People’s Liberation Army Major General Zhu Chenghu (Êú±ÊàêËôé) shocked foreign correspondents in Beijing last week when he said that China could use nuclear weapons against the US in the event of any military conflict with the US over Taiwan, adding that “we Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all cities east of Xian. Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”
Although Zhu’s belligerent tone has drawn US condemnation, Beijing has yet to respond except to say that “Zhu was merely expressing his personal views.” It is hardly surprising that in an authoritarian nation such as China, soldiers should seek to stand out by their hawkish views. The Chinese leadership is apparently reluctant to condemn Zhu’s words because he is simply expressing their own thoughts. It is also hard to imagine that he spoke out without official approval.