Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Keith Payne


China, education, economy, soft power, strategy, military

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


China has significantly increased its investments in, and output from, its institutions of higher education over the last two decades. This has been the product of deliberate policy on the part of the Chinese government. These reforms will affect four strategic aspects of China's national power: its economy, internal stability, soft power, and military. In economic terms, China's economy stands to benefit by transitioning to a knowledge economy, possibly coming into competition with high technology industries in the U.S. China's growing number of college graduates will influence Chinese leaders' policy making, possibly accelerating political reforms that are in the U.S.'s interests. As China's university system modernizes, aiming to attract more foreign students, Beijing will be able to influence more future leaders around the world by winning their "hearts and minds.” The Chinese military is leveraging civilian higher education reforms to its benefit. This includes conducting defense technology research and educating soldiers at civilian schools. This will increase the People's Liberation Army's capability to fight modern wars, with implications for U.S. regional influence and deterrence.


© Philip John Keller

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