The Cyber-Cave

Reflections on the political, technological, cultural and economic trends of the world

Politics in China

Chinese saying: “The mountains are high and the emperor is far away”


In 2003 the Central Military Commission approved the ‘Three Warfares’ policy to be executed by the PLA. The ‘three warfares’ include: ‘lawfare’ (such as the case in favour of the artificially created island), psychological (such as threatening countries in the South China Sea with sanctions and by harassing their fishermen) and media (supporting the ‘China model’).

Chinese military strategy is influenced by the ancient tradition of the stratagem. An important text of this genre is the so-called “Thirty-six stratagems”. Most of these stratagems have to do with techniques of deception. Many of these stratagems originate from the battles of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). However it is not yet clear when the actual body of the “Thirty-six stratagems” was written nor is it clear who the author/s was. The first mention of this text is made during the Southern Qi Dynasty (479-502 AD) in the “Nan Qi Shi” (a history book of the Southern Qi Dynasty).
According to some historians, the choice of the number ’36’ has to do with the numerology of the ‘I-Ching’ [1].
Some notable examples from the “Thirty-six stratagems”:
Hide your dagger behind a smile: Charm and ingratiate yourself to your enemy. When you have gained his trust, you move against him in secret.
Beat The Grass To Startle The Snake: When you cannot detect the opponent’s plans launch a direct, but brief, attack and observe your opponent reactions. His behavior will reveal his strategy.
Tie Silk Blossoms to the Dead Tree: Tying silk blossoms on a dead tree gives the illusion that the tree is healthy. Through the use of artifice and disguise make something of no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use, useful.
The Strategy of Injuring Yourself: Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself to your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.
[translations by Verstappen]


Malaysian companies intend to use the Chinese port of Qinzhou as a global hub for trading hallal products like meat.

[1] “36 Stratagems Plus: Illustrated by International Cases” by S. T Douglas S. Tung and Teresa K. Tung, Teresa Tung, Douglas S. Tung  (pg.xvi, Trafford 2010).

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