Zhang Min, Chinese Are Not Afraid: New Threats to Chinese Defense Security and China's Response Strategies, People's Publishing House, November 2013
Senior Chinese military officers are speaking much more loudly than before. Unlike the diplomats who keep making relatively moderate remarks, such as "cooperation" and "reciprocal relationship," some hawkish military officers demonstrate another aspect of China's vision toward the rest of the world.
Their remarks and opinions are invigorating for many ordinary Chinese who have been told for generations by analysts that China needs to lie low and focus on its own development. Along with the country's exponentially growing economic strength, assertive voices from Chinese commentators are on the rise.
Written by Zhang Min, a major general of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and former director of the Department of Operational and Tactical Research, PLA Academy of Military Science, the book Chinese Are Not Afraid: New Threats to Chinese Defense Security and China's Response Strategies, follows the new trend.
The book is popular reading rather than an academic piece. But unlike many shoddily organized and sloganeering books, this one has its own logic, sound and pretty convincing.
The author focuses on China's long-haunting "fear" of confronting major powers, especially the US, in the political and military spheres.
The most valuable part of this book is its extensive research and analysis of Chinese history for over a century in fighting invasion and hegemony, trying to prove that China has long injected the courage to get rid of the "fear" in its veins.
But the author thinks that China might have enjoyed peace for such a long time that it has relaxed vigilance against potential dangers.
"Keeping alert of the danger of war is of vital importance to China." The book said, "It determines whether China can survive or not." Crisis awareness, which Zhang sees as a psychological support for the long dominance of the US, is applicable to China as well.
Most of the content of this book is focused on wide-ranging coverage of Sino-US relations. The table of contents can show readers that the book might have widened its attention too much, trying to render a comprehensive analysis of the bilateral relationship.
Its writing style is fixated on rebutting various ideologies and strategies that the US is advocating and using, such as the "China threat," "pivot" to Asia and "containing" China.
The over-broad coverage makes the book accessible, but prevents in-depth discussions. But this text seems targeted at public opinion more than scholarly evaluation.
Although not an academic book, this book is still worth reading, especially for those who want to learn how China's hawks think.