China's Other Army: The People's Armed Police in an Era Of Reform

China's Other Army: The People's Armed Police in an Era Of Reform
China's Other Army: The People's Armed Police in an Era Of Reform
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A major organizational restructuring change has been made by the Chinese Communist Party. Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, oversees the consolidation of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) thus giving Xi direct control over all China’s instruments of power, placing PAP under military command structure.

Centralizing all forms of military power streamlines decision-making placing all control under the Chairman thus requiring local and provincial officials to request coordination of the PAP for local or provincial uses.

These centralized changes are considered to be major reforms for the operation of PAP forces. People’s Armed Police has expanded in these ways:

  • PAP headquarters restructure
  • Local to national natural disaster response crisis and relief with mobile units
  • Unite the coast guard into the PAP command structure
  • Support suppressing disturbances and address demands from South East Asia neighbors to the U.S regarding China’s encroachment across the South China Sea and potential military activities directed against Taiwan.
  • Deploy counterterrorism operations overseas
  • Safeguarding Chinese maritime interests

Questions may abound about this organizational reform decision in the future as Xi puts in place senior officers in leadership roles within the new PAP organization.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary 1

Introduction 4

Background  5

Key Organizational Changes 9

Drivers of Reform 16

Challenges and Indicators of Further Progress 24

Implications 28

Conclusion 31

Appendix: PAP Grade Structure 32

Notes 33

About the Author 45


U.S. Department of Defense and allied defense leadership, China policy and operation decision-makers, members of the National Defense University, members of Congress responsible for DOD oversight, instructors, professors, teachers and students of Chinese history, political science, military science, international relations.


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Defense Dept., National Defense University, Institute for Nationbal Strategic Studies, Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs
  • Wuthnow, Joel
Key Phrases:
  • China Strategic Perspectives 14
  • China
  • Police
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