The US Defense Department's 2020 China Military Power Report is exaggerated to say the least, aimed as it is at adding steam to the United States' claim of "China being a hazard to security". Compared with the 2019 report, the over-200-page China Military Power Report for 2020 has a new chapter－on the People's Liberation Army's growing global presence.
The new chapter is, to put it simply, an addition to Washington's old trick of hyping the "China threat" theory to mislead the international community about the modernization of China's military by claiming it can harm the interests of other countries while ignoring, among other things, the PLA's increasing contributions to UN peacekeeping missions and escorting of cargo vessels on the high seas.
The report says: "China has already achieved parity with－or even exceeded－the United States in several military modernization areas, including shipbuilding, land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defense systems." But when talking about the two militaries' power, the Department of Defense's report blurs facts by counting numbers instead of analyzing their comparative strengths, in order to promote its anti-China propaganda.
Using shipbuilding as an example, the report says, "China has the world's largest navy with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships" while "the US Navy has approximately 293 ships as of early 2020", by conveniently omitting the fact that the US has the highest number of carrier strike groups and most advanced warships and submarines in the world.
The US report highlights three special issues－"China's 2019 defense white paper", "PLA's approach toward informatization and intelligentizaiton", and "emerging military campaign concepts". That the US report focuses on China's military modernization, particularly on "informatization and intelligentizaiton" development and application in future wars, implies that China's military has modernized so fast that it has become a threat to other countries.
Analyzing the four "military options" the Chinese mainland has to realize national reunification with Taiwan, the report suggests the possibility of the mainland using military force against Taiwan is higher. Hence, the report says, the US should help Taiwan to develop defense capability and/or step up military interactions with and arms sales to the island.
The US is the world's top military power and has by far the largest defense budget, yet the Defense Department has fused facts with misconceptions in the 2020 China Military Power Report to crystallize its delusion about "China threat". By the way, the US has been issuing such a report every year using the same tricks since 2000 (except in 2001),
Different from the realistic report that is confidential information for policymakers, the publicly released China Military Power Report is a propaganda tool the US administration can use to prompt the US Congress to increase the defense budget and gain public support for its bellicose policies, while scaring US allies and other countries into deepening military cooperation and inking more arms deals with Washington.
The publicly released China Military Power Report can also be used as a strategic intelligence tool for deceiving and misleading the international community about China-related facts.
China's military development is aimed at safeguarding peace and development, not at threatening other countries. And China is modernizing its military so it can better protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, not to threaten other countries. But since the US' move is aimed at soiling China's international image, China should take measures to show the world its true, peaceful self by holding regular military communication with other countries and making more contributions to global peace and development.
The author is a professor and executive director of the Institute of Strategy and Security, National University of Defense Technology. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.