China's security commission targets Western values, other 'unconventional' threats

February 12, 2014

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent

BEIJING--China’s new national security commission will focus on thwarting “unconventional” threats against the Communist Party’s rule, such as terrorism and the influence of Western ideologies, sources said.

The Communist Party aims to use the commission to ensure stability of the state and the administration—and to prevent China from becoming the site of demonstrations similar to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East, observers said.

The party’s Central Politburo on Jan. 24 formally endorsed the decision to establish the commission. It was proposed in autumn last year during the third plenary session of the Communist Party Central Committee.

The role and authority of the national security commission have yet to be made public, but the people named to lead the commission have been disclosed, and they underscore the extreme importance attached to the new entity.

President Xi Jinping was appointed head of the commission, while Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, the top legislator, will be Xi’s deputies.

Li Wei, director of the Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the commission’s main role will be to handle unconventional security, as opposed to “conventional security,” which covers military threats posed by foreign nations.

Unconventional security relates to a broad spectrum of threats that could undermine national stability, such as terrorism, financial crises, natural disasters and infectious diseases.

National Defense University professor Gong Fangbin said the new commission will deal with at least four types of threats: cultural, Internet-related, terrorism-related and ideological.

He said Western value systems, which emphasize freedom and democracy, have dominated the world since the Cold War ended, and the online spread of these values fueled momentum for the overthrow of governments in the Arab Spring uprisings.

“Chinese youths are also being converted by Hollywood films,” Gong said.

The Xi administration is already tightening its control on ideology. It spared no effort in cracking down on China’s New Citizens’ Movement because the government saw a new type of “threat” calling for a civil society that gained currency via the Internet.

Several party officials and diplomatic sources said the national security commission will enlist the help of the party’s propaganda department and the government’s Internet control division, along with the departments in charge of financial affairs and public health.

The military is expected to tie up with state security departments under the direction of the new national security commission to deal with acts of international terrorism and other situations.

The Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, which Xi heads, is expected to continue playing a leading role in the domain of conventional security.

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent
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Chinese President Xi Jinping, foreground, and Premier Li Keqiang (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, foreground, and Premier Li Keqiang (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, foreground, and Premier Li Keqiang (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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