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Regulatory framework the construction and use of the armed forces of the people's Republic of China
Material posted: Polonchuk Ruslan AndreevichPublication date: 10-06-2020

The military-political leadership (CDF) people's Republic of China (PRC) is working actively to improve the legal framework in the interests of national armed forces. Established in the Asia-Pacific region (APR), the situation in the security sphere, defines Unlearning old and adopting new legal provisions based on the principle of national security and respect for international law.

Article 29 of the Constitution of China 2004 stipulates that the country's armed forces belong to the citizens of the people's Republic of China. The task forces are to ensure national security, opposition to aggression, the protection of the homeland, protection of the people. The state in turn provides improvement of the armed forces to enhance abilities to protect the national interests of the country [1].

The "national defence act" (revised in 2015) a year gives idea of the main direction of application of the armed forces of China "to protect the homeland from aggression." A decision on the application of the people's liberation army (PLA) in the case of aggression would be the exclusive prerogative of the Central military Commission (CMC). The mechanism of the transition of the armed forces to specific actions governed by the plans and directives of the respective headquarters, but their contents because of the secrecy of such information is closed [2].

As a violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of China in accordance with the"Law on the territorial integrity"adopted by the national people's Congress people's Congress (NPC) in 2005, can be regarded a Declaration of Taiwan independence, the occurrence of the event leading to the separation of the Islands or the exhaustion of opportunities for peaceful unification. 10 articles of the law contains all the main legal and political norms and principles that the Chinese leadership intends to adhere to in the course of resolving the question of the annexation of Taiwan. The document also declared the possibility of application of PRC military forces. The law proclaims that the problem of Taiwan is an internal affair of China and its decision is not subject to "no interference by outside forces." considerable space for subjective interpretation of the situation taking into account the political situation of the historical moment [3].

The White paper on defence "Chinese military strategy" (2015) notes that "in the new historical period, the Chinese army needs to effectively solve the task of protecting the world in different regions, in particular to provide assistance in case of danger; actively expand cooperation in the field of military security." In addition, it is noted that "to fulfill its international obligations China will support peaceful initiatives of the UN to exercise their right in the Security Council, engage in peaceful conflict resolution, to promote the development, rehabilitation, protection of regional peace and security." "Strengthening national power, the armed forces of China will participate more actively in peacekeeping activities, international assistance, implementation of the principles of humanism and other fields" [4].

These provisions continued White paper on national defence "Policy of China concerning cooperation in the sphere of security in the Asia-Pacific region" (2017) to uncover the attitudes of the Chinese government on cooperation with foreign countries, including in the military sphere, to reinforce peace and stability. The document notes the need for interaction with other States in peacekeeping activities, the focus is on strengthening multilateral international cooperation in strengthening peace and stability in the "hot spots" [5].

China's state Council in July 2019 published its White paper on national defense "national defense of China in new era". The purpose is to remove the growing international concerns about the pace of Chinese military development through demonstration of its "transparency" and "peaceful nature". At the same time to confirm the determination of Beijing to protect its national interests relying on the armed forces [6].

The White paper points to the complication of the global military-political situation and the growing threats to the security of the country. The main of them is Beijing include the activities of the United States to maintain military superiority in the Asia-Pacific region; attempts of foreign interference in the settlement of the South China and East China seas, Taiwan, Uighur and Tibetan separatism; militarism in Japan; instability along the borders of China, the unresolved territorial disputes with neighbouring States.

When coverage of the military construction highlights the increasing role of the people's liberation army of China in promoting the interests of Beijing and abroad, in outer space and cyberspace. Special attention is paid to improving the capabilities of the armed forces of the PRC to conduct operations outside the national territory, the formation of naval forces of the ocean zone, the establishment of points of logistics of the PLA Navy in foreign countries. In addition, the Chinese leadership confirms the immutability of views on the use of nuclear weapons (the refusal of his application, the first, against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones). While Beijing does not allow the possibility of acceding to the leading nuclear States that can limit its potential of strategic deterrence.

In order to refute the thesis of the "excessive militarization" of China discussed the necessary funding of the armed forces. The article focuses on the proportionality of the construction of national defense and the economy[1], and also lower compared with the world powers share of the military budget to gross domestic product and government expenditure[2]. As a matter of priority items of expenditure noted a regular increase in monetary allowances for operating and improving the social protection of retired military personnel.

A fundamentally new regulation White paper is to link the defense construction of China with the implementation of the concept of "Community of common destiny of mankind" (SESC), who was nominated by President XI Jinping in 2012 and endorsed as a priority of foreign policy. This concept is positioned as an important ideological contribution of Beijing to the improvement of the system of international relations. In this document it is emphasized that, by promoting CESC, prosperous China is creating opportunities for the development of all States, and the powerful armed forces of the PRC are "reliable support" the emerging global security architecture.

The successful holding of the Russian Federation reform of the armed forces is considered in the document as one of the factors aggravating the geopolitical rivalry. At the same time indicate that Russia was taking measures for the protection of national interests, making a significant contribution to maintaining strategic stability. Russia recognized the main political partner with whom it is considered appropriate to maintain the current unprecedented high level of cooperation in the defense sector. However, Beijing stressed that it will not join any military-political bloc.

It should be noted that the White paper on defense published China against the background of increasing potential for conflict between China and the United States and several of its allies, primarily in the Taiwan Strait and the South China sea. In this regard, the document aims to declare China as a leading power, which, despite its "peaceful" character, able and willing, if necessary, to solve foreign policy problems by force.

, China's participation in peacekeeping activities in the UN is governed by the"Rules of the peacekeeping missions of the PLA", which were approved by the decision of the Central military Commission of the PRC in March 2012. Thus, in accordance with the Constitution and adhering to the principles and provisions of the UN Charter, confirming the legality of military operations abroad, soldiers of the PLA to perform tasks in peacekeeping operations in Africa: in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, South Sudan, Lebanon, Mali, Mozambique and several other States. Their duties include performing the duties of military observers, military police, participation in road repairs, mine clearance, medical assistance, cargo transportation [7].

Views the CDF of the PRC, Chinese peacekeepers in addition to the direct performance of their basic functions can be used for other tasks related to the protection of China's interests abroad. Thus, in accordance with UN security Council resolution China since December 2008, on a permanent basis sends fleets of the PLA Navy in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia's territorial waters to escort vessels and safety of navigation. Under these conditions, the soldiers of the PLA solve the problem: landing and inspection of the suspect vessel; the release of the vessel from pirates; emergency response and rescue in case of emergencies; evacuation of overseas citizens; participation in international exercises, etc. From August 2017, the Chinese troops on a permanent basis to perform tasks for the protection and defense of point of logistics of the PLA Navy in Djibouti (city of Doral).

China has developed a legal framework of the use of units of the PLA for solving problems of non-military nature, including the maintenance of internal political stability, the fight against terrorism, the elimination of consequences of natural and man-made disasters, as well as participation in peacekeeping activities. According to the law of the PRC "responding to emergencies" (2007) military forces are utilized for the benefit of the priority of rescue and other urgent works, and this is in accordance with the requirements of legislation, military regulations and the orders and instructions of the state Council and Central military Commission [8].

In addition, legal acts regulating the activities in this area are the laws "On mobilization" (2010), "On the people's armed police" (2009), the provisions "About the participation of the armed forces of China in liquidation of consequences of natural and man-made disasters" (2005), "an emergency command and control at emergency incidents" (2010), White paper on national defence (2019), the directives of the CMC of the PRC, regulations of the PRC state Council, the military regulations, and other normative-legal acts. In accordance with the legal framework, under the emergency in China refers to a sudden incident, natural disaster, accident, phenomenon health and social problems that caused or may cause significant public damage and require emergency response.

The order of involvement of the armed forces of the PRC in these situations involves "commensurate to the damage of forces and means" to perform "emergency and rescue". The allocation of forces and means of composition of forces placed on specific territories. To do this, each province (Autonomous region, city directly under Central authority), the joint commanders, together with the relevant authorities of the administrative-territorial units formed special teams of emergency response of up to 45 thousand people. By major catastrophes an application to the joint staff of the PLA takes the authorized Ministry of the state Council of the PRC.

The analysis of doctrinal documents and speeches by officials on relevant issues, suggests that China, adhering to the military policy of a defensive character, which is subject to the state's development strategy and security, intends to use military force in accordance with the principle of "active defense" only to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The attack is possible only in response to the attack. However, the CDF of the country through the concept of "active defense" to strive to interpret it as an attack any threat to national interests and, thereby, to justify the use of military force (figure).


Figure – scope of application of the armed forces of China

Thus, the analysis of normative-legal base of formation and application of the PLA shows that, despite formal expression in the legislation of the basic conditions for the use of the armed forces, to clearly define the boundaries of the transition to the use of the army in key areas is not always possible. This approach CDF countries to the legal regulation in the spirit of pragmatic leadership position, wanting on the one hand to obtain the approval of the international community on the development of legal mechanisms in China, with another – to retain the possibility of using armed forces on the basis of conditions internal and external environment.

Ruslan Bolonchuk

A list of sources and literature

  1. The Constitution of China // the Press office of the state Council of the PRC. Beijing, 2004, 55 p.
  2. The national defence act // the Press Chancellery of the PRC state Council. Beijing, 2015 – p. 67
  3. The law on the territorial integrity of // the Press office of the state Council of the PRC. – Beijing, 2005 – p. 45
  4. Chinese military strategy // Press Chancellery of the PRC state Council. Beijing, 2015 – 54 s.
  5. Policy of China concerning cooperation in the sphere of security in the Asia-Pacific region // Press Chancellery of the PRC state Council. Beijing, 2017 – 56 p
  6. National defense of China in a new era // the Press Chancellery of the PRC state Council. Beijing, 2019 – 62 p.
  7. Rules for the implementation of peacekeeping missions of the PLA // Press Chancellery of the PRC state Council. – Beijing, 2012 – 46 S.
  8. The law on emergency response // the Press office of the state Council of the PRC. Beijing, 2007– p. 38


[1] In the last few years, defense spending increased annually on average by 9.4° comparable GDP growth of 9.0% and public expenditure at 10.4%.

[2] According to the White paper, starting in 2012, the ratio of military spending to GDP is on average: in China – 1.3%, in the USA – 3.5 percent, in Russia – 4,4%.

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