Research: Security and Foreign Affairs
The Chinese Military’s Role in Overseas Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief: Contributions and Concerns
Over the past two decades, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its involvement in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) missions outside China’s borders. Through its contributions to HA/DR, Beijing has provided important assistance to disaster-stricken populations and sought to burnish its image as a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. At the same time, Beijing routinely allows political considerations to guide its participation in HA/DR missions, violating the humanitarian spirit of these operations and suggesting Chinese leaders may view HA/DR less as a global good than an instrument of influence. Moreover, the PLA has cooperated haltingly with international partners during these missions and at times willfully disregarded best practices for military participation in HA/DR. This report examines the drivers behind the PLA’s increasing participation in HA/DR abroad; the impact, both positive and problematic, of the PLA’s involvement in several recent multinational disaster relief operations; and the implications of the PLA’s involvement in and approach to these missions for the United States.
Hong Kong's Proposed Extradition Bill Could Extend Beijing's Coercive Reach: Risks for the United States
In April 2019, the Hong Kong government formally proposed an extradition bill that would—if passed into law—increase the territory’s susceptibility to Beijing’s political coercion and further erode Hong Kong’s autonomy. The bill, which followed a minimal public comment period and could face a final vote before July 2019, would amend Hong Kong’s laws to allow ad hoc extraditions to mainland China and over 100 countries and territories without mutual extradition arrangements with Hong Kong. In addition to further intruding into Hong Kong’s affairs, the proposed bill could create serious risks for U.S. national security and economic interests in Hong Kong, and potentially violate several key provisions of the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which outlines U.S. policy toward the territory. This issue brief provides background on the bill and observers’ concerns with the proposal, risks posed to U.S. interests in Hong Kong, and considerations for Congress.
China seeks to become an international leader in space, or what it terms a “space power in all respects.” In this role, Beijing aspires to lead international space-related innovation and exploration and establish an advanced system of infrastructure to serve its space sector. China has suffered some setbacks on projects crucial for the progression of program milestones, such as its heavy-lift launch vehicle program, and still lags behind the United States in its human spaceflight and space station program. Nevertheless, China’s space program is a source of national pride, and its consistent high level of political support and funding ensures progress toward establishing itself as a space power. In 2003, China joined the United States and Russia as a member of the exclusive group of countries to have conducted human spaceflight, and since then it has nearly completed a new, rival global navigation satellite system (GNSS)—set for completion in 2020—and demonstrated its willingness to undertake high-risk, high-reward missions, as reflected by its historic landing on the moon’s far side in 2019. China is likely to achieve future milestones in areas where it is lagging behind international standards on shorter timetables than when the United States accomplished similar missions. This report examines China’s space goals and national space strategy; its progress toward those goals, including an examination of China’s progress in its advanced launch vehicle, long-term crewed space station, and lunar exploration programs; and the primary entities involved in setting and implementing its space policy. Finally, the report assesses the implications of China’s space program for the United States and its continued leadership in space.
China's Missile Program and Potential U.S. Withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
The Trump Administration cited China as a major reason behind its decision to announce U.S. intentions to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. China is not a party to the INF Treaty, which has allowed Beijing to rapidly expand its missile arsenal as part of a military strategy designed to counter U.S. and allied military power in Asia. China has consistently refused to accede to the accord and expressed its opposition to U.S. withdrawal, positions that implicitly recognize the advantages Beijing derives from being unconstrained by the treaty’s limits. This report explains the importance of China’s ground-launched missiles to Beijing’s overall military strategy; surveys Chinese reactions to the potential U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty; and assesses both the positive and negative implications of U.S. withdrawal for the military balance in Asia, global arms control regime, U.S. relations with Asian allies, and China-Russia ties.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission invites submission of proposals to provide a one-time unclassified report on China’s space and counterspace capabilities and activities. Electronic or hard-copy proposals must be submitted by 5:00PM (EST) on February 20, 2019.