will continue for a comparatively long period of time to come. China is now confronted with the extremely heavy task of economic construction, so the work in defense must be subordinate to and in the service of the nation's overall economic construction. The social system, development strategy and way of life that China has chosen conform to the actual conditions of the country, and no factors prompting invasion of another country can emerge.
The development of China requires an environment of long-term international peace, especially a favorable peripheral environment. China unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, advocates handling international affairs in light of the fundamental interests of the Chinese and other people of the world, and refrains from forming alliances with any big power or any group of countries. China holds that conflicts and disputes among countries should be solved in a peaceful way through consultation, and opposes the threat or use of force, hegemonism and power politics. China advocates establishing a new fair and rational international political and economic order, and developing relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China will always be an important force defending world peace and regional stability. Even when China becomes strong and powerful in the future, it will by no means take to the road of foreign aggression and expansion.
The defensive nature of China's national defense policy also springs from the country's historical and cultural traditions. China is a country with 5,000 years of civilization, and a peace-loving tradition. Ancient Chinese thinkers advocated ``associating with benevolent gentlemen and befriending good neighbors,'' which shows that throughout history the Chinese people have longed for peace in the world and for relations of friendship with the people of other countries. In military affairs, this maxim means solving disputes by non-military means, being wary of war and strategically gaining mastery by striking only after the enemy has struck. During the course of several thousand years, loving peace, stressing defense, seeking unification, promoting national unity, and jointly resisting foreign aggression have always been the main ideas of China's defense concept. The defense policy of New China has carried forward and developed such excellent Chinese historical and cultural traditions.
China's defense policy has mainly the following aspects:
-- Consolidating national defense, resisting aggression, curbing armed subversion, and defending the state's sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security. These are the basic objectives of China's defense policy, as well as the main tasks the Chinese Constitution has entrusted to China's armed forces. China spares no effort to avoid and curb war, and to solve international disputes and questions left over by history through peaceful means. However, as long as hegemonism and power politics still exist, a country must have the capability to defend its sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security by military means. The modernization program of China's national defense work is entirely for self-defense, and arises from the need to safeguard the country's modernization drive and security. The size of China's armed forces is suited to the needs of defending the country's security and interests. China builds and consolidates its national defense independently and through self-reliance.
-- Subordinating national defense work to, and placing it in the service of, the nation's overall economic construction, and achieving the coordinated development of these two kinds of work. This is China's long-term basic policy for its work in defense. The modernization of the national defense of a country requires the support of its economic and technological forces; and the modernization level of national defense can only be improved gradually along with the increase of the country's economic strength. The Chinese government insists that economic construction be taken as the center, that defense work be subordinate to and in the service of the nation's overall economic construction and that the armed forces actively participate in and support the nation's economic construction. While concentrating its efforts on economic construction, the state also endeavors to improve its national defense work and to promote a coordinated development of the two.
-- Implementing the military strategy of active defense. Strategically China pursues the defensive policy featuring self-defense and gaining mastery by striking only after the enemy has struck, and adheres to the principle: ``We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we will certainly counter-attack.'' China possesses a small number of nuclear weapons, entirely for meeting the needs of self-defense. China upholds the principle of self-defense by the whole people and the strategic concept of people's war, and works hard to enhance the defense consciousness of the whole people, perfect the defense mobilization system and intensify the building of the reserve force for defense. On the basis of its existing weaponry, China carries forward and develops its fine traditions. It seeks to adapt to profound changes in the world's military sphere, and makes proper preparations for defensive combat in the situation where modern technology, especially high technology, prevails.
-- Streamlining the army the Chinese way. During the new historical period, the Chinese army is working hard to improve its quality and endeavoring to streamline the army the Chinese way, aiming to form a revolutionized, modernized and regularized people's army with Chinese characteristics. Reducing quantity and improving quality is a basic principle upon which the army is to be modernized. The Chinese army strengthens itself by relying on science and technology, and strives to make the transition from a numerically superior type to a qualitatively efficient type, and from a manpower-intensive type to a technology-intensive type. In view of the characteristics of modern wars, no effort will be spared to improve the modernization level of weaponry, reform and perfect the army system and setup, and improve the training of troops and curricula and teaching methods of military academies.
-- Safeguarding world peace, and opposing aggression and expansion. China upholds the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and handles foreign military relations and engages in military exchanges and cooperation independently. China does not seek hegemonism, nor does it seek military blocs or military expansion. China does not station any troops or set up any military bases in any foreign country. China opposes the arms race, and maintains that effective arms control and disarmament should be carried out in accordance with the principles of fairness, rationality, comprehensiveness and balance. China supports the international community in its activities to promote world and regional peace, security and stability, and also in its efforts to fairly and rationally solve international disputes and to bring about arms control and disarmament. กก