''Power machine'' ... Liu Yuan stands to the right of Mao Tse Tung as the Chinese leader meets his family in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Liu Yuan stands to the right of Mao Tse Tung as the Chinese leader greets his family in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

A RISING star of the People's Liberation Army has called for China to rediscover its ''military culture'', while challenging unnamed Communist Party leaders for betraying their revolutionary heritage.

General Liu Yuan displays deep hostility to the United States, says war is a natural extension of economics and politics and claims that ''man cannot survive without killing''.

His essay, in a friend's book, says ''history is written by blood and slaughter'' and describes the nation-state as ''a power machine made of violence''.

General Liu Yuan ... ''History is written by blood and slaughter.''

General Liu Yuan ... ''History is written by blood and slaughter.''

General Liu's glorification of what he sees as an innate but previously suppressed military culture reveals an undercurrent driving the Communist Party's increasing assertiveness.

His essay emerges at an awkward time internationally. The army chief-of-staff, Chen Bingde, travelled to Washington last week with reassurances about China's peaceful intentions.

President Hu Jintao promoted General Liu this year to be political commissar of the PLA's general logistics department after making him a full general in 2009, and some expect he will receive a two-stage promotion into the central military commission, the military's top leadership body.

General Liu is an important leader among the ''princelings'' whose parents founded the People's Republic and are now claiming dominant positions in politics, business and the military. His father was Liu Shaoqi, who was Chairman Mao Zedong's anointed successor until Mao's Red Guards threw him in jail and left him to die.