Jeffrey LewisReuters: Zhu Chenghu Disciplined

Reuters reports that Chinese General Zhu “I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons” Chenghu received an “administrative demerit” recently from the National Defense University, barring him from promotion for one year.

An administrative demerit is the second lightest punishment on a scale of one to five, but still potentially damaging to an officer’s career. The lightest is an administrative warning, while the heaviest is expulsion.

“His chances for promotion in the future are extremely slim,” another source said.

I’ll actually want to check this with some folks at the Guofang Daxue.

Stephanie Lieggi has a perfectly reasonable discussion of Zhu in a CNS Issue Brief entitled, Going Beyond the Stir: The Strategic Realities of China’s No-First-Use Policy:

Despite some media reports touting Zhu as a “top general,” Zhu is not considered to be a significant figure in the policy-making apparatus that controls military planning and nuclear doctrine. In making his comments, the general—dean in charge of international fellows at China’s NDU—is therefore commenting from outside of the policy-making system. In this context, Zhu’s remarks could be seen as an illustration of China’s public determination regarding its “break-away province.” It is not, however, an indication of a dramatic shift in policy, nor—as was true in the often misquoted “Los Angeles” statement—a direct offensive threat to the United States.

Lieggi does a great job of providing a “careful analysis of official Chinese positions and recent trends in Chinese nuclear weapons modernization” to “suggest Major General Zhu Chenghu’s remarks do not provide any new clues to China’s nuclear doctrine, nor do they indicate a move towards building a more offense-capable and war-fighting nuclear posture.”

Of course, I am also partial to my own discussion of China’s no-first-use pledge (Minimum Means of Reprisal, pp. 45-51), emphasizing the expression of no first use in Chinese doctrine, training and force structure.


  1. dan (History)

    yeah, but you still just can’t trust those zhus.