New Developments in Chinese Strategic Psychological Warfare by fgl12588


									    New Developments in Chinese Strategic
    Psychological Warfare
    by Timothy L. Thomas

                                                   Forces Command Academy, which indi-

           hinese military analysts have metic-
           ulously studied the use of armed        cates that the academy has an active and
           force during the 1991 Gulf War and      influential psychological-warfare depart-
    during the fight for Kosovo. They have         ment. In fact, judging by their tone, some of
    noted with great interest the integration of   the articles could have been lifted directly
    military strikes and psychological-warfare     from lectures presented during the acade-
    activities, and the increased strategic role   my’s psychological-warfare courses.
    that the mass media played during both            The authors of the six articles suggest
    operations.1                                   that at the strategic level, China’s psycho-
       To highlight the apparent shifting          logical-warfare operations will be charac-
    emphasis toward psychological warfare for      terized by coercion, which will take the
    officers of the People’s Liberation Army, or   form of intimidation achieved through
    PLA, the prominent Chinese military jour-      demonstrations and shows of force. (Their
    nal China Military Science has published       suggestion supports a recent Pentagon
    six articles on psychological warfare dur-     finding that viewed Chinese coercion as
    ing the last two years:2 “On PSYWAR in         the greatest threat to Taiwan.)
    Recent High-Tech Local Wars,” by Wang             At the tactical level, the articles suggest
    Zhenxing and Yang Suping; “The Doctrine        that the Chinese are interested in offset-
    of Psychological Operations in Ancient         ting their current deficiencies by procuring
    China,” by Wu Juncang and Zhang                advanced psychological-warfare equipment
    Qiancheng; “Focus on Psychological War         and by developing advanced deployment
    Against the Background of Grand Strate-        techniques. The advanced equipment
    gy,” and “Psychological Operations in the      would include unmanned aerial vehicles,
    Context of Grand Strategy,” both written       or UAVs, fitted with loudspeakers and
    by Xu Hezhen; “Comparison of Psychologi-       capable of distributing “talking leaflets.”
    cal Warfare between China and the West,”          The articles also underscore the differ-
    by Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan         ences in the cultural and subjective-cogni-
    Jianhong; and “On Defense in Modern Psy-       tion patterns of Oriental and Western
    chological Warfare,” by Li Yuankui, Wang       minds. Those differences lead the Chinese
    Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli.                      to apply the principles of psychological
       With the exception of Wu Juncang,           warfare differently from the West. If the
    Zhang Qiancheng, Wang Lianshui, Ma             U.S. is to see “eye to eye” with the Chinese
    Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong, the authors        and truly understand their psychological-
    of the six articles are identified as being    warfare methodology, it is vital that we
    instructors at the Shijiazhuang Ground         comprehend those differences. Finally, the

2                                                                              Special Warfare
articles provide recommendations about          warfare, was not the only influence on the
the PLA’s future psychological-warfare          theory of psychological operations in
requirements. From the discussion in all        ancient China. Other influences were mili-
six articles, it is clear that China is work-   tary studies; Confucianism, which stressed
ing hard to develop its psychological-war-      the idea of “just wars”; and the study of the
fare capabilities for peacetime and             I Ching (Book of Changes), which stressed
wartime uses.                                   the idea of yin and yang (hardness and
                                                softness) being coupled to each other and
History of Chinese PSYOP                        thereby changing each other. The I Ching
   In “The Doctrine of Psychological Opera-     formed an important theoretical founda-
tions in Ancient China,” Wu Juncang and         tion of psychological-operations doctrine in
Zhang Qiancheng note that China’s history       ancient China5 that continues to influence
of psychological operations goes back more      subjective cognition patterns in China
than 4,000 years. The authors point out         today.
that during the period 2100-256 B.C., psy-         According to Wu and Zhang, the Qin
chological operations were part of such his-    (221-206 B.C.) and Han (206 B.C.-8 A.D.
torical events as the Zhuolu War (Zhuolu is     and 25-220 A.D.) periods of Chinese histo-
a county in Hebei Province), during which       ry witnessed other types of psychological
“victory could not be achieved with             operations. The Qin period used the diplo-
weapons”; the Tang Oath, under which            matic psychological-operations strategy of
Chinese swore to do everything possible to      maintaining friendly relations with distant
spread propaganda; and the Mu Oath,             enemies while attacking the enemy nearby.
which prohibited the killing of enemy sol-      The Han dynasty integrated the political,
diers who surrendered or who were taken         economic and military aspects of psycho-
as prisoners of war — a psychological oper-     logical operations, raising it to a new level.
ation for that time period. Schemes for            The authors note the Three Kingdoms
sowing deception and creating false             (220-280 A.D.) and the Two Jins (263-420
impressions and expectations represented        A.D.) for the diversity of their psychologi-
the acme of psychological operations dur-       cal-operations theory. Both dynasties
ing the period.3                                believed that attacking the enemy’s psy-
   According to Wu and Zhang, those early       chological state was more effective than
psychological experiences culminated in         attacking his cities; therefore, they favored
Sun Tzu’s Art of War, which describes the       psychological operations over combat oper-
main objective of war as defeating the          ations with troops. The Ming (1368-1662)
enemy without having to fight; the main         and Qing (1662-1912) dynasties, on the
essence of war as attacking the enemy’s         other hand, allowed Chinese psychological-
strategy; the main principle of war as con-     operations doctrine to stagnate.6
tending for control of hearts, minds and           Ancient Chinese books discuss the psy-
morale; and the main idea of war as focus-      chological-operations experiences of their
ing on the enemy commander’s decision-          time. For example, the Six Arts of War
making skills and personal traits. Ancient      notes that in a command structure of 72
Chinese psychological-operations doctrine       men, 19 (26 percent) were psychological-
also focused on attacking the enemy’s           operations personnel responsible for con-
strategy and diplomacy, on conducting           trolling morale: Five were to tout the
demonstrations and seeking dominance, on        army’s strength; four were to tout the
ignoring luck and dispelling doubt; and on      army’s fame in order to destroy the
making threats and adhering to the Tao,         enemy’s confidence; eight were to scout out
the philosophy and system of religion           the enemy’s mood and intent; and two were
based on the teachings of Lao-tzu during        to confuse the people by exploiting their
the sixth century B.C.4                         belief in gods and spirits. The book also
   Wu and Zhang indicate that Taoism,           instructs Chinese soldiers to protect their
which coupled hardness with softness in         morale by ignoring rumors, by disregard-
                                                ing luck and by avoiding any dealings with

April 2003                                                                                       3
    omens or superstitions. The Six Arts also        deception, to map out a strategy, to secure
    tells soldiers to sap enemy morale, to           victory through strategy, and to integrate
    string enemy nerves, and to strike terror in     military strategy and psychological
    the enemy. Wu and Zhang discuss two              attack.10 The authors find these objectives
    ancient tales that hint at the creativity of     or activities of ancient Chinese psychologi-
    the Chinese in accomplishing these tasks.        cal-operations doctrine to be reflective of
    In the first tale, Chinese soldiers tied reed    what the Chinese observed during the Gulf
    pipes to kites and flew the kites at night.      War and during the fight for Kosovo, fur-
    The kites made a wailing sound that, in the      ther emphasizing the importance of psy-
    darkness, unnerved the enemy. In the sec-        chological operations in the modern era.
    ond tale, Chinese soldiers painted oxen in
    odd colors and tied oil-soaked reeds to the      Definitions
    tails of the oxen. The soldiers lit the reeds       Each of the Chinese articles on psycho-
    and sent the enraged animals charging            logical operations define the concepts of
    through the enemy camp at night, causing         psychological warfare or psychological
    terror among the enemy soldiers.7                operations in a different way. Wu Juncang
       Wu and Zhang note that the Six Arts also      and Zhang Qiancheng (who do not teach at
    refers to another key psychological aspect       the Shijiazhuang Academy) define a psy-
    that should be attacked — the mind of the        chological operation as the use of various
    enemy’s commanding general. While the            measures to influence a combat opponent’s
    Six Arts discusses the psychological condi-      ideology, attitude, will or actions. The objec-
    tion of the commander at the strategic and       tive of a psychological operation is to win
    tactical levels differently, it lists intelli-   without fighting or to win a big victory
    gence, temperament and moral character           with only a little fighting. Only by securing
    as the three main characteristics required       a favorable position in terms of politics and
    of a Chinese commander.8 The book also           in terms of the nature of warfare (by mak-
    lists 10 psychological weaknesses of com-        ing one’s own side’s reasons for war to
    manders that must be exploited. Those            appear to be moral and just) can one
    weaknesses include being brave, treating         achieve a fundamental psychological
    death too lightly, being impatient and           advantage.11
    thinking too quickly.                               Xu Hezhen, a major general in the Chi-
       According to Wu and Zhang, the Marxist        nese army and president of the Shiji-
    concept of the “dialectic” — the process of      azhuang Academy, defines psychological
    change brought about by the conflict of          warfare as a kind of propaganda, and as
    opposing forces — had a significant impact       persuasion that uses real force as its foun-
    on the development of ancient Chinese            dation. According to Xu’s definition, a
    psychological-operations theory, although        group can use political, economic, scientif-
    that fact was not “discovered” until the         ic, military, diplomatic, ideological or cul-
    advent of Marxism. The authors note that         tural forces to change an opponent’s
    ancient doctrine involved many categories        national will or to influence and change an
    of contradictions, out of which evolved          opponent’s belief in, attitude toward, or
    many of the principles and methods of psy-       hostility toward a populace, toward organi-
    chological operations.9 Although ancient,        zations, or toward military and govern-
    Sun Zi’s Art of War, Wu Zi’s Art of War, and     ment agencies. Xu’s two articles stress the
    Weiliao Zi and Sun Bin’s Art of War provide      need for using power and intimidation as
    incisive and comprehensive explanations          key psychological-warfare tools.12 Regard-
    of the objectives, principles, methods and       ing the importance of psychological war-
    laws of psychological operations, and their      fare, Xu notes: “You may not be interested
    explanations are still valid.                    in psychological warfare, but psychological
       In summarizing their understanding of         warfare is interested in you.”13
    ancient Chinese psychological operations,           According to Xu, psychological warfare is
    Wu and Zhang maintain that those opera-          also the exploration and study of the psy-
    tions were designed to achieve strategic

4                                                                                 Special Warfare
chological quality of the thinking practiced    latter foundation is determined by nation-
by a nation’s strategic leadership. To the      al characteristics, but the former founda-
Chinese, psychological quality includes the     tion is more constant. Psychological-war-
aspects of psychological attainments and        fare strategy is a psychological embodi-
psychological character. Psychological          ment of the orientation of a country’s
attainments primarily reflect the level at      national and military strategies. 18
which a person grasps and understands              Li Yuankui, a senior colonel at the Shiji-
psychology. Psychological character is the      azhuang Academy, and two master’s-
individual human aspect, primarily the          degree candidates, Lieutenant Wang
psychological character that an individual      Yanzheng and Lieutenant Yang Xiaoli,
has already formed or is developing; e.g.,      define psychological warfare as a multi-
an individual’s intellect, temperament, dis-    level activity that is employed at the stra-
position, emotions and will.14                  tegic, operational and tactical levels. The
   Xu notes that Eastern psychological          authors perceive the targets of psychologi-
attainments are developed through educa-        cal warfare as national will, the state of
tion in both dialectical materialism and        social awareness, cultural traditions, a
historical materialism, and through the         nation’s economic pulse, an opponent’s
influence and edifying effects of Eastern       public sentiment, the tendencies of popular
culture. His theory applies particularly to     will, military morale, and the opponent’s
strategic thought, in which “how to think”      various social groups, classes and strata.
is the key element and the most valuable        Because of the increased use of informa-
quality.15 Xu agrees that, in the end, the      tion technology, the number of people who
most important battles of modern psycho-        are subjected to psychological war is
logical war will be fought over values. The     greater than ever before.19 The increase in
superpowers, he feels, are using armed          psychological-warfare targets requires the
force to impose their value systems on          development of a people’s war-defense
other people. This was demonstrated dur-        mentality.
ing operations in Kosovo, in Xu’s opinion,         Li, Wang and Yang, like Xu, focus on val-
when politicians used the idea that human       ues. They define a system of values as a
rights are greater than sovereign rights.16     system of psychological tendencies that
   After 50 years of Marxism, Xu notes,         people use to discriminate between good
“Decadent culture has unavoidably               and bad. A system of values also provides
entered China. … Foreign culture has con-       the basis by which a person recognizes the
stantly infiltrated China in the form of        correct way of thinking and acting. The
weapons and then at the mental and con-         highest strategic objective in psychological
ceptual level. In particular, the value sys-    warfare, the authors note, is achieved by
tem of Western culture, with the idea of        changing a country’s fundamental social
individualism at the center, a decadent         concepts and its society’s sense of values.
lifestyle based on materialism, and a con-      In this regard, the West uses a system of
cept of gain or benefit in interpersonal        values (democracy, freedom, human rights,
relations, has produced a profound effect       etc.) in a long-term attack on socialist
on certain people’s values.”17                  countries. The West used the ideas of
   Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan          democracy and human rights to undermine
Jianhong, the three other authors who are       the communist party in the Soviet Union,
not identified as being faculty of the Shiji-   and it intends to use the same rationale for
azhuang Academy, define psychological-          interfering in China’s internal affairs. The
warfare theory as a field of study that         U.S.’s strategy is to attack political, moral,
serves both as the point of intersection and    social and cultural values in target coun-
as the boundary line between psychology         tries.20 Chinese authors are fond of quoting
and the study of strategy and tactics. In       former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s
their opinion, psychological-warfare theory     phrase, “Attacking ideas is key to affecting
has a psychological foundation as well as       history” as an explanation of U.S. strategy.
an ideological/theoretical foundation. The         Senior Colonel Wang Zhenxing and

April 2003                                                                                       5
    Major Yang Suping of the Shijiazhuang            Warfare,” Li, Wang and Yang emphasize
    Academy did not define psychological war-        that China must take the initiative in psy-
    fare or psychological operations in their        chological-warfare defense because psycho-
    article.                                         logical security is now an important aspect
                                                     of national security. Information and psy-
    Psychological security                           chological factors are now political and
       A key aspect of conducting psychological      diplomatic weapons, and their power can-
    warfare is to understand the psychological       not be ignored. Psychological warfare
    characteristics of an opponent’s strategic       requires a low investment; it involves low
    leadership and to conduct psychological          risk; and it is highly effective. The greater
    attacks against them.21 Authors Wang             the amount of information that is available
    Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng, and Yan Jianhong         to a population, the more room there will
    discuss differences in Eastern and Western       be for psychological warfare. Any corner
    minds in order to highlight East/West vari-      into which information can spread can
    ances both in the characteristics and in the     become a battlefield for psychological war-
    laws of psychological warfare. The authors       fare. China must establish the strategic
    note, “Differences in environment, cultural      idea of an active psychological-warfare
    traditions, political systems, economic          defense. Active defense should include tem-
    strength, national-defense capability and        pering the minds of the Chinese people by
    national spiritual belief lead to a great dis-   inoculation: allowing the people to come
    tinction in various nations in subjective        into contact with other ideas and, through
    cognition, ideological basis, principles of      education and guidance, allowing them to
    applications and structure of organization       see what is wrong with those ideas. That
    of psychological warfare.”22                     approach will allow people to develop psy-
       According to the authors, even though         chological immunity. Opening their minds
    China is a socialist country, the Marxist        up to other ideas, however, is not the same
    theory of war provides the theoretical basis     as cutting them loose.25
    for Chinese psychological warfare and               Li, Wang and Yang forecast that the
    gives Chinese psychological warfare its          main form of psychological warfare will be
    advanced, moral, open and unified                contests for public opinion. To be able to
    nature.23 Marxist theory regarding prole-        seize public opinion, China must develop
    tarian strategy and tactics was one of Mao       its own independent information and
    Zedong’s “magic weapons” during the Chi-         media power, guide public opinion, and
    nese revolution. And even though psycho-         conduct public-opinion propaganda. The
    logical warfare is characterized by active       demand for information is a universal psy-
    defense, China’s approach emphasizes psy-        chological need. Passive psychological
    chological attacks and the use of strata-        defense will not suffice. Only with initia-
    gems, particularly the use of deception          tive and offense can China take the strate-
    activities.24                                    gic initiative with regard to public opinion.
       Marxist theory opposes peaceful evolu-        Propaganda must be prepared in advance,
    tion, which the authors assert is the basic      and it must include material designed to
    Western tactic for subverting socialist          counter the attacks that will be made
    countries. According to Wang, Ma and Yan,        against the initial release of propaganda.26
    peaceful evolution is the process that              In “On PSYWAR in Recent High-Tech
    caused the disintegration of the Soviet          Local Wars,” Wang and Yang emphasize the
    Union, and the Chinese must not allow            importance of attaining media superiority
    peaceful evolution to take place in China.       and of controlling the negative effects of
    The authors note that Mao Zedong and             media coverage. Media control will be one
    Deng Xiaoping developed a theory and a           of the front lines in psychological wars.
    complete set of tactics designed to counter      News broadcasts and computer technology
    the Western strategy.                            now allow people to watch a battle in
       In “On Defense in Modern Psychological        progress, as they would watch a sporting
                                                     event. An event that might have been

6                                                                                Special Warfare
known to only a few people in the past can      attacking an opponent’s alliances, attack-
now be witnessed by millions. Such access       ing his army, and attacking his cities — in
to information affects public sentiment and     that order. The best strategy is to attack
morale. Wang and Yang accuse the West of        the enemy’s mind, leaving him unable to
fulfilling its hegemonic wishes by manipu-      plan. Strategy can create psychological
lating public opinion, by attaining media       misperceptions that will cause one side to
superiority, and by guiding people’s psycho-    remain unprepared. The prepared side can
logical tendencies.27 Yet all three methods     then win without fighting. In a more nar-
are exactly what the Chinese are proud to       row sense, the use of strategy may be seen
claim elsewhere as their heritage.              in demonstrations and feints that surprise
   According to Xu Hezhen in “Focus on          the enemy by hitting him where he is
Psychological War Against the Background        unprepared.31
of Grand Strategy,” intimidation is a key          Authors Wang, Ma and Yan see major dif-
strategy that can be used to influence both     ferences between China and the West
public opinion and the media. In fact, psy-     regarding the strategic starting points and
chological war and intimidation are so dif-     the orientation of psychological warfare. By
ficult to tell apart that they are almost       strategic starting points, the authors mean
twins. Intimidation is both a strategy and      psychological warfare’s nature, objectives
a method. In modern times, the use of non-      and factors for victory. China, the authors
violent intimidation, which includes            say, looks at psychological warfare as a
alliances, media manipulation, economic         method of spreading truth and justice; of
sanctions, financial attack, information iso-   trying to win people’s minds; and of expos-
lation and network attacks, has increased.      ing an enemy’s plot to confuse, corrupt or
   The U.S., Xu says, uses its advantage of     penetrate China’s mental space. The West,
power as the foundation of psychological        the authors contend, views psychological
war, employing arms displays, arms sales,       warfare as a way of promoting its hegemon-
and military exercises as intimidation.28 In    ic strategy that is designed to create turmoil
response, China must implement its own          and division within other countries. (Clear-
intimidation-psychological war plan that        ly, more than a few Western analysts would
includes Chinese threat forces and mecha-       disagree with that categorization.)
nisms, and intimidation-psychological war          Regarding the orientation of psychologi-
strategy.29 China should develop an elite       cal-warfare strategy, Wang, Ma and Yan list
and effective military intimidation force,      two strategic orientations: offensive and
fully apply all kinds of nonmilitary intimi-    defensive. The orientations differ in their
dation methods, establish a psychological-      roles, in their employment, and in the struc-
intimidation mechanism that will have           ture of their deployment. China must con-
strategic maneuvering as its core, and          tinue to combine offense with defense, and
organize and apply all kinds of psychologi-     to use offense for defense (so that the coun-
cal intimidation factors, thus developing       try can shift from passive to active modes
the greatest psychological intimidation         and expand its room for maneuver).32
effect. Intimidation must be established on        From Wu and Zhang’s perspective,
the foundation of power; without power,         demonstrations and shows of force are the
intimidation is only a scarecrow.30             basic strategic methods of conducting psy-
                                                chological operations. Demonstrations
Strategy                                        were used in ancient times, as detailed in
   In “The Doctrine of Psychological Opera-     the “Thirty Six Stratagems of War,” a col-
tions in Ancient China,” Wu Juncang and         lection of Chinese proverbs and instruc-
Zhang Qiancheng argue that strategy is          tions for winning at war. A demonstration
fundamental, and that mapping out a             is an attack that exploits strengths and
strategy is the most traditional Chinese        weaknesses, and its objective is to take the
characteristic of psychological warfare.        enemy by surprise. One may exploit
Mapping out the strategy is followed by         strengths and weaknesses by appearing to
                                                be strong when one is weak, or by appear-

April 2003                                                                                       7
    ing to be weak when one is strong.33 In           anyone; it is difficult to verify who the
    short, demonstrations are a way of getting        providers of network data are; and access
    friendly and enemy forces to interact psy-        to information is not subject to restrictions
    chologically. Demonstrations are also a           of time or place. Network attacks can
    form of deterrence, which is another psy-         throw a country’s social, political and eco-
    chological-warfare concept. Demonstra-            nomic life into chaos, producing a shock
    tions establish credibility and fear, two of      effect on people’s minds and leading to
    the three elements of deterrence theory           political instability. In order to develop net-
    (reliability is the third).                       work defense, China must develop network
       Strategy’s essence, according to Xu, is        sovereignty, establish laws for network
    thinking, and the quality of one’s thinking       activities, and establish information-pro-
    determines the quality of one’s strategy.         tection forces. Creating competent forces
    Strategic thinking is a big-picture, inte-        for information war and psychological war-
    grated method of thought, a bird’s-eye-view       fare will help ensure China’s information
    way of thinking. It is anticipatory, realistic    security and psychological security.37
    and response oriented, and it is a kind of           Writing about the impact of information
    rational thinking.34                              technology, Wang and Yang list several
                                                      futuristic ideas for psychological-warfare
    Information technology and forces                 equipment, but they do not specify whether
       Information technology has made it pos-        the ideas are theirs or those of another
    sible for psychological warfare to become         country. They note that an “intelligent”
    both a strategic resource and a method,           component has been added to psychologi-
    and psychological specialists are exploiting      cal-warfare equipment. The intelligent
    many information-age technologies. For            component includes computers used to
    example, future military attacks will be          guide the operating and sensing systems of
    combined with attacks on electronic tech-         UAVs. UAVs can recognize targets, broad-
    nology; virtual reality will plant false infor-   cast propaganda and scatter leaflets before
    mation in an enemy’s command-informa-             returning to their base. In the future,
    tion system, creating misperceptions              leaflets will combine visual, audio and
    among commanders; and network intrud-             speech elements, much like the talking
    ers may be able to penetrate terminals on         birthday cards currently marketed by
    the network, executing an all-directional         some U.S. card manufacturers. In a direct
    psychological attack.35                           reference to U.S. technology, the authors
       According to Wang and Yang, “In modern         note that Livermore Laboratories has
    times the vast development in information         developed a method of projecting holo-
    science, psychology, the science of broad-        graphic images high into the clouds.
    casting, and other sciences, and in particu-      According to Wang and Yang, the projec-
    lar the emergence of new and high tech-           tions produce a type of illusory psychologi-
    nologies such as satellite communications,        cal warfare by portraying Islamic martyrs
    electronic computers, networking technolo-        who appear to speak to soldiers from the
    gy, and multimedia technology, provide a          clouds.38
    firm theoretical foundation and modern               In contemporary wars, such as the Gulf
    tools for psychological warfare.”36               War, the first targets attacked have been
       Li, Wang and Yang see networks as the          targets with psychological value, such as
    most important aspect of the technological        television, broadcasting and other commu-
    battle. Network psychological warfare is a        nications venues. Destruction of those tar-
    new topic in psychological-warfare defense,       gets helped cause psychological passivity,
    but networks will become the main psycho-         panic and, eventually, defeat. Russia
    logical-warfare battlefield in the future.        underestimated the power of communica-
    Global networks provide more space in             tions during its first war with Chechnya
    which to engage in propaganda. Network            from 1994-96. The Chechens were able to
    data can be put online in secrecy by almost       exert a major psychological influence on
                                                      the course and the outcome of the war by

8                                                                                  Special Warfare
utilizing the impact of instantaneous field      en the ideology of Marxism.43
reporting to TV stations. That reporting           Of course, the greatest psychological-
greatly affected public opinion.39 TV also       warfare threat is the threat of taking con-
played a major role in the Gulf War,             trol of morale, the foundation stone for vic-
demonstrating the lethality of coalition         tory, according to Wu and Zhang. They
weaponry to the Iraqi leadership. On the         describe five tactics for controlling morale:
other hand, TV reports on Iraqi Scuds also        • With a mighty opponent, wait him out;
played a significant psychological role by        • With an arrogant opponent, show him
invoking terror and panic among the resi-           respect for a long time;
dents of Israel and Saudi Arabia.40               • With a firm opponent, entice and then
                                                    seize him;
Threats                                           • With an evasive opponent, get close to
  General Xu Hezhen’s article, “Psycholog-          him in front, make noise on his flanks,
ical Operations in the Context of Grand             dig deep ditches and put up high ram-
Strategy,” describes the threats facing             parts, and make it hard for him to get
China, which he labeled as “hard warfare”           provisions;
(high-tech warfare) and “soft warfare” (psy-      • With a placid opponent, make noise to
chological warfare designed to “westernize”         frighten him, jolt him by breaking
or “split” China). Xu notes that while the          through, and if he comes at you, then
former is the most difficult, the latter could      attack him, otherwise, fall back.44
be accomplished in the context of a grand
strategy in which psychological warfare          Conclusions
plays an increasingly important role in            The foregoing discussion indicates that
safeguarding national security and in win-       the theory of psychological warfare has
ning high-tech wars.41                           tremendous significance and value to
  Because psychological war can achieve          China. Chinese theorists are attempting to
the greatest number of political benefits        develop an updated ideology and strategy
and the greatest psychological influence         of psychological warfare — one that will
while taking almost no risks, Xu believes        focus on intimidation and on exploiting the
that the U.S. is using a psychological-war-      differences between Eastern and Western
fare strategy — peaceful evolution — to          mentalities. That implies that China will
enhance the disintegration of socialist          be establishing a command structure for
countries. He says that as part of that          psychological warfare, as well as creating
strategy, the U.S. has developed a military      special units that will attempt to overcome
force that possesses advanced weapons,           Chinese inferiority in high-tech weapons.45
and that the U.S. has carried out violent        More important, Chinese theorists appear
psychological threats toward socialist           to believe that because modern psychologi-
nations. According to Xu, the U.S. has used      cal warfare can help ensure stability and
economics and trade to infiltrate socialist      shape national-security thinking, it is more
nations and has used personnel exchanges         applicable in peace than in war.46
to carry out ideological and cultural psy-         In offering a recommendation for future
chological infiltration, thereby fostering an    psychological-warfare forces in China,
anti-socialist force.                            Major General Xu asks Chinese leaders to:
  According to Xu, U.S. psychological war-        • Develop a psychological-warfare system
fare undermined the Soviet Union, and he            that integrates specialized and non-spe-
sees evidence of a similar threat to China          cialized personnel, and that emphasizes
during the last two U.S. presidential               China’s special characteristics.
administrations. While the Clinton era            • Establish a psychological-warfare coor-
focused on engaging China, Xu says, the             dination agency at the national level to
Bush administration has a clear strategic           provide guidance and coordination for
goal of containing China.42 Finally, in Xu’s        national psychological-warfare actions.
opinion, the U.S. is using religion to weak-      • Establish a psychological-warfare com-

April 2003                                                                                       9
        mand agency, under the unified leader-       and psychological pressure on China. The
        ship of the Central Military Commission      U.S. will accomplish that objective by
        and the party committee.                     attacking China’s national self-respect and
      • Establish psychological-warfare scientif-    by compelling China to do what the U.S.
        ic research agencies of all kinds to guide   asks.51 Xu warns the Chinese that psycho-
        the work nationally and in the military.     logical acceptance of socialism depends on
      • Establish a specialized psychological-       China’s comprehensive national strength
        warfare corps that would form a consol-      and on the level of progress that the social
        idated and effective psychological attack    system achieves in economic development
        force.                                       and in socialist awakening. He says that
      • Develop a modernized basis for psycho-       one cannot believe that “the foreign moon
        logical-warfare material and technical       is rounder than our own,” for this is
        equipment.                                   defeatist psychology. Conviction in the cor-
      • Form a people’s psychological-warfare        rectness of one’s own system is what
        mentality by developing psychological-       works, and that is what is required.52
        warfare education for the masses and            In the end, we should not expect China
        for all commanders in the military.47        to waver from the main characteristics of
        According to Wang and Yang, China has        its psychological-warfare doctrine: strong
     many psychological-warfare shortcomings         reliance on the use of war experience; deep
     to overcome. Those include the backward-        cultural roots; the influence of Marxist
     ness and nonspecialization of current Chi-      materialist dialectics; and the role of stra-
     nese psychological-operations forces, a lack    tegic deception.53 China will use power
     of talent, and the difficulty of forming a      projection as a means of achieving success
     unified and coordinated psychological-war-      in influencing the activities of foreign
     fare command. Wang and Yang also believe        nations. Its centralized leadership system
     that China lacks a unified understanding        will continue to exert control over the
     of the strategic role of psychological war-     news, propaganda and public opinion.54
     fare and of the role that psychological war-    Most important for Western analysts is the
     fare can play in high-tech local wars.48        fact that Chinese theorists “think” strate-
        Wang, Ma and Yan believe that in order       gically in a way that few foreigners do.
     for China to overcome its weakness in           Western analysts will have to come to
     equipment, materials and technical con-         terms with this fact if they are to learn to
     tent, it must develop a force that combines     predict Chinese psychological-warfare
     its mass-action strength with a specialized     strategy in the coming years.
     structure for psychological warfare.49
     Overall, all these shortcomings hurt the
     development of a coordinated psychological        Timothy L. Thomas is an analyst for the
     war strategy for the PLA.                       Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leav-
        Apparently, other nations have noticed       enworth, Kan. A retired Army lieutenant
     China’s focus on psychological warfare and      colonel, Thomas served in the 6th PSYOP
     have responded. In January 2002, Taiwan,        Battalion, 4th PSYOP Group, from 1979 to
     taking advice from U.S. military officials,     1982. From 1987 to 1990, he served as
     activated its first modern psychological-       director of Soviet studies at the former
     warfare unit to counter China’s buildup.50      U.S. Army Russian Institute at Garmisch,
     The existing Taiwanese psychological-oper-      Germany.
     ations unit, which is part of the political-
     warfare department, does not focus on such         Notes:
     subjects as information warfare.
                                                      1 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping, “On PSYWAR in
                                                     Recent High-Tech Local Wars,” Junshi Kexue (China
        Finally, China will continue to view the     Military Science), 20 December 2000, pp. 127-33, as
     U.S. as its major psychological-warfare         translated and downloaded from the FBIS Web site on
     threat. Xu says that the U.S. objective is to   8 March 2001. No specific pages will be listed for
     gain benefits from the Chinese consumer         quotes from all the articles used in the preparation of
     market and to maintain long-term political      this article, since the author cannot read Chinese and

10                                                                                     Special Warfare
does not know on which pages of the article the trans-    29  Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
lations (from FBIS) appeared.                             30  Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
  2 These articles form the basis for this discussion.     31 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.

The journal China Military Science is the rough            32 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.

equivalent of the U.S. armed forces’ Joint Force Quar-     33 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.

terly. One of the Chinese articles noted that the terms    34 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

“psychological warfare” and “psychological opera-         text of Grand Strategy.”
tions” are interchangeable (which, of course, Western      35 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.

analysts would refute). This author uses the term          36 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.

“psychological warfare” because FBIS translators           37 Li Yuankui, Wang Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli.

used the term more often than they used “psychologi-       38 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.

cal operations.” One exception is the article by Wu        39 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.

Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng, for which translators         40 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.

used the term “psychological operations” exclusively.      41 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-
  3 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng, “The Doctrine         text of Grand Strategy.”
of Psychological Operations in Ancient China,” Junshi      42 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

Kexue (China Military Science), Issue 5 2002, pp. 88-     text of Grand Strategy.”
94, as translated and downloaded from the FBIS Web         43 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

site 14 January 2002.                                     text of Grand Strategy.”
  4 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        44 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.
  5 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        45 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.
  6 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        46 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
  7 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        47 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
  8 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        48 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.
  9 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        49 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.
 10 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                        50 Brian Hsu, Taipei Times (Internet Version-WWW),
 11 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.                       7 December 2001, as translated and downloaded from
 12 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War Against        the FBIS Web site 7 December 2001.
the Background of Grand Strategy,” Junshi Kexue            51 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”

(China Military Science), Issue 5 2000, pp. 67-76, as      52 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”

translated and downloaded from the FBIS Web site 11        53 Wu Juncang and Zhang Qiancheng.

December 2000.                                             54 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.
 13 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

text of Grand Strategy,” Junshi Kexue (China Military
Science), 30 September 2001, pp. 94-100, as translat-
ed and downloaded from the FBIS Web site 21
November 2001.
 14 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

text of Grand Strategy.”
 15 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

text of Grand Strategy.”
 16 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
 17 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”
 18 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong,

“Comparison of Psychological Warfare Between China
and the West,” Junshi Kexue (China Military Science),
Issue 6 2000, pp. 102-10, as translated and down-
loaded from the FBIS Web site 25 June 2001.
 19 Li Yuankui, Wang Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli, “On

Defense in Modern Psychological Warfare,” Junshi
Kexue (China Military Science), Issue 6 2000, pp. 117-
26, as translated and downloaded from the FBIS Web
site 8 March 2001.
 20 Li Yuankui, Wang Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli.
 21 Xu Hezhen, “Psychological Operations in the Con-

text of Grand Strategy.”
 22 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.
 23 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.
 24 Wang Lianshui, Ma Jingcheng and Yan Jianhong.
 25 Li Yuankui, Wang Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli.
 26 Li Yuankui, Wang Yanzheng and Yang Xiaoli.
 27 Wang Zhenxing and Yang Suping.
 28 Xu Hezhen, “Focus on Psychological War.”

April 2003                                                                                                       11

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