Steel Nails…

“A good man does not make a warrior, just as good steel does not go for nails.” Confucius (551 to 479 BCE) Confucius, Pinyin romanisation Kongfuzi, or Kongzi, Wade-Giles K’ung-fu-tzu, or K’ung-tzu, original name Kongqiu, literary name Zhongni, was China’s most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have influenced the civilisation of East… Read More


Recounting a Soldier’s Reaction on Being Sent to the Frontline

“Private Xu Xiangyao joined the PLA in his village in Hebei on March 19, 1984. After a few weeks of intensive training, he was assigned to an infantry company in the Thirteenth Army. That summer, his regiment moved south by train. Inside their boxcar, one of twenty-one, no one talked. “We were so nervous and… Read More

The Chinese & Gunpowder

Chinese alchemists discovered gunpowder in the 8th century while they were carrying out experiments to find the elixir of life. By the 10th century, gunpowder was being used to make fireworks and weapons. The Chinese invented the gun, the rocket, the bomb, and the mine. The Song army used guns against the invading Mongols in… Read More

Opium: British Legacy…

“In the 19th century China was defeated in two wars against Britain that were caused by British sales of contraband opium produced from Indian-grown poppies.” (The Economist, 2018, p.41). The Opium Wars were two armed conflicts in China in the mid-19th century between the forces of Western countries and of the Qing dynasty, which ruled… Read More

When was the Rocket Born?

“The first rockets were Chinese. In the 1230s the armies of the Song dynasty, who were fighting Mongol invaders, started launching “fire arrows” propelled by gunpowder some 300 metres into enemy lines. When the Song’s artillerymen realised that these arrows continued to fly straight even after their fiery exhaust had burned away their feathers, they removed the fletching and the… Read More

Guerrillas Supplies…

“The equipment of guerrillas cannot be used on what they want, or even on what they need, but on what is available for their use … Guerrillas must not depend too much on an armoury; the enemy is their principal source of supply.” Mao Tse-Tung (1893 to 1976) Mao was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist,… Read More