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Old 10-30-2019, 01:12 PM
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Default OT: Chinese Battleship

I came across this article on the National Interest website.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...ttleship-87986

National Interest put's up some "interesting" articles about modern warfare, and this is I think is one of them. It sort of follows along China's current naval build-up but goes one further. Does anyone think its possible that China will be building large warships in the Russian Kirov Class mould any time soon?

The American response BTW according to National Interest would be..........

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...hina-war-91646

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/th...tleships-21712
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Old 10-30-2019, 04:00 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that the Iowa's armor would protect the ships vitals from most non-nuclear anti-ship missiles that have been deployed to date - the biggest threat to them was always good old fashioned torpedoes.
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:53 PM
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Battleships are a technology whose time has passed I think. Prior to WWII they were core of fleets because they were the best thing naval technology could make. Their guns let them fight from miles away and their armor defended them from the guns of smaller ships. They could also land massive HE shells inland to support beach landings.

Once submarines got more capable (and their torpedos more reliable and accurate) and aircraft...were invented the battleship's dominance was ended. A battleship's guns don't mean much to subs or planes while both can rain destruction of BBs. If the BBs require a battle group worth of escorts to be effective they end up too expensive to field. Basically it's the USN and no one else that can field carrier battle groups due to the sheer amount of infrastructure involved.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:46 PM
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I disagree - the French and British can field carrier task forces - but in both cases doing so puts a serious strain on their fleets to do so. And a battleship given proper escorts can put a serious hurt on an enemy task force.

Also keep in mind that what would be proposed is bringing them back for gun fire support for the Marines - which is pretty much what happened to them after 1942 in the USN anyway. Outside of the one slugfest at Leyte they basically did gunfire support while it was the carriers that swept the seas.

Thus if one or two was brought back and used for that function it would be an effective use of the ships. I.e. they wouldnt be slugging it out with a Chinese Kirov but instead laying down a lot of steel on a beach instead.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:05 PM
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Battleships really are only much good for fire support in modern times. Yes they can be armed with missiles and other technology to extend their range beyond the 20 miles (give or take) of their guns, but so can most other, smaller, and FAR less expensive vessels.
That said, it's nice to have one around, especially if conducting amphibious operations, but other than that they're an expensive and generally unnecessary luxury.
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:19 AM
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A battleship without escorts is a big expensive target. A battleship with escorts is a massive expense for a dozen mile radius of "fire support".

Modern amphibious forces have amphibious APCs, helicopters, drones, hovercraft, satellites, aircraft, and cruise missiles. No one is going to storm a beach with unmounted infantry in plywood boats anymore. Pounding a beach and a few miles inland with 16in shells isn't worth the effort.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:18 AM
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A battleship without escorts is a big expensive target. A battleship with escorts is a massive expense for a dozen mile radius of "fire support".

Modern amphibious forces have amphibious APCs, helicopters, drones, hovercraft, satellites, aircraft, and cruise missiles. No one is going to storm a beach with unmounted infantry in plywood boats anymore. Pounding a beach and a few miles inland with 16in shells isn't worth the effort.

I don't think China or anyone else will ever be building battleships in the conventional sense, but the title was a bit misleading. The article states that China could build a large surface warship of the size of the Russian Kirov Class. The Kirov's are missile cruisers but as big as some pre-WW2 battleships.

Such a warships could be used as a platform for new weapons or multiple weapons systems that would demand large vessel to carry them such as long-range anti-ship or anti-air missiles, hypersonic vehicles, unmanned craft of various types, railguns and energy weapons. The purpose of building such ships could be to use them as mobile platforms as part of a wider Chinese defence network linked with Chinese air and missile bases on the Chinese mainland and new islands fortresses that they are manufacturing in the South China Sea. Such ships could be used to keep US Navy warships away from the Chinese coast and important sea lanes that China is dependent on.

The Soviet's built the Kirov Class for a similar purpose to fend off NATO naval and air forces in the North Atlantic from approaching missile launching areas in the Arctic for Soviet SSBN's. They were fitted with state of the art anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles for their time. What their effectiveness is/was against NATO nuclear submarines is open to speculation, and the same speculation could be made against a Chinese variant.

However the new Chinese Type 055 missile destroyer is classified by the US navy as a missile cruiser. Physically it is larger in tonnage than either the Burke Class destroyer or a Ticonderoga Class cruiser, or any similar warship in any allied nations including Britain and Japan. Excluding aircraft carriers the only active surface warships bigger than a Type 055 are the Russian Kirov and the US Zumwalt Class destroyers. China is capable of designing and building larger ships, even as large as the Kirov although not with nuclear reactors.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:47 AM
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...although not with nuclear reactors.
Given that for the next decade or so they're unlikely to be operating too far from home ports, I wouldn't think that will be too much of a problem. If the world allows them to keep throwing their weight around as they have in the south china sea, they'll almost certainly have developed suitable nuclear reactors for the next generation of ships.

China IS a problem. It's a shame many politicians are more interested in appeasement than standing up to their obvious expansionist aims.
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Old 10-31-2019, 06:44 AM
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Default Arsenal Ship

The US Navy came up with this ship in 1995, Tom Clancy talks about it in his Non-Fiction Books

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenal_ship
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:33 PM
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The US Navy came up with this ship in 1995, Tom Clancy talks about it in his Non-Fiction Books

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenal_ship
I think this is more along the lines of what China (and America) could build, but I think it would be manned and more versatile.

The Russians are planning to build the 20,000 ton Lider Class "Destroyer" to replace the Kirov's and this is more along the lines I would be expecting from China.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lider-class_destroyer

As a side note I don't know if it would now be possible to reactivate the Iowa Class battleships. Missouri and New Jersey are now museum pieces, as are Iowa and Wisconsin although the two later ships were well preserved by an act of congress up until 2006. I believe Wisconsin is considered to be in the best condition of the 4 ships, and the other ships could be used to provide parts for what cant be manufactured. But I don't know if any rounds for their 16inch guns are still stored. It would be costly to upgrade and even bring back one of them, but still possibly cheaper than building a new Arleigh Burke Class destroyer.

Alternatively for a lot more money it may be possible to heavily modify them. Fit them with new engines and control systems, remove all the 5 inch guns and one of the 16 inch turrets, and replace them with new weapons and sensors and fit a large VLS missile launching system in the well of the removed turret. It may be possible to even develop a new large railgun for them.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:14 PM
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Whether your big warship is a traditional BB or a CG it's only as effective as its infrastructure allows. The Kirov class made for an effective (on paper) area denial platform because it could operate for long periods without replenishment thanks to its nuclear propulsion. It could move its anti-ship missiles wherever they were needed and keep them there for a long time. It had enough other weapons to defend itself while on station.

A Kirov-esque CG without nuclear propulsion is tied to its supply tail. It basically has to move from gas station to gas station or hold up in a port to act as a fleet-in-being. It's far less effective as a singular threat than a Kirov. So you have to build a battle group around it to be able to protect supply lines and keep from being cut off.

This basically limits such ships to prowl around China's nine dash line claims to harass unarmed shipping and smaller navies. That's a huge amount of money to spend to be a bully. If China wants to waste that kind of money that's fine. Russia only has 2 Kirovs left, big ships are very expensive and need a lot of support infrastructure.
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:13 AM
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As a side note I don't know if it would now be possible to reactivate the Iowa Class battleships
Why do they need to reactivated? Most of the weapons on the Lider Class Destroyer are missiles what are the big anti ships guns going to do? How much do think its going to cost to make all the ammo? Is there even a ship is the US Navy right now that can replenish a battleship at sea?

I would also like to point out that in 2013, Huntington Ingalls Industries revived the arsenal ship idea when it proposed a Flight II version of the LPD-17 hull with a variant carrying up to 288 VLS cells for the ballistic missile defense and precision strike missions and from 2002 to 2008, the U.S. Navy modified the four oldest Ohio-class submarines into cruise missile submarines. The conversion was achieved by installing vertical launching systems (VLS) in a multiple all-up-round canister (MAC) configuration in 22 of the 24 missile tubes, replacing one Trident missile with 7 smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles. The 2 remaining tubes were converted to lockout chambers for use by special forces personnel. This gave each converted submarine the capability to carry up to 154 Tomahawks. The large diameter tubes can also be modified to carry and launch other payloads, such as UAVs or UUVs.

I also doubt weather Russia will actually build all 12 planed Lider Class.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:00 AM
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Whether your big warship is a traditional BB or a CG it's only as effective as its infrastructure allows. The Kirov class made for an effective (on paper) area denial platform because it could operate for long periods without replenishment thanks to its nuclear propulsion. It could move its anti-ship missiles wherever they were needed and keep them there for a long time. It had enough other weapons to defend itself while on station.
The Soviet Navy really had no aircraft carriers to compete with the US Navy super-carriers. The Kiev's were basically large ASW platforms, and they only built one Kuznetsov before the USSR collapsed. The Kirov was an interim solution to what the Soviet needed to defend their territorial seas and their SSBN's launching sites in the Arctic against NATO airpower and nuclear submarines. How effective the Kirov's were is a debatable question, but they scared the US Navy enough into reactivating and modifying four Second World War battleships.

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A Kirov-esque CG without nuclear propulsion is tied to its supply tail. It basically has to move from gas station to gas station or hold up in a port to act as a fleet-in-being. It's far less effective as a singular threat than a Kirov. So you have to build a battle group around it to be able to protect supply lines and keep from being cut off.
A Kirov sized warship could probably hold about twice the missile ordinance (maybe a bit more) of an Arleigh Burke Class missile destroyer. The number of missile cruiser/destroyer sized ships in the world of the size and class of a Burke Class destroyer (say 8,000 to 15,000 tons) stands at about 130-150 ships worldwide. As far as I know none of them are nuclear powered and all of them can carry between 80 and 120 or more air defence, anti-ship and land attack missiles. None of these are small ships (their as big as WW2 cruisers), and would your logic not also apply to them?

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This basically limits such ships to prowl around China's nine dash line claims to harass unarmed shipping and smaller navies. That's a huge amount of money to spend to be a bully. If China wants to waste that kind of money that's fine. Russia only has 2 Kirovs left, big ships are very expensive and need a lot of support infrastructure.
The article states why China might build ships the size of the Kirov's not that it is going to.

China has built two Kuznetsov class carriers and has a third carrier under construction the size of a Kitty Hawk Class carrier, and plans to build three more of them which will give China a fleet of six aircraft carriers by 2030. It is also building a whole fleet of missile cruisers, destroyers and frigates, and has four amphibious carriers equal in size of the America Class LHA's under construction. And China has an active and expanding nuclear submarine programme, and has built a whole series of artificial fortress islands across the South China Sea. This massive naval expansion has cost a huge amount of money and is mainly designed to take on the US Navy head on in the Eastern Pacific.

China is geographically at a disadvantage against the US Navy and its allies in the Eastern Pacific. It can be confined to its coast quite easily by US air power and submarines. Its economy is also highly dependent on foreign trade through shipping and the importation of oil. It also has ambitions on incorporating Taiwan back into China, hence the construction of a large blue water fleet. If building a warship the size of the Kirov armed to the teeth with missiles could contribute to keeping the US Navy hundreds of miles away from the Chinese coast and Taiwan I think they might build one or two of them.

Last edited by RN7; 11-02-2019 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:15 AM
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Why do they need to reactivated? Most of the weapons on the Lider Class Destroyer are missiles what are the big anti ships guns going to do? How much do think its going to cost to make all the ammo? Is there even a ship is the US Navy right now that can replenish a battleship at sea?

I would also like to point out that in 2013, Huntington Ingalls Industries revived the arsenal ship idea when it proposed a Flight II version of the LPD-17 hull with a variant carrying up to 288 VLS cells for the ballistic missile defense and precision strike missions and from 2002 to 2008, the U.S. Navy modified the four oldest Ohio-class submarines into cruise missile submarines. The conversion was achieved by installing vertical launching systems (VLS) in a multiple all-up-round canister (MAC) configuration in 22 of the 24 missile tubes, replacing one Trident missile with 7 smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles. The 2 remaining tubes were converted to lockout chambers for use by special forces personnel. This gave each converted submarine the capability to carry up to 154 Tomahawks. The large diameter tubes can also be modified to carry and launch other payloads, such as UAVs or UUVs.

I also doubt weather Russia will actually build all 12 planed Lider Class.

They might want to do it for the same reason they reactivated them back in the 1980's. Prestige and to show who has the biggest!!!

Frankly I don't think it would be possible to even reactivate any of them any more for the reasons you stated and a few others. But if they really wanted to do it then maybe they could bring back the Wisconsin.

I also doubt that Russia will build 12 Lider Class destroyers. Who calls a 20,000 ton warship a destroyer? Russia also has plans to build up to six nuclear powered aircraft carriers as big or even bigger than a Ford Class carrier, but Russia has no shipyard than can build them as the Soviet shipyard that built the Kuznetsov is in the Ukraine. So if you ask me the Russians will maybe build four Lider Class ships, maybe one for each fleet or split between the Northern and Pacific fleets.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:56 AM
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What's the bet that once China has built up the artificial island bases, and their fleet, they make a move on Taiwan - I give it no more than 20 years unless action is taken earlier to either stop them in their tracks or significantly slow down progress.
Taiwan's been a thorn in China's ego ever since 1949. There's no way they'll let that situation stand for much longer if they have the ability to do something about it and nobody stands up to them.
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Old 11-02-2019, 03:33 AM
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How effective the Kirov's were is a debatable question, but they scared the US Navy enough into reactivating and modifying four Second World War battleships.
Citation needed for that claim, the Iowas were refit and recommissioned because of the perceived "cruiser gap" with the USSR.

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None of these are small ships (their as big as WW2 cruisers), and would your logic not also apply to them?
The US DDGs are very different from the logic behind the Kirovs. They were meant to threaten an area all by themselves. Their endurance let them be a menace to a wide area unless NATO dedicated a lot of resources keeping tabs on them.

The Arleigh Burkes aren't designed or meant to be mini fleets unto themselves. While they can fight independently they are often ASW and AAW pickets for battle groups. The key there is they're part of a battle group.

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If building a warship the size of the Kirov armed to the teeth with missiles could contribute to keeping the US Navy hundreds of miles away from the Chinese coast and Taiwan I think they might build one or two of them.
Like I said, China can build them if they want but big ships without escorts are targets and battle groups are really expensive and have huge logistical tails. They can harass smaller countries in and around the South China Sea but they're unlikely to keep the USN from going where they want.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:14 AM
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Citation needed for that claim, the Iowas were refit and recommissioned because of the perceived "cruiser gap" with the USSR.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirov-class_battlecruiser

" The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s"

Other sources......

* Cold War Cruisers of the Soviet Union Paperback 2010 by Books LLC

* https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...cruisers-54777

* https://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/milita...ip_service.htm


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The US DDGs are very different from the logic behind the Kirovs. They were meant to threaten an area all by themselves. Their endurance let them be a menace to a wide area unless NATO dedicated a lot of resources keeping tabs on them.
The Kirov's were never designed to operate independently, no Soviet surface warships was due to the threat from Western airpower and submarines. However they were capably of doing so in certain conditions due to their heavy missile armaments and nuclear reactor. Some think they could have operated as a commerce raider in the North Atlantic like the German Bismarck, but realistically they were only going to this in Soviet controlled waters well to the north of the GIUK Gap. The chances of any Soviet warship and especially a ship the size of the Kirov penetrating the GIUK Gap in wartime were practically zero. And a Kirov taking on a US Navy carrier battle group by itself is a suicide mission.

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The Arleigh Burkes aren't designed or meant to be mini fleets unto themselves. While they can fight independently they are often ASW and AAW pickets for battle groups. The key there is they're part of a battle group.
The Burkes are multi-role and can be used for a wide range of missions that include air defence and ASW. They also carry Tomahawk LACM and Harpoon ASM.

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Like I said, China can build them if they want but big ships without escorts are targets and battle groups are really expensive and have huge logistical tails. They can harass smaller countries in and around the South China Sea but they're unlikely to keep the USN from going where they want.
The National Interest article specifically mentioned that such hypothetical Chinese warships would operate in waters close to China. That would mean they would be protected by Chinese surveillance, airpower and air defence systems, and probably by alleged Chinese land based anti-ship ballistic missiles. The Chinese would not be trying to stop the US Navy from going were it wanted, just to stop it from interfering in operations close to China. That may include disputed island archipelago's in the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Senkaku Island dispute with Japan. Chinese thinking would be that if it can put up a powerful enough deterrent in the waters around China and keep pushing the radius of that deterrent westwards the US Navy won't risk harming their aircraft carriers when China wants to throw its weight around. That logic is probably seriously flawed for a number of reasons, but don't tell China that!!
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:13 PM
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That logic is probably seriously flawed for a number of reasons, but don't tell China that!!
My guess is they're banking on the lack of political will from most of the world to do anything effective in stopping their expansion.
Militarily they could be given at least a bloody nose in relatively short order, but in today's environment of virtue signalling and "feelings" trumping facts, that's just not very likely.
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:46 PM
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And there's already a precedent, China's annexation of Tibet. It was 70 or so years ago but the Chinese government has a long memory and long term goals.
More recently there was Russia's annexation of Crimea where the rest of the world did little more than say "We don't recognise your claim on Crimea". All we really saw in response was a UN resolution of recognition of Ukraine's claim to Crimea and even then, 58 countries decided to abstain from voting.
I think China sees those results as "encouraging", they don't give tacit approval but they certainly don't offer any resistance to one nation's claims on another nation.
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:53 AM
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China is very patient.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:45 AM
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China is very patient.
That's just China's marketing talking. They're not "patient" the party just knows they've set themselves up to be immune to regime change. They ruling portion of the party can't be removed unless individuals get purged for "corruption".

Their "patience" is not a virtue but instead a symptom of the fact the the government rules without the consent of the governed.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:53 PM
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That may be the case but they certainly have a longer term vision than many other nations. For example, China is the primary source of rare earth elements (REE) in the world, they dominate the market and basically set the prices.
What they have been doing over the last three or so decades is buying REE supplies from other countries and selling them while leaving many of their own deposits untapped. This exhausts the resources from other nations while leaving their own resources largely unused, leaving them in the dominant supplier position ensuring they continue to make big bucks.

I'm not saying this makes the Chinese government better at military planning or projection, just that they do tend to think in terms of decades rather than the three or four years that many Western governments think in (i.e. the time until the next election). That may not be patience, but it does demand some forethought.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:15 PM
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That's just China's marketing talking. They're not "patient" the party just knows they've set themselves up to be immune to regime change. They ruling portion of the party can't be removed unless individuals get purged for "corruption".

Their "patience" is not a virtue but instead a symptom of the fact the the government rules without the consent of the governed.
China is not the CCP. China is the monolithic bureaucracy that has been running things there for 2,200 years. Ruling dynasties have come and gone, modes of government have risen and fallen, but the heart of China's governance has just carried on.

China is patient.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:58 PM
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China is not the CCP. China is the monolithic bureaucracy that has been running things there for 2,200 years. Ruling dynasties have come and gone, modes of government have risen and fallen, but the heart of China's governance has just carried on.

China is patient.
Yeah...no. The imperial bureaucracy is long gone. When the Qing dynasty was fully overthrown in 1911 after the Xinhai revolution the bureaucracy was replaced by the Republican government. What bureaucrats that might have survived the fall of the Qing certainly didn't survive the warlord era, Second World War, and Chinese civil war. The CPC didn't oust the K T until 1949, or 38 years after the fall of the Qing. There was simply no continuity of the bureaucracy during that period.

The CPC has made itself into "China". While they love to trot out the image of some sort of millennial continuity when it makes them look good it's just not true. The members of the standing committee, essentially the CPC nobility, are all descendants of cliques of Mao loyalists (or extended family thereof). The CPC defines Chinese patriotism as loyalty to the CPC, not to an independent civil government. The CPC is also in charge of the PLA so even military service isn't service to the country but to the CPC.

The heart of modern China's governance is the CPC and even ten it's really only the opinions of the standing committee that actually matter. There's no deep state of imperial bureaucrats secretly controlling China, just the CPC.
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:29 PM
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Don't know what to say but
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:01 PM
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Speaking as someone with intimate knowledge of Chinese government (ex was Chinese and her father in the government), there's almost nothing left of the pre-communist organisation. The various purges, cultural revolution, etc put paid to all that!
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:00 AM
RN7 RN7 is offline
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There are a few things that the CCP has in common with the Qing Dynasty, mostly about China's sphere of influence and how it is perceived or expects to be perceived by other countries.

The first is the act of prostration known as the kowtow. Modern China like its Qing Imperial predecessor expects other countries (in Asia) to kowtow to its believed superiority in regards to being the premier power of Asia, just as the Qing Dynasty expected diplomats from other countries including all of Europe's Great Powers, Japan and the USA to accept the superiority of the Emperor of China over their own Monarchs and Presidents. Not surprisingly this didn't work out to well for the Qing, and it is a reason why almost every country in Asia distrusts China and wants the United States to maintain military forces in the Far East.

The second is the believe that all territory that was once part or controlled by China or is inhabited by Chinese people is part of China or within its sphere of influence. The Qing were quite forcible in bringing semi-Independent and rebellious parts of China back into the fold, and in controlling Mongolia, Hainan Island, Formosa, Manchuria and Inner Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Chinese Communists started the ball rolling once again after 1949, with the annexation of Tibet, the war with India over Aksai Chin in 1962, the violent border disputes with Russia in the 1960's, the invasion of Vietnam in 1979, the clampdown on Islamic insurrection in Xinjiang, the building of artificial island fortresses in the South China Sea, the Senkaku Islands dispute with Japan, and of course Taiwan. The Chinese may secretly consider Chinese majority Singapore or maybe Malaysia and Indonesia with significant Chinese populations as part of its sphere of influence. Japan and Taiwan generally get the worst of Chinese propaganda, but other nations can get the treatment if China is in the mood. This is the main reason why almost every country in Asia distrusts China and wants the United States to maintain military forces in the Far East.

Surprisingly the Russians seems to be off limits at present, and they annexed 600,000 square kilometres of Chinese territory in the 19th Century including were the city of Vladivostok is located. Arms and technology imports from Russia and the fact that they have ten times as many nuclear weapons as China is probably the reason for this

The third thing that the CCP has in common with the Qing is revenge on the West and Japan for China's century of humiliation. The Opium Wars, Treaty Ports, Taiping Rebellion, more wars with Britain, France, Japan and Russia, the Boxer Uprising, Japanese invasion of Manchuria and war with Japan running into WW2 didn't go well for China. The collapse of the USSR and the return of Hong Kong and Macau in 1997 probably got the British and Russians out of the firing line, although I suspect that China still has secret ambitions on the Russian Far East and Siberia. America and japan seem to be the focus of their attention, although the fact that America greatly helped China during its darkest hours in WW2 seems to have been forgotten.
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