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June 4, 2004 - "China's Military and Security": Lecture III of the Policymakers Seminar Series

On 4 June, Dr. Michael Swaine, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, spoke to the 2004 Policymakers Seminar participants about recent trends in China’s military and security policies. Dr. Swaine focused on the period beginning with Deng’s economic reforms in the late 1970s and tried to give his audience an understanding of how China’s security environment relates to its military and diplomatic policies. Following is a summary of the main points raised during his lecture.

According to Dr. Swaine, there are four main priorities that most influence Chinese security decisions. First and foremost, China’s priority is to defend the current regime from both domestic and foreign threats. Second, because China’s current leaders base their legitimacy almost entirely on their ability to create constant economic growth and development, it is absolutely vital that they maintain domestic order. Third, Beijing must protect the integrity and sovereignty of the Chinese nation. Chinese nationalism and national consciousness were conceived during the age of imperialism when China was victimized by foreign powers. As a result, China’s rulers cannot afford to appear weak in the face of threats to their perceived sovereignty, including the Taiwan issue, or popular nationalism could explode and threaten the regime itself. Finally, Chinese security policy is designed to achieve Great Power status, both in Asia and beyond.

Entire Summary of Dr. Swaine's Lecture

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