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China's Civilian Army

China's Civilian Army

2021 . History, Asia, Political Science, International Relations, World . Peter Martin

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China's Civilian Army
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About the book


The untold story of China's rise as a global superpower, chronicled through the diplomatic shock troops that connect Beijing to the world. China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest geopolitical drama of the last half century. In the early days of the People's Republic, diplomats were highly-disciplined, committed communists who feared revealing any weakness to the threatening capitalist world. Remarkably, the model that revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai established continues to this day despite the massive changes the country has undergone in recent decades. Little is known or understood about the inner workings of the Chinese government as the country bursts onto the world stage, as the world's second largest economy and an emerging military superpower. China's Diplomats embody its battle between insecurity and self-confidence, internally and externally. To this day, Chinese diplomats work in pairs so that one can always watch the other for signs of ideological impurity. They're often dubbed China's wolf warriors for their combative approach to asserting Chinese interests. Drawing for the first time on the memoirs of more than a hundred retired diplomats as well as author Peter Martin's first-hand reporting as a journalist in Beijing, this groundbreaking book blends history with current events to tease out enduring lessons about the kind of power China is set to become. It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand China's quest for global power, as seen from the inside.






Oxford University Press




0197513700 (ISBN13: 9780197513705)

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Los Angeles Review of Books image

7 months ago


Diplomatic Epithets: On Peter Martin’s “China’s Civilian Army” China’s Civilian Army is largely sympathetic to the plight of PRC diplomats, leaving the reader with the sense that they are unwilling wolf warriors, forced to debase their craft in order to cater to a domestic audience of party leaders and patriotic netizens. Though Martin stops short of making explicit policy recommendations, this portrait of shackled diplomats who must perform political theater rather than negotiate in good faith offers some promising cues for policymakers in Washington. It suggests that if Xi Jinping’s centralization of political power continues then China’s representatives on the world stage will be increasingly constrained by their need to demonstrate loyalty. There will be opportunities to out-maneuver and out-charm Chinese counterparts, even as the PRC’s economic and military power continues to grow. Journalists, scholars, and policymakers should all approach the topic of wolf warrior diplomacy in these concrete terms, seeking its roots in China’s historical experience and its indications of the political headwinds coming out of Beijing. About the author: Anatol Klass is a doctoral candidate in History at UC Berkeley. He studies the intellectual and bureaucratic origins of contemporary Chinese diplomacy.

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