The contemporary People’s Republic of China (PRC) has not only embraced the principles of Sun Tzu but it appears that every Chinese military unit has committed his teachings to memory, according to a report by The Times of Israel.
Sun Tzu, a renowned military strategist from the Eastern Zhou period (771-256 BCE), gained fame for his influential work called ‘The Art of War.’ This treatise serves as a comprehensive guide on how to effectively navigate conflicts and engage in battles.
Vas Shenoy, a political researcher, reveals in The Times of Israel that Sun Tzu employed various expressions such as indirect tactics, optimizing gains with minimal effort, evading direct combat, employing subterfuge, and practicing deceit.
The recent incursion of Russia into Ukraine has once again brought the specter of war to Europe. While Vladimir Putin’s attack on Kyiv does not align with Sun Tzu’s maxim of subduing the enemy without direct confrontation, China continues to exhibit a preference for engaging in cold wars rather than hot ones.
With the exception of Xi Jinping, every member of the Central Military Commission holds the rank of general or admiral and has thoroughly absorbed the principles outlined in the “Art of War,” as highlighted by Vas Shenoy.
At the core of Xi Jinping’s China lies the strategic employment of espionage and unconventional warfare. China boasts a substantial number of active hackers, surpassing the majority of other nations. These agents are particularly adept at aggressively pursuing economic, technological, and personal information while disseminating misinformation, as reported by The Times of Israel.
The People’s Republic of China operates with virtually no constraints, engaging in activities that range from the sale of surveillance cameras to monitor streets, traffic signals, and sensitive installations, to leveraging contemporary platforms such as TikTok to gather global user data, distort information, and propagate propaganda.
According to the human rights organization Safeguard Defenders, there are 102 Chinese police stations established in foreign countries across 53 nations, including Italy, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. This revelation first garnered attention in 2022.
These clandestine Chinese operatives operate under the guise of police stations, surreptitiously gathering intelligence on Chinese citizens and individuals who oppose the existing regime. They reside lawfully in Italy and other host countries, having deceived the respective governments into housing them under the pretext of law enforcement facilities.
Another manifestation of the current Chinese government’s adoption of Sun Tzu’s strategy is the tendency to strike where resistance is minimal. They disperse their efforts, moving towards areas of least opposition whenever they initiate an attack.
An illustrative example can be found in Pakistan, a nation currently experiencing upheaval. China consistently turns to Pakistan as a steadfast ally in various scenarios, and it was a crucial partner to NATO during the latter’s incursion into Afghanistan.
Due to the prevailing turmoil in Pakistan and the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, China has gained access to the country’s abundant natural resources, particularly lithium—a vital resource for the future. Afghanistan, governed by the Taliban and viewed as a pariah by the West poses a threat to its patron Pakistan. Consequently, Afghanistan could potentially become the newest participant in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), possibly replacing Italy, which seems to be distancing itself from the project.
On February 4, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing, where he and Chinese Premier Xi declared a relationship of “unlimited possibilities.” Despite being adversaries during the Cold War, these two nations share a border spanning 4,200 kilometers. The genuine rapprochement between China and Russia began following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Following Putin’s proclamation of “unlimited possibilities,” he proceeded to invade Ukraine, thereby isolating Russia and compelling it to rely heavily on China. Russia has transformed from being a rival to effectively becoming an extension of China.
By lending support to Putin, Xi Jinping effectively puts another one of Sun Tzu’s teachings into practice through a single action, as reported by The Times of Israel.