In 2003, the China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) approved the guiding conceptual umbrella for information operations for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – the “Three Warfares” (san zhong zhanfa). The Doklam incident proves that China has fully operationalized this concept. See how
The concept is based on three mutually reinforcing strategies:
1. Media Warfare to influence domestic and international public opinion to build public (domestic) and international support for china’s military action and to dissuade an adversary from pursuing policies perceived to be adverse to china’s interests.
This is reason for China’s daily press briefings and the constant barrage (through official media) official and un-official statements.
2. Psychological Warfare to undermine an enemy’s ability to conduct combat operations through psychological operations aimed at deterring, shocking and demoralizing enemy military personnel and supporting civilian population.
This is the reason for reminding India of 1962 War or declaring that China will interfere in J&K or liberate Sikkim, etc.
3. Legal Warfare. Intending to use international and domestic laws to gain international support and manage possible repercussions of china’s military actions.
This is the reason China uses a lot of universities, think tanks and ancient treaties and laws. Their institutions constantly churn out scholarly articles defending Chinese stand on various issues. This gives them a garb of legitimacy.
While we feel that China is speaking a lot about Doklam and it is serious about it, the actual truth that this issue is not even in the list of top 50 trending issues on Weibo, which is China’s Twitter and has a following of 560 million.
While Indian media daily feeds us information which looks like we are about to go to war, China’s citizens are not even aware of the issue. And that’s the power of “Three Warfares” concept. It’s designed to do this to India.
Some of the successful use of this Three Warfare Concept in the recent past are:-
South China Sea .Despite the ruling of International Court of Justice which went against China, they managed to convince Phillipines to ignore the ruling and more or less backtrack on its claims.