Victor Cheng was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University between November 2006 and August 2008. He received a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne in 2002. His research interests include contemporary Chinese history, strategic culture, military decision making and the diffusion of military technology and ideas.
“Strategic Disharmony” and “Grand Strategic Vacuum”: Challenging the
Traditional Perceptions on China’s Strategic Behaviour
China’s national defence preferences have long posed an issue for Western observers and scholars. For generations, the Chinese attitude historically to warfare and violence has been considered markedly pacifistic, and its concomitant military strategies primarily defensive. However, in his book titled Cultural Realism, Harvard’s Alastair Iain Johnston pronounces the surprising conclusion that Chinese strategic decision-making was actually dominated by a culture of hard Realpolitik and did not differ from the Western Realpolitik tradition in any fundamental aspect. The perception of a belligerent China has since attracted much attention and debates in the field. Given the contemporary relevance of the subject vis-a-vis the PRC’s recent military build-up against the West, this project proposes to take a critical stance vis-a-vis the previous scholarship and to test this by carrying out further research on the subject.
“Imagining China’s Madrid in Manchuria: The Communist Military Strategy at the Onset of the Chinese Civil War, 1945-46.” Modern China, Vol. 31 No. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 72-114.
“Ershi shiji jiushi niandai de zhanlüe wenhua” (English title: The Theories of Strategic Culture in the 1990s: Retrospection & Preview), Co-author with Professor S. L. Tsang, Jinan daxue xuebao, zexue shehui kexue ban (Journal of Jinan University, Philosophy & Social Science Edition), 24: 4 (July 2002): 1-12. The research of this article was supported by a grant from the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Project no. CUHK4311/00H).
Book review on Mao: the Unknown Story, by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, Arena Magazine: The Australian Magazine of Left Political, Social and Cultural Commentary, No. 80, pp. 54-55. Visit: http://www.arena.org.au/ (new window)
Book review on Political Leaders of Modern China: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by Edwin Pak-wah Leung; and Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Civil War, by Edwin Pak-wah Leung, The China Journal, No. 54, pp. 204-05.
Book review on China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall
and the Long March, by Andrew Scobell, The China Journal, No.
53, pp. 245-46.
Book review on Modern Chinese Warfare, 1795-1989, by Bruce A. Elleman, The China Journal, No. 53, pp. 238-40.
Book review on Chinese Warfighting: The PLA Experience since 1949, edited by Mark A. Ryan, David M. Finkelstein and Michael A. McDevitt, The China Journal, No. 53, pp. 246-48.
Book review on A Military History of China edited by David A. Graff and Robin Higham, The China Journal, No. 50, pp. 226-28.