Skip to content


Coordination and Promotion of Military-Civilian Integration and the “One Belt and One Road”

{Editor’s Note: In recent years, since Xi Jinping took office, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been pursuing a strategy of integrating military with civilian usage. It is taking civilian technologies and transforming them so they can be used for military purposes on a massive scale. In a way, a large number of civilian enterprises have thus been tinted with a military color. At the same time, economic development has also been taking the factor of war into account, especially in the manufacturing industry. When needed, a civil society can quickly be mobilized to serve military purposes. The article below is a policy proposal from a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar. It advocates the expansion of the military-civilian integration to the countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road.” In a sense, the idea would turn the “One Belt and One Road” country bloc into a certain type of cooperation in military technologies.

The following is a translation of selected excerpts from the article.} {1}

Coordination and Promotion of Military-civilian Integration and the
“One Belt and One Road”

April 25, 2017

Red Flag Manuscript

By Shen Yanxin

The strategy issue is a fundamental issue for a political party and a country. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that “military-civilian integration is a national strategy that concerns the overall security and development of our country. It is a move to rejuvenate the nation as well as a strategy for strengthening the military.” Promoting military-civilian integration and strengthening the military through technology “must be coordinated within the overall national strategic layout in line with the national strategic plan.” “The construction of the ‘One Belt and One Road’ is also a major strategic decision that the Party’s Central Committee made. Both are part of the national strategy. It is a topic worthy of in-depth research on how to ensure that both the strategic military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road” work hand in hand to achieve coordinated progress and mutual reinforcement.

I. With “One Belt and One Road,” the military-civilian integration has made significant progress.

“Defense technology and munitions are the focus of the military-civilian integration, as well as an important indicator for measuring the level of military-civilian integration.” {2} The implementation of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative has pushed forward military technology exchanges and cooperation between China and the countries along the route so that the integration takes place on a larger scale, at a higher level, and goes deeper. The national defense technology industry is a natural carrier for military-civilian integration. So far, with the promotion of the “One Belt and One Road,” international exchange and cooperation in the national defense technology industry have achieved important results.

International cooperation in the field of nuclear technology has also deepened. At present, “nuclear power” has become the representative “business card” of China, just like the “high-speed rail.” Since the launch of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative, China’s nuclear power technology has seen steady breakthroughs. Statistics show that among the countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road,” in addition to China, there are 19 countries and regions already equipped with nuclear power and more than 20 countries and regions are planning to develop nuclear power. China has already signed cooperation agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Armenia, and other countries. It is estimated that a total of 240 nuclear power units will be built by 2030, 80 percent of which will be built in the neighboring countries along the “One Belt and One Road.” China alone is striving to build about 30 nuclear power units in the countries along the “One Belt and One Road” by 2030.

Aerospace multilateral (bilateral) international scientific and technological cooperation has advanced and delivered results. With the opportunities derived from the “One Belt and One Road,” China’s aviation industry is further integrated into the world aviation industrial chain. In the aerospace field, China has signed space cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries, and established good government and commercial cooperation mechanisms with countries along the “One Belt and One Road,” thus laying a good foundation for the promotion and application of spatial information technology. At present, on the southern route of the “One Belt and One Road,” China promotes technical cooperation with Asian and African countries on helicopters, regional aircraft, and general aviation industries. It also promotes the development of the aviation industry in relevant countries through the establishment of customer service bases. On the northern route of the “One Belt and One Road,” China and Russia will cooperate on wide-body aircraft and heavy-duty helicopters, and will make it an important achievement in Sino-Russian cooperation in the field of equipment manufacturing.

The spatial information corridor of the “One Belt and One Road” has been developed and promoted. In 2016, the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) and the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued the “Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Development and Application of the “One Belt and One Road” Spatial Information Corridor.” The spatial information corridor is mainly based on communication satellites, navigation satellites, and remote sensing satellite resources that are in orbit or in the planning stage. These appropriately complement the space-based resources and the ground information sharing network to form a four-in-one spatial information service system of “sensation, transmission, knowledge, and use.” The spatial information service system provides spatial information service capabilities for countries and regions along the “One Belt and One Road” to achieve information interconnection.

In addition, the implementation of the “One Belt and One Road” initiative and especially the development of the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” have also brought about important strategic opportunities for Chinese shipping companies, the munitions industry, and electronic technology. The achievements in military-civilian integration have been remarkable.

III. Specific proposals for the coordination and promotion of military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road”

3. Strengthen the coordination of science and technology and strive to improve the innovation ability of the military-civilian synergy.

Scientific and technological innovation have always played a leading role in the development of the “One Belt and One Road.” With the continuous advancement of science and technology, “national strategic competitiveness, social productivity, and military combat effectiveness are becoming more and more intertwined; the defense economy, the social economy, along with military and civilian technology have become more and more integrated.” {3} Therefore, the two strategies of promoting the military-civilian integration and the “One Belt and One Road” have highlighted an urgent need for scientific and technological innovation.

We should take advantage of the “One Belt and One Road” innovation platform in a comprehensive way to accelerate the innovative military-civilian integration. In September 2016, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the “Special Plan for Promoting the ‘One Belt and One Road’ to advance Cooperation in Scientific and Technological Innovation.” This set forth proactive measures for the “One Belt and One Road” technology innovation cooperation: together with countries along the “One Belt and One Road,” China will build a number of research laboratories, joint research centers, technology transfer centers, and advanced technology demonstration and promotion bases to promote the interconnection and service sharing of data and technology resources and to strengthen the application of new technologies in smart grids and information communication networks. The establishment of such an open platform infrastructure will help promote the two-way transfer and transformation of military and civilian technologies, benefit joint research, and enhance research on basic, cutting-edge, and key technologies.

We should comprehensively take advantage of the “One Belt and One Road” talent platform to serve the military-civilian integration. The Communist Party and the State have proposed to improve the military personnel’s support system and train new military talent in large numbers and of high-quality. The “Special Plan for Promoting the ‘One Belt and One Road,’ and to Develop Scientific and Technological Innovation Cooperation” clarifies the talent training goal for scientific and technological innovation cooperation: in three to five years, the exchanges and cooperation between science and technology personnel will be substantially improved and over 150,000 scientific and technical personnel will come to China for exchange training. More than 5,000 outstanding young scientists will be working in China. This provides the possibility for the integration of educational resources for the military-civilian integration. At present, to achieve the coordination of science and technology resources, we need to build a policy regime for the “One Belt and One Road” related resources available to provide services for the military-civilian integration.

Author: Associate Research Fellow, Department of Political History, Institute of Contemporary China, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

{1} Red Flag Manuscript, Shen Yanxin, “Coordination and Promotion of Military-Civilian Integration and the “One Belt and One Road,” April 25, 2017.
{2} A quote from a speech given by Xi Jinping.
{3} Ibid.

Chinese Military Expert on Protection against Nuclear Attacks

On January 30, 2019, People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), published an interview with a military expert, Qian Qihu.

Qian Qihu was born in October 1937. He is a military engineer and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He won China’s 2018 Highest Science and Technology Award. According to the article, for more than 60 years, Qian has been working on protective engineering research and personnel training. He established China’s theoretical system of modern protective engineering and solved some key technical problems, including nuclear weapons’ airborne explosions, ground-contact explosions, ground- penetrating explosions and new ground-penetrating bombs.

Qian said, “our national defense projects, especially underground protection projects, are the cornerstone of the country’s active defense strategy, the last line of defense for national security, and an important guarantee for our peaceful environment.”

Qian also said, “In the information battlefield, there have been great developments of satellite reconnaissance and surveillance technology, as well as the application of precision-guided weapons. As a result, the bunker buster missiles equipped with a smart fuze has a higher hit ratio, stronger ground-penetration ability, and more destructive power. All these pose greater challenges to the protection project. Recently, a country has tested hypersonic missiles that have a strong penetration capability. It is said that no anti-missile system can prevent it. When the anti-missile system fails to intercept it midway, the role of the ground and underground protection works stand out.”

Source: People’s Liberation Army Daily, January 30, 2019

PLA Strategist: What Is the Sino-US Trade War?

Luo Yuan, a Rear Admiral and military strategist for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), gave a speech recently on the Sino-US Trade War, analyzing it from the angle of China’s national strategy, why it happened, and how China should respond to it.

Luo’s speech was in three parts: What is it, why did it happen, and how to deal with it? The following are his main points:

What is it?

The U.S. has recently made six strategy changes: One, “America First” is officially a part of its national security strategy. Two, the U.S. has taken China as its number one threat and main competitor. Three, the Trump administration has adopted a “competition strategy” instead of Obama’s “engagement strategy.” Four, the U.S. has been following the “Indo-Pacific” strategy instead of the “Asia-Pacific Rebalance” strategy. Five, the Trump administration uses “Rebuilding America’s Military” strategy to replace the automatic reduction approach. Six, the U.S. has changed its nuclear weapons strategy.

Therefore, the trade war between China and U.S. is not a simple trade conflict but rather a major strategic issue, due to the U.S. national strategy change.

Why did it happen?

Luo said that he has had many discussions with other Chinese experts and concluded that the entire U.S., from top to bottom, has some strategic worries about China: One, China is likely to surpass the U.S. in GDP output someday. Two, China’s socialist model will surpass the U.S. model which is based on free, capitalist-styled competition. Thus, the Americans are concerned about the ideology and system rules. The Sino-U.S. trade war is the competition for national interest, system structure, and ideology.

How to respond?

One school of thought is for China to go back to the previous taking-a-low-profile approach. However, Luo argued that this won’t work any longer. The U.S. is demanding a full opening up, including the Internet. Luo warned that the communist party won’t be able to protect its ideology if the Internet is fully open.

The second school of though is to fight back. Luo argued that the symmetric counterattack approach (if the U.S. imposes tariffs on US $50 Billion worth of goods and if China imposes tariffs on an equal amount) will not work for China. He advocated the asymmetric counterattack, that is, to attack the enemy’s weak points.

Luo further stated that it may not be easy to find the U.S.’ weak points, but it can start from the U.S.’ strong points. Once China breaks the U.S.’ strong areas, the U.S.’s weak areas will be exposed. Luo listed the five strong areas of the U.S. and China’s counter measures:

  • One, a strong military power. China can increase military spending and develop its own killer weapons. The U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers. China does not need to match that number to compete with it. Instead, China can use its missiles to sink one or two, which will totally change the game play.
  • Two, the US dollar’s dominance in international trading. China should make the renminbi an international currency.
  • Three, a great pool of talent. China should develop its own high-tech industries.
  • Four, a vote-based system. China can target U.S. politicians’ voter bases by restricting the import of certain goods produced in some particular regions. There are three product lines in which China can have a good leverage: soil beans, cars, and airplanes.
  • Five, creating an enemy to keep itself strong. Since the U.S. takes China as its enemy, China can just be an “enemy” that it cannot defeat. China should also make more and more friends so as to leave the U.S. with fewer and fewer allies.

Source:, December 24, 2018

Russian Media: Russia Assisted with China’s Chang’e 4 Moon Landing

The China National Space Administration announced on January 3 that its spacecraft, Chang’e 4, successfully achieved a soft landing on the far side of the moon and sent back the first close-up image. The news caught the attention of those in Russia. A Russian expert revealed that China successfully completed the mission with the help of Russia.

The Russian state television reported on January 4 that, for the Chang’e 4 lunar probe to land and complete a number of its tasks of long duration, its power system and battery were the key. The detector relied on a radioisotope battery to provide power, but China cannot manufacture such a battery. Russia provided the heat source battery for Chang’e 4. Alexey Likhachev, director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM), said, “At that time, the Chinese partners asked us to provide radioisotope thermoelectric generator batteries within the shortest time. This time it was used on Chang’e 4. In fact, the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities is also using these products.”

In addition, Russian state television reported that, as early as the 1990s, the United States and the Soviet Union had already developed plans for the detector to land on the far side of the moon. The landing point almost coincided with the location of the Chinese Chang’e 4. China’s first generation of lunar exploration programs was also developed with the help of Russian experts.

The Russian Pravda website published a review article which said that this moon landing has great political significance for Beijing. It is now clear that the space race between big powers is not about to start, but is already white-hot. Beijing’s landing of the lunar probe will further intensify the space race. Even India is planning to send three astronauts into space in 2022. Moscow, which has been training astronauts for Beijing and providing space technology, is reluctantly watching Beijing surpass it.

However, after China’s moon landing plan became known to the outside world, the Russian space community also announced an ambitious moon landing plan. Evgeny Mikrin, general designer of the manned programs for Russia, said in a speech in November 2018 that the Russian astronauts will land on the moon for the first time after 2030, and the mission will last for 14 days.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 8, 2019

Xi Jinping: As Risks and Challenges Increase, Be Prepared for Combat Readiness

The military work conference of the Central Military Commission was held in Beijing on Jan 4. At the conference, Xi Jinping emphasized that China is still in an important period of strategic opportunities. As the number of risks and challenges are increasing, the entire army must do a solid job in preparing for combat readiness. In his speech, Xi said that the entire army must properly understand and grasp the general trend of China’s security and development, strengthen the sense of urgency and crisis, do a good job in preparing for a military fight, and resolutely fulfill the missions and tasks that the party and the people have entrusted to it. Xi also pointed out that it is necessary to establish the military strategy in the new era and to improve the capabilities of the combat forces.

Prior to the meeting, Xi signed the first military mobilization order of 2019. During the meeting he presented awards to 10 armed warfare units and 20 armed soldiers.

Source: Central News Agency, January 4, 2019

Luo Yuan on the “Military Attitude in the South China Sea”

At the 2019 Annual Meeting of Global Times on December 8, Luo Yuan, Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, dismissed the opinion that (China’s) “military stance in the South China Sea is too weak.” He stated that China must have the strategic calmness to safeguard the sovereignty of the country. Luo implied that one shouldn’t look at what’s going on right now; the key is what will happen in the future.

Luo Yuan said that the situation in the South China Sea has changed a lot. China has built airports on the reefs and deployed defensive weapons and equipment. This was unimaginable 20 years ago.

Luo Yuan also analyzed the case of the Southern Combat Region’s spokesperson’s statement on November 30 regarding the U.S. ship’s intruding into of the Xisha territorial waters. Luo Yuan said that the Ministry of National Defense previously voiced “the South China Sea issue.” Now it is the local combat region that issues a statement. What is the function of the combat region? The combat region is established mainly to fight, that is, in the state of preparation for war. Our warships and planes have conducted evidence-collecting, warning, and expelling activities. This was absolutely impossible 20 years ago. Don’t talk about ‘avoiding the Sino-U.S. crisis.’ The best way to ‘avoid a crisis’ is if the U.S. warships don’t go into China’s territorial waters. To the United States, also, don’t talk about ‘freedom of navigation’ all day long. It is also time for China to say to the United States that China also needs to maintain ‘freedom of navigation.’”

Luo Yuan concluded, “So many people have questioned why the U.S. warships went to the Taiwan Strait and went to the South China Sea. Why hasn’t the army taken any measures? We advise everyone that we must have confidence in national defense; we must have strategic calmness; and we are gradually gaining strategic controlling power, accumulating the capability of a ‘must-win in fight.’”

Source: Global Times, December 8, 2018