Civil-Military Relations in China: Party-Army or National Military?

  • David Shambaugh


This article examines the changing dynamics of relations between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). It argues that while the PLA remains politically loyal to the CCP, there is evidence of important changes in the institutional relationship between the two institutions. The partyarmy relationship is no longer as intertwined and symbiotic as it has historically been; rather, this article argues that there is evidence of a 'bifurcation' between the two. The catalysts for this change have been the professionalization and relative depoliticization of the military, as well as the leadership transition in the CCP. These changes raise important and central issues for the future of Chinese politics.*

Author Biography

David Shambaugh
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs Non-Resident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at The Brookings Institution Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1989 Office: 1957 E. Street, Suite 503 (office hours) Phone: (202) 994-5874