The Dragon's Teeth

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army—Its History, Traditions, and Air Sea and Land Capability in the 21st Century

Benjamin Lai

An illuminating look at today's Chinese armed forces, taking into consideration their costly history, as well as the marvel of new technological capability and training that they believe will not place them on a losing side again . . .
Publication date:
August 2016
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
16pp photos
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612003887

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
This book is available
ISBN : 9781636240572

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
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• Uniquely, the author provides perspective on both the Chinese side of military development as well as the Western context it now challenges
• One cannot understand the motivations of the PLA without knowing its history, most often of defeats in the face of the West, and how it is determined that those days are past
• Analyzes the geopolitical problems for which the current PLA has been constructed, and why the Chinese don't expect failure in the future

When Mao Zedong proclaimed The People's Republic of China in 1949, China was a poor and wrecked society after years of continuous wars. For centuries, in fact, China had been seen as a sort of plunder-zone to be invaded, and then a backwater until the late 1980s, when domestic policy brought about monumental changes. The result was that in the past quarter-century China has grown to be the second largest economy in the world, and its military has grown proportionately.

Successive decades of economic growth have transformed China—in addition to the weapons revolution during the computer age—so that by now the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has become a modern fighting force. No longer having to rely on massed infantry attacks, it now features a formidable arsenal including nuclear submarines, ICBMs, stealth fighters, and modern battle tanks. Perhaps ominously for other maritime powers, the Chinese have also focused on beyond-the-horizon missile technology, as well as anti-aircraft systems, and have also explored the possibilities of cyber-warfare.

What is today's PLA really like? What are its traditions and histories, and how is it armed and equipped? How does it recruit and train? This book describes some of the lesser known battles and wars the Chinese have undertaken, and the development of their key weapons systems. The United States, having opened the door to "drone warfare,” have had an attentive audience for such technologies in Beijing.

The last chapter provides thoughts on how the Chinese view matters of security. It is not yet known whether foreign powers can still enforce their territorial wills on China, but future attempts will meet an increased challenge. This book will be of interest not only to general readers but to policy-makers and militaries in the West, who may not yet realize that a new China has replaced the old.


The title of the book, the Dragon's Teeth, refers to the People's Liberation Army, and author Benjamin Lal tells the unprecedented story of its formation, its strengths and weaknesses, its exploits since its formation and the force it represents should a foreign power attempt to encroach on its terrain. Unparalleled information on the force and its history through the last seventy-five years.
Books Monthly

I found the book to be an extremely comprehensive read...a well-researched, and well-sourced history of the Chinese military.

Many of us will know about Russian, US and NATO armed forces, so very interesting to see this level of detail on the modern Chinese PLA. It has put China in a very different position from old.
Military Model Scene