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Fortifying China

Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy

Tai Ming Cheung
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Fortifying China
    Book Description:

    Fortifying China explores the titanic struggle to turn China into an aspiring world-class military technological power. The defense economy is leveraging the country's vibrant civilian economy and gaining access to foreign sources of technology and know-how. Drawing on extensive Chinese-language sources, Tai Ming Cheung explains that this transformation has two key dimensions. The defense economy is being reengineered to break down bureaucratic barriers and reduce the role of the state, fostering a more competitive and entrepreneurial culture to facilitate the rapid diffusion and absorption of technology and knowledge. At the same time, the civilian and defense economies are being integrated to form a dual-use technological and industrial base.

    In Cheung's view, the Chinese authorities believe this strategy will play a key role in supporting long-term defense modernization. For China's neighbors and the United States, understanding China's technological, industrial, and military capabilities is critical to the formulation of economic and security policies. Fortifying China provides crucial insight into the impact of China's dual-use technology strategy. Cheung's "systems of innovation" framework considers the structure, dynamics, and performance of the defense economy from a systems-level perspective.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6850-6
    Subjects: Technology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
  5. [1] Bridging the Civil-Military Technological Divide in the Information Age
    (pp. 1-21)

    Innovation, Chinaʹs leaders assert, is the soul of a nationʹs progress and the guarantee of its national security.¹ But for many years this vital source of creativity and competitiveness was lacking on the factory floors and research laboratories of the countryʹs sprawling defense economy. Decades of stultifying central planning, bureaucratic compartmentalization, political upheavals, and isolation from the outside world produced a sterile system that held back initiative, new thinking, and risk taking. Stagnation and backwardness took root instead, and the defense economy became a burden to the building of the countryʹs military power. There was little urgency in seriously addressing...

  6. [2] Innovation and Stagnation during the Maoist Era
    (pp. 22-51)

    When Mao Zedong and his Communist fighters emerged as the newly victorious rulers of China in 1949, they inherited a country ruined by civil war and foreign invasion. They had little time to savor victory. The new leadership had to embark immediately on the pressing tasks of nation building, economic development, and military modernization. The possession of a credible defense capability was especially urgent because the fledging regime faced major threats to its national security.

    As a latecomer to economic modernization and defense industrialization, China lagged far behind the worldʹs leading powers in the research, development, and production of military...

  7. [3] The Eclipse of the Defense Economy under Deng Xiaoping
    (pp. 52-100)

    The rise to power of Deng Xiaoping heralded a new dawn for China, the defense economy, and the defense technological innovation system. Domestic political turmoil and international isolation brought about by cold war hostilities throughout the 1960s and 1970s had plunged the country into economic, technological, and intellectual stagnation. Deng sought to reverse this through a strategy of demilitarization, liberalization, and opening up of Chinaʹs economy to market forces through closer integration with the international economy. In this new climate, the defense economy quickly lost its privileged status and priority access to national resources and underwent significant downsizing and reform....

  8. [4] The Revival of the Defense Economy in the Twenty-first Century
    (pp. 101-175)

    The Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s, an ill-conceived attempt to catch up with the West, failed because of a combination of technological backwardness, organizational impediments, and leadership hubris. Half a century later, the country is trying once more to leapfrog its way to the front ranks of the industrialized world by taking advantage of the opportunities generated by its remarkable economic growth and its access to foreign technologies and knowledge.

    A central issue is whether China has finally learned how to catch up technologically. One of the key institutions in this quest for accelerated technological development is the...

  9. [5] Building a Dual-Use Economy
    (pp. 176-234)

    As reform and growth transformed Chinaʹs economic and technological landscape in the 1990s, the relationship between the defense and civilian technological and industrial bases also underwent major realignment. In the first half of the decade, the overwhelming focus remained on military-to-civilian conversion, but this gradually gave way to a two-way flow of knowledge and products that would advance both the development of the civilian economy and defense modernization. Attention and debate among defense decision makers turned to the building of a dual-use economy.

    Moreover, as the technological prowess of the civilian economy began to catch up with, and in many...

  10. [6] Can the Chinese Defense Economy Catch Up?
    (pp. 235-262)

    After decades in the doldrums, the Chinese defense economy is on the rebound. Years of painful restructuring, intensive state investment, infusions of Russian know-how and arms, and renewed leadership support for a robust homegrown defense technology and industrial base have contributed to the development of an expanding arsenal of modern weapons, advanced technology, and an influx of new scientific talent. Some of the accomplishments represent major technological breakthroughs that could allow China, within the next two decades, to begin to challenge the military preponderance enjoyed by the United States from the high seas to outer space.

    A vivid demonstration of...

  11. Chinese Terms
    (pp. 263-264)
  12. Historical Official Exchange Rates between the Renminbi and U.S. Dollar, 1955–2008
    (pp. 265-266)
  13. Select Chinese-Language Bibliography
    (pp. 267-272)
  14. Index
    (pp. 273-280)