James Mulvenon

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Military Affairs

The Only Honest Man?—General Liu Yuan Calls Out PLA Corruption

by James Mulvenon, Leigh Ann Raglandvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

On 18 January 2012, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Gu Junshan was arrested on charges of profiting from the illegal sale of military property. Analysts buzzed that the combination of General Liu’s high princeling status, his pending elevation to the Central Military Commission, and the support of heir apparent Xi Jinping may make this anti-corruption effort different and more effective than those in the past. This article examines the issue of PLA corruption, reviews recent cases, and assesses the likely success of General Liu’s efforts.

Military Affairs

Liu Yuan: Archetype of a “Xi Jinping Man” in the PLA?

by James Mulvenon, Leigh Ann Raglandvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 6, 2012

Liu Yuan and Xi Jinping clearly share a great deal in common. Both were born to senior CCP cadres, and are members of the elite “princelings” cohort. Yet both men’s fathers were subjected to purge and mistreatment during the late Mao era, and both families suffered grievously. Despite these dark memories, both went on to achieve rapid growth in their official careers, and both have been outspoken in their extolling of the early years of the CCP revolution. As Xi prepares to ascend to the highest positions in the political system at the 18th Party Congress, this article endeavors to profile Liu Yuan, identify his possible ideological and bureaucratic intersections with Xi Jinping, and assess the implications for PLA promotions and party-military relations in the Xi era.

Military Affairs

Give Us Another Chance? China and the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Between 3 and 5 June 2011, the national security officials of 28 Asia-Pacific nations gathered in Singapore for the annual Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. After a rough year, marked by clashes with regional neighbors and an unprecedented rebuke at the ASEAN Regional Forum, Beijing saw this year’s meeting as an opportunity to repair damage and restore strategic momentum, and therefore sent its highest-ranking delegation in 10 years of meetings. This article examines Chinese strategic communications in the runup to the Dialogue, analyzes the content of General Liang’s keynote speech and his meetings with foreign counterparts, and assesses the implications for Chinese relations with the United States and the remainder of the region.

Military Affairs

Xi Jinping and the Central Military Commission: Bridesmaid or Bride?

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the runup to the 18th Party Congress, speculation has been rife about the promotion schedule for purported heir apparent Xi Jinping. After he was not promoted to the vice-chairmanship of the Central Military Commission (CMC) at the Fourth Plenum of the 17th Party Congress in fall 2009, some analysts opined that Xi’s ascension was in jeopardy, since it was not following the exact pattern of his predecessor. But Xi’s appointment to the post at the Fifth Plenum has refocused attention on Hu Jintao’s intentions to give up the CMC chairmanship at the 18th Congress. This article examines Xi Jinping’s leadership run, and assesses the implications of the current situation for party-military relations.

Military Affairs

Party-Military Coordination of the Yushu Earthquake Response

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

On 14 April 2010, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s southern Qinghai Province. The quake killed over 2,000 people and destroyed most of the buildings in the area. As in other recent Chinese natural disasters, such as the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was mobilized to lead rescue and recovery operations. This article examines the organization of the response effort, and assesses its implications for party-military relations.

Military Affairs

2010 National People’s Congress Highlights: Defense Budgets and the New National Defense Mobilization Law

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The annual National People’s Congress meetings offer a useful snapshot of party-military relations for outside observers. Senior civilian and military speeches summarize the current policy “lines” in defense affairs, PLA delegates discuss issues of concern among the rank and file, the defense budget figures are announced, and laws and regulations that might affect the party-military relationship are openly debated and voted upon. This article identifies the highlights from the 2010 NPC, and assesses their implications.

Military Affairs

Evidence of Learning? Chinese Strategic Messaging Following the Missile Defense Intercept Test

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, February 15, 2010

China’s 11 January 2010 test of a missile defense system offers important examples of improved strategic communications, particularly when compared with the 2007 ASAT test. The Beijing government clearly had a strategic communications plan in place and issued immediate announcements, following them with a series of official and unofficial commentaries on the subject. This article explores the scope and scale of the strategic communications plan, with the goals of divining the government’s intentions for the test as well as the accompanying perception-management campaign.

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Military Affairs)

The Best Laid Plans: Xi Jinping and the CMC Vice-Chairmanship that Didn't Happen

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Contrary to the expectations of the China-watching community, Politburo Standing Committee member and presumed heir-apparent Xi Jinping was not promoted to be vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission at the Fourth Plenum in September 2009.  This outcome deals a blow to the prevailing theory of leadership succession, which predicted that Xi would follow the pattern of promotion of Hu Jintao before the 16th Party Congress en route to assuming the trifecta of state, party, and military leadership positions at the 18th Party Congress in 2012.  This article re-examines the assumptions of the promotion forecasts, analyzes the possible reasons for Xi's failure to be promoted, and offers alternative scenarios.

Military Affairs

The Only Constant is Change: Analysis of Recent Military Promotions

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Hong Kong press in mid-July highlighted recent shuffles in the senior Chinese military leadership involving top positions in all four General Departments. This article identifies those changes and offers biographies of the newly promoted officers, while also making a preliminary analysis of their promotions.

Military Affairs

Hu Jintao and the “Core Values of Military Personnel”

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

In late 2008, CMC Chairman Hu Jintao introduced the concept of “the core values of military personnel,” extending his previous concept of the “socialist core values system” to the People’s Liberation Army. The resulting political campaign centered on the implementation of a 20-character phrase: “being loyal to the party, deeply cherishing the people, serving the country, showing devotion to missions, and upholding honor.” This article examines the origins, content, and dissemination of this political campaign, assessing its implications for party-army relations.

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