By Liu Yushu Source: People's Daily Online Published: 2019-4-15
The holistic view of national security in China was first proposed five years ago, but few open resources report the development of China's national security system. In April 2014, while presiding over the first meeting of the National Security Commission of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the need to adhere to a holistic view of national security and explore a "national security path with Chinese characteristics."
Such a holistic approach calls for a focus on both internal and external security. Internally, it is essential to promote development, continue reform, maintain stability, and create a safe environment. Externally, we should promote international peace, seek cooperation and mutual benefit, and strive to bring harmony to the world. Homeland security and the security of our citizens are both of paramount importance. All initiatives taken in this respect will be people-centric, and implemented for the people, based on the people’s needs, and with the support of the people. Over the past five years, China's national security reforms have moved toward transparency, sustainability, and diversity.
Building a transparent national security system
Just as CNN reported in 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made the anti-corruption campaign his No.1 mission since he became the general secretary of the Communist Party of China. Corruption inside the government has raised serious questions about the efficacy of its self-regulation. While persistent housecleaning is conducive to the government's image and legitimacy, well-thought-out mechanisms are a more reliable solution.
In the past five years, China has made significant progress in building a clean government, showing self-discipline and restraining relatives and associates. Notably, China has established reform which regulates national security power. Today, national security issues are no longer mysterious in China, and in the future, national security agencies in China will be more transparent and widely supervised by the people.
For example, on March 18, China's State Council Information Office published a white paper titled "The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang." The white paper officially claimed that China slammed extremist forces and prevented separatist activities in Xinjiang. It stands as the first time that China has publicly announced the country’s anti-terrorism position and has made a powerful counterattack against Western rumors about Xinjiang.
Developing a sustainable security strategy
The rapid development of digital technology changed everything. The holistic view of national security stressed that China’s national security strategy should avoid becoming obsolete or unsustainable. China must value both homeland security and the safety of its people, and the protection of Chinese citizens should be prioritized. The holistic view of national security emphasizes that “only the people-centered national security strategy can rally support from its people.”
Anti-globalization, terrorism and regional conflicts over the past decade have brought sharp challenges to the international order and safety of humankind. The devastating global financial crisis and long-term cross-continental economic depression fundamentally changed the cornerstone of national security. As the largest developing country in the world, security in China not only means military and homeland safety but also relates to the people's psychological perception, family happiness, job safety, and ecology environment safety. China is attemptinged to re-define the concept of national security.
China coordinates the security strategy transformation steps with political, economic, and military reform to avoid the radical strategic changes which could threaten social stability. The holistic view of national security describes a blueprint of how China should face internal and external security challenges over the coming decades.
Uniting diverse partners to promote global security
According to the holistic view of national security, China will not only pay attention to its own safety but also collective security. China will seek to form a community of common destiny and promote all involved parties to find mutual benefit, interests and common security. The holistic view of national security points out that “Domestically, China will pursue development, reform, stability and foster a safe environment, and externally, the country will seek peace, cooperation, a win-win situation, and a harmonious world.” Diverse cooperation creates a synergy of power from different countries and organizations. This is particularly useful when trying to find solutions to perplexing problems such as cross-border anti-terrorism operations or multilateral safety crises.
Traditional security is not the main problem in China anymore. The holistic view of national security not only focuses on current threats and past commitments; it is the compass of future needs. Skip back through history, and militaristic unilateralism dominated most national strategies. However, more evidence now shows that this is not an effective way to preserve national security. The holistic view of national security seeks extensive multilaterallism cooperation.
The key to national security in China is connected to Chinese economic development. Long-term trends in economic growth are the core pillars of national security. However, unilateral security actions will incur severe burdens on the Chinese economy. As the Belt and Road Initiative continues to grow, China will become more attentive to the costs of external security expenditures and will seek out multiform partners.
This year, April 15 marks the 4th National Security Education Day. China has organized “National Safety Education Courses for all Students” to carry out national security publicity and community education activities. Over the past five years, the National Security Commission has solved many problems that had long remained unsolved, and finished tasks that had long remained incomplete. National security is now stronger. The Commission has the upper hand in preserving national security.
In the future, China will strengthen publicity and education surrounding national security, raise national security awareness across the whole nation, and promote a community of shared future for humankind.
The author is a research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University, China.