The Purge of Lo Jui-ch'ing

The Politics of Chinese Strategic Planning

by Harry Harding, Melvin Gurtov

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By purging Lo Jui-ch'ing, Chief of Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), in December 1965, the Maoists were able to eliminate a politician whose opposition to Mao was suggested by his persistent, public dissent on basic strategic and domestic politics. This report presents a plausible explanation of Lo's purge by linking the documents of the Vietnam debate and the revelations of internal politics during the Cultural Revolution. Implications for present and future Chinese policymaking are: (1) Alternative Chinese defense policies can be evaluated according to narrow bureaucratic interests as well as broader strategic considerations. (2) China's strategic posture is formulated and modified with careful assessment of domestic implications. (3) Maoists are reluctant to permit national security functions of the PLA to take precedence over its domestic political functions. (4) The Maoist strategy for deterring potential invaders is to make them aware of the high costs involved in attempting to breach Maoist authority. (See also R-487.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.