To many in the United States, China looms large and threatening. This monograph attempts to answer, through an analysis of China's defense establishment under the leadership of Jiang Zemin, questions such as: What are the national security and national military goals of China's leaders? What strategies are Chinese leaders considering in pursuit of these goals? What is the likelihood that these goals will be attained? It assesses the political and economic determinants of China s effort to modernize its armed forces. Four possible strategies are outlined: (1) playing the superpower game," (2) playing to its strengths," (3) changing the rules of the game," or (4) don t play that game." The factors that will determine the selection of a strategy are examined. The most likely strategy is identified and its outcome of evaluated. Lastly, the implications of the study for the U.S. defense community are addressed.