Demystifying Shashoujian: China's 'Assassin's Mace' Concept

December 2005
Jason Bruzdzinski, The MITRE Corporation
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In the absence of a comprehensive base of knowledge or intellectual debate on shashoujian, this chapter seeks to develop a baseline for understanding shashoujian in the context of current People's Republic of China (PRC) military affairs and aspirations for transformation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the early 21st century. To this end, this chapter will seek initial responses to three fundamental questions:

  1. What are the historical origins of shashoujian and what does the term mean in a military context?
  2. How has shashoujian emerged as a topic of significance within the Chinese national defense establishment?
  3. How might shashoujian satisfy Chinese national defense requirements?


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