Without question, the Chinese military has made substantial technological advances over the past 25 years as the country’s economy grew and as more resources were allocated to modernizing forces.

But translations of internal communications among Chinese civilian and military leaders reveal that there are doubts that the military is capable of meeting and defeating a modern enemy and that these doubts go back for years.

According to an analysis by War on the Rocks which was based on testimony presented to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 7, “A large body of evidence in China’s official military and party media indicates the nation’s senior civilian and uniformed leaders recognize significant shortcomings in the warfighting and command capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“However, most of this evidence is not translated into English for public consumption and is not considered in much of the foreign analysis of China’s growing military capabilities. This situation is not new, but goes back for decades,” the analysis says.

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