The Reform of The People’s Liberation Army

Charles F. Bingman

Abstract


The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) holds a special place of honor in China as its liberator, its protector, the stalwart defender of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the guardian of the Revolution.  Despite this honored position, the PLA has suffered an extraordinarily rocky history of alternating support and neglect, and has spent the last 20 years attempting to recoup its position from the mistakes of it’s past.  It was both neglected and ill-used for 20 years by the Maoist regime.  It’s strategies were muddled, its equipment obsolete, its funding was uncertain, its officer corps is underpaid and under trained, and its troops are a non-professional transient population.  In the 80s it was authorized to create or acquire state owned enterprises (SOEs) and other businesses in the hope that it could largely finance itself and save the political leadership from the necessity of raising more taxes.  This policy was a disaster for both the PLA and the Chinese economy from which both are still laboriously recovering.


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