|Jurisdiction||People's Liberation Army|
|Parent department||Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission|
The Intelligence Bureau of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission (Chinese: 中央军委联合参谋部情报局), formerly the Intelligence Bureau of the General Staff or the 2nd Bureau, is the principal military intelligence department of the PLA. It is one of the three major employers of Chinese foreign operatives.
The Chinese Communist Party established an Intelligence Bureau (later called the General Intelligence Department) under its Central Military Commission in 1931. In 1950, it became part of the PLA General Staff (until 1954 known as the "General Staff of the People's Revolutionary Military Committee"), and was referred to as "the 2nd Bureau" (the PLA adopted the numbering system of most continental European armies for staff bureaus).
During the rule of Mao Zedong, and especially under the leadership of General Liu Shaowen (Director of the Intelligence Bureau from 1954 to 1967), the 2nd Bureau was active in funding, arming and training dozens of Asian, African and Latin American militant groups and liberation movements; especially in the case of Africa, the Intelligence Bureau "supplied, at one time or another, nearly all of the various African liberation movements with arms, money, food and medicines". Among those who received military training were Pol Pot (leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia) and Abimael Guzmán (leader of the Shining Path in Peru).
From the early 1970s and until the end of the Cold War, beginning with the tactical alliance of Mao Zedong and U.S. President Richard Nixon to jointly oppose the Soviet Union, the 2nd Bureau unofficially collaborated with the American CIA in certain cases, most notably in Afghanistan, where Chinese intelligence (both civilian and military) played a central role in funding, arming and training Afghan guerrillas against the Soviets. From 1980 to 1984 the cost of Chinese support totaled approximately $400 million. In a joint operation of the 2nd Bureau and the Ministry of State Security, Chinese assistance expanded to eventually include heavy machine guns, mortars, recoilless rifles, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft artillery.
In January 2016, as part of the ongoing reform of national defense and the military, the Intelligence Bureau of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Staff Department was abolished and the Intelligence Bureau of the Joint Staff of the Central Military Commission was established.