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The untold story of China's rise as a global superpower, chronicled through the diplomatic shock troops that connect Beijing to the world. China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest The untold story of China's rise as a global superpower, chronicled through the diplomatic shock troops that connect Beijing to the world. China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest geopolitical drama of the last half century. 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. Little is known or understood about the inner workings of the Chinese government as the country bursts onto the world stage, as the world's second largest economy and an emerging military superpower. China's Diplomats embody its battle between insecurity and self-confidence, internally and externally. To this day, Chinese diplomats work in pairs so that one can always watch the other for signs of ideological impurity. They're often dubbed China's "wolf warriors" for their combative approach to asserting Chinese interests. Drawing for the first time on the memoirs of more than a hundred retired diplomats as well as author Peter Martin's first-hand reporting as a journalist in Beijing, this groundbreaking book blends history with current events to tease out enduring lessons about the kind of power China is set to become. It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand China's quest for global power, as seen from the inside.


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The untold story of China's rise as a global superpower, chronicled through the diplomatic shock troops that connect Beijing to the world. China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest The untold story of China's rise as a global superpower, chronicled through the diplomatic shock troops that connect Beijing to the world. China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest geopolitical drama of the last half century. 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. Little is known or understood about the inner workings of the Chinese government as the country bursts onto the world stage, as the world's second largest economy and an emerging military superpower. China's Diplomats embody its battle between insecurity and self-confidence, internally and externally. To this day, Chinese diplomats work in pairs so that one can always watch the other for signs of ideological impurity. They're often dubbed China's "wolf warriors" for their combative approach to asserting Chinese interests. Drawing for the first time on the memoirs of more than a hundred retired diplomats as well as author Peter Martin's first-hand reporting as a journalist in Beijing, this groundbreaking book blends history with current events to tease out enduring lessons about the kind of power China is set to become. It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand China's quest for global power, as seen from the inside.

48 review for China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3710438.html Peter Martin was a colleague of mine when I started in my current workplace, but left to go back to Beijing as a reporter for Bloomberg. He's now in Washington working Bloomberg's defence beat, but has used his time in China profitably to write this excellent book on China's diplomatic service. The first thing to say is that this book is (thank heavens) not for the China specialist. I confess I knew far less than I should about the history of the Communi https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3710438.html Peter Martin was a colleague of mine when I started in my current workplace, but left to go back to Beijing as a reporter for Bloomberg. He's now in Washington working Bloomberg's defence beat, but has used his time in China profitably to write this excellent book on China's diplomatic service. The first thing to say is that this book is (thank heavens) not for the China specialist. I confess I knew far less than I should about the history of the Communist Party and the People's Republic, and because the foreign ministry, the subject of this book, was very much the creation of Zhou Enlai. Peter is clear and lucid on this complex history. Chinese diplomacy was set up from scratch in 1949, all previous Chinese diplomats having been part of the old regime; the diplomats were senior Red Army officers, with no knowledge of diplomacy and often no experience of the world outside China. The isolation of the regime by other countries did not help. It seems incredible now that Taiwan was allowed to occupy China's place at the UN for more than twenty years after losing the war. Mutual suspicion between China and its international interlocutors was deep, and for good reason. With that unpromising start, Chinese diplomacy is very different from that of other countries. Every country of course has its own style, reflecting national characteristics. But Chinese diplomats are unusual in two respects. They tend not to make friends outside their own service, and they tend to stick to their talking points rather than actually engage in a conversation. They are happy to pick fights over protocol, even when clearly in the wrong. This is of course the result of working for a bureaucracy which is internally paranoid and conscious of vulnerability to accusations of foreign influence. At one point in the 1990s, concerned citizens started sending calcium tablets to the ministry's headquarters, to help it build some backbone. The Ministry also had the sharp end of explaining some of the more traumatic moments of recent history. It was badly affected by the Cultural Revolution, and one gets the sense that that experience still runs deep in bureaucratic China. The Tian-an-Men massacre of June 1989 was another key moment which reversed any recent international gains for China. NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 was another low point, inflicted by the West. On the other hand, there were also successes like the Beijing Olympics, and China's rapid re-positioning as an ally in the war on terror from 2001. Taiwan continues to be a diplomatic irritant. I've once or twice been caught in the slipstream of this one myself; I organised a Brussels speaking opportunity for the then Taiwanese government spokesman in 2000, and was struck by the number of mainland Chinese who turned up to heckle him in the audience. Twelve years later, I organised a speaking opportunity for a senior government official from one of the dwindling number of states that recognise Taiwan. In his speech, he mentioned the People's Republic favourably and Taiwan not at all. Literally before he had sat down from speaking, he had been called by both sides asking if this meant a shift of policy. He grinned, having achieved exactly what he wanted - a very small country getting two bigger, richer rivals to compete for his affections. Anyway, this book was published literally last week, and it's a great backgrounder on China as a whole and on its undiplomatic diplomats in particular. Strongly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Lang

    This is a history of the foreign ministry of the People's Republic of China, starting with brief biographies of the ministry's central figures like Zhou Enlai and ending nearly at present day. It covers most of the major events that the ministry dealt with both domestically and abroad. It does a good job of weaving together a cohesive narrative of more than 70 years worth of developments in the way the foreign ministry is run and the way in which China's foreign policy is shaped. There are a ton This is a history of the foreign ministry of the People's Republic of China, starting with brief biographies of the ministry's central figures like Zhou Enlai and ending nearly at present day. It covers most of the major events that the ministry dealt with both domestically and abroad. It does a good job of weaving together a cohesive narrative of more than 70 years worth of developments in the way the foreign ministry is run and the way in which China's foreign policy is shaped. There are a ton of fascinating stories and facts in this book that you won't get anywhere else (unless you can read Chinese) which are revealing of why China operates its foreign diplomacy the way it does. Peter Martin makes some errors with regard to Mao on several occasions, and if you're interested in that I highly recommend "Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam Seitz

    This book, which came out recently, is a truly excellent and very accessible look at Chinese diplomacy over the past seventy years. Although clearly written for a popular audience, the book is admirably detailed and well-sourced, and the analysis benefits from the author’s significant time spent in China. The central contention of the book is that China’s diplomacy is fundamentally characterized by ideology and self-certainty, and it is simultaneously inflected with feelings of superiority and i This book, which came out recently, is a truly excellent and very accessible look at Chinese diplomacy over the past seventy years. Although clearly written for a popular audience, the book is admirably detailed and well-sourced, and the analysis benefits from the author’s significant time spent in China. The central contention of the book is that China’s diplomacy is fundamentally characterized by ideology and self-certainty, and it is simultaneously inflected with feelings of superiority and insecurity. What I particularly enjoyed about the book is its ability to trace a clear continuity between early Chinese diplomatic efforts up to the present. In particular, the continued paranoia directed toward the loyalty and reliability of the diplomatic corps emerges as a powerful and enduring feature of Chinese foreign policy. The book discusses how early diplomatic efforts emphasized ideological purity. This obsession with conformity of thought and dedication to the Party’s ideals continued through China’s opening to the world, with the book offering humorous anecdotes about how ill-equipped Chinese diplomats were for postings abroad given their cartoonish views toward capitalism and their lack of understanding regarding diplomatic etiquette. The Chinese were quick studies, though, and the book paints a nuanced picture of the increasingly sophisticated foreign policy strategies adopted by the Chinese state. And yet despite these efforts, Martin contends that Chinese diplomatic efforts have been continually hamstrung by stovepiping and nationalism. For all the success of China’s diplomats, China’s representatives abroad frequently find themselves flat footed when the PLA or other bureaucratic actors engage is provocations without deigning to inform the Foreign Ministry. These incidents can sometimes be papered over, but Martin contends that this is getting harder in part because domestic nationalism means that diplomats suffer enormous reputational costs for being “too nice” to the Americans. One of the more interesting anecdotes in the book is a discussion of a mass mailing of calcium tablets to the Foreign Ministry by angry citizens hoping the supplements would help strengthen their diplomats’ spines. But the problem is deeper. At one point Martin reflects on a conversation with a young, soon-to-be Chinese diplomat who was bright and well-spoken but still expressed uncertainty regarding the role of the US in instigating the Tiananmen Square uprising. Martin reflects on the fact that this young man, about to represent his country, doesn’t even know its true history. The ultimate effect of this deep-rooted nationalism is the wolf warrior rhetoric so prevalent in Chinese messaging today. I found the book to be consistently engaging and well-researched, though it certainly has its gaps. For example, it would have been nice to get more on the relationship between the military and diplomatic corps. And I think a more detailed look at the institutional structure of the Foreign Ministry would have been useful. But I have an academic background, and this book is written to engage a wider audience (which I fully endorse). So although the book cannot serve as a one stop guide to Chinese diplomacy, it is a terrific place to start. I highly recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zi Tong

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nishant

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarkis Yammine

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pierce Blue

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

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    Julia

  10. 5 out of 5

    Frances

  11. 4 out of 5

    Devin White

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clara

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason Zhou

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mr Campbell J Reynolds

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joan Pavitt

  19. 5 out of 5

    Helen Smith

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Phelps

  21. 5 out of 5

    Yannick M

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beimeng Fu

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jackson

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    Eric

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    Shashin Surti

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    Aaron

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    Trudy Ferrer

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    Hadrian

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    Isabell

  30. 5 out of 5

    J

  31. 4 out of 5

    73f4252d-5890-4351-b2c2-1e686ee2f6ff UUID

  32. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra

  33. 5 out of 5

    Fergus Ryan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Soumojit Basu

  35. 4 out of 5

    Davidius

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kadiri Saliu

  37. 5 out of 5

    Kritika Singh

  38. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  39. 5 out of 5

    Germano

  40. 4 out of 5

    Lee

  41. 4 out of 5

    Ranran

  42. 4 out of 5

    Zee

  43. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

  45. 4 out of 5

    John

  46. 4 out of 5

    CJ

  47. 5 out of 5

    Magnus Lundin

  48. 5 out of 5

    Hansel

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