The China Documentation Center (CDC) was established as an international scholarly resource and a national central repository of Chinese language publications concerning military, national security, politics, society, economy, law, and foreign relations of the People's Republic of China. The initial strengths of the CDC were in the areas of military, national security and foreign affairs, but over time it has grown to include a range of materials concerning contemporary Chinese politics, economy, law, and society.
The CDC was established in 2002 and opened for use in July 2003. Located adjacent to the National Security Archive and the Taiwan Resource Center of Gelman Library, the CDC has open stack access for users. As Gelman Library is normally restricted for use only by GWU faculty and students, researchers not possessing a George Washington University ID should telephone the Reading Room staff (202-994-7105) in advance of their visit in order to be given access into the Library.
The CDC is a unique resource for research. With currently over 100,000 Chinese language books and backsets of approximately 70 periodicals and newspapers, and a lesser number of specialized English language studies, the CDC is the largest such repository specializing in PRC national security and foreign affairs in the world (outside of China). Its specialized holdings on contemporary Chinese politics and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are also considerable. A recent acquisition of specialized books on Chinese law has further strengthened the collection. The vast majority of publications in the collection are from the period since 1990, although it also contains materials from the 1970s and 1980s.
CDC holdings on international affairs and Chinese foreign policy include Chinese studies on all of China's principal bilateral and regional relationships-including with the United States, Russia and former Soviet Union, Europe, Japan, Northeast and Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and the Middle East, and Latin America. There are also a number of histories and textbooks on PRC foreign relations. There are also monographs on various foreign countries and regions, as well as yearbooks and complete runs of periodicals (dating back to the 1950s in some cases) such as Xiandai Guoji Guanxi, Guoji Wenti Yanjiu, Guoji Liaowang, Guoji Zhanlue Yanjiu, Heping yu Fazhan, Shijie Jingji yu Zhengzhi, Zhanlue yu Guanli, Shijie Zhishi, Meiguo Yanjiu, Yatai Yanjiu, and others. A complete run of the People's University monthly reprint series Zhongguo Waijiao (China's Foreign Relations) since 1983 is also available.
CDC holdings on contemporary Chinese military affairs and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are unparalleled. The book holdings include specific studies on a wide range of subjects, including: grand strategy; threat perceptions; conventional force military doctrine; nuclear doctrine; command and control; force structure; operations; tactics; training; communications; intelligence; military education; weapons procurement; the defense industrial establishment; military science and technology; information warfare; electronic warfare; logistics; finance and budget; arms control; party-army and civil-military relations; air defense; ground forces; air forces; naval forces; nuclear forces; militia and paramilitary forces. In addition to books on these military subjects, the CDC also includes a large number of encyclopedias and a considerable number of PLA periodicals Of particular note, the CDC contains backsets of all seven Chinese military region (MR) newspapers; the newspapers of the PLA Navy, Air Force, and Second Artillery, and People's Armed Police; and the Liberation Army Daily. These are the only such sets of newspapers outside of China and in any single collection. The CDC also has several years of the (now discontinued) People's University monthly reprint series monthly Zhongguo Junshi (China's Military).
Its holdings on the Chinese Communist Party and contemporary Chinese politics are one of the best in the United States. It includes many neibu publications. Its particular strengths are in CCP history; biographies; organizational work; propaganda; and local CCP work. There are also a number of volumes concerning the government (States Council) and People's Congress systems.
The China Documentation Center continues to expand its holdings from various sources, including the acquisition of newly published materials from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Over time the China Documentation Center will continually grow and flourish as a major archival resource, attracting researchers from across the United States and around the world. Individual and institutional contributions to the collection are welcome and are tax deductible. Such individual donations have been an important source for building the collection. The CDC is supplemented by Gelman Library's significant English and foreign language collection of publications on modern and contemporary China.