China’s Civilian Army: The Inside Story of China’s Quest for Global Power

OXFORD – Peter Martin

China’s Civilian Army charts China’s transformation from an isolated state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China’s diplomats.


China’s Civilian Army tells the story of China’s transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of its diplomats. In the early days of the People’s Republic, diplomats were highly disciplined, committed communists who feared revealing any weakness to the threatening capitalist world. Remarkably, the model that revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai established continues to this day despite the massive changes the country has undergone in recent decades.

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Even today, Chinese diplomats work in pairs so that one can always watch the other for signs of ideological impurity. China’s Civilian Army charts the history of China’s diplomatic corps from its earliest days through to the present, drawing on the memoirs of more than a hundred retired diplomats and dozens of interviews.



1 The Founder
2 Shadow Diplomacy
3 War by Other Means
4 Chasing Respectability
5 Between Truth and Lies
6 Diplomacy in Retreat
7 Selective Integration
8 Rethinking Capitalism
9 The Fightback
10 Ambition Realized
11 Overreach

Keywords: ChinadiplomacyZhou Enlaiwolf warriorforeign policysoft powercommunismMao ZedongDeng XiaopingXi Jinping


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