Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Gōng'ānbù
Badge of the People's Police (Since 1983)

Ministry of Public Security Headquarters
Agency overview
Formed1954; 70 years ago (1954)
Preceding agency
TypeConstituent Department of the State Council (cabinet-level),
National level police and counterintelligence agency
JurisdictionGovernment of China
HeadquartersNo. 14 East Chang'an Street, Beijing,100741
Motto"Be loyal to the Party, Serve the People, Be impartial in law enforcement, and strict in discipline"
Employees1.9 million
Minister responsible
Deputy Ministers responsible
Agency executives
  • Ren Airong, Leader of the Discipline Inspection & Supervision Team Dispatched from the CCDI & the NSC
  • Feng Yan, Politics Supervisor
  • Chen Siyuan, the Assistant to the Minister
Parent departmentCentral Political and Legal Affairs Commission
Central National Security Commission
Parent agencyState Council
Child agencies Edit this at Wikidata

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS, Chinese: 公安部; pinyin: Gōng'ānbù)[note 1] is a government ministry of the People's Republic of China responsible for public and political security. It oversees more than 1.9 million of the country's law enforcement officers and as such the vast majority of the People's Police. While the MPS is a nationwide police force, conducting counterintelligence and maintaining the political security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remain its core functions.[1][2][3]


The ministry's functions include intelligence gathering, counterintelligence and maintaining political security.[4]: 40  It has the primary authority for preventing cyberattacks and it operates the Golden Shield Project.[4]: 143 

The ministry was established in 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party's victory in the Chinese Civil War as the successor to the Central Social Affairs Department and was known as Ministry of Public Security of the Central People's Government until 1954.[5] Grand General Luo Ruiqing of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) served as its first minister. As the ministry's organization was based on Soviet and Eastern Bloc models, it was responsible for all aspects of national security; ranging from regular police work to intelligence, counterintelligence and the suppression of anti-CCP political and social sentiments.[5][6] Military intelligence affairs remained with the General Staff Department, while the CCP's International Department was active in fomenting revolutionary tendencies worldwide by funneling weapons, money and resources into various pro-CCP movements.[7]

The ministry employs a system of public security bureaus throughout the provinces, cities, municipalities and townships of China. The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau maintain nominally separate police forces. The ministry is headed by the minister of public security. Wang Xiaohong has been the minister in charge since June 2022.[8]


See also: Chinese intelligence activity abroad, Operation Fox Hunt, and Operation Sky Net

The Ministry of Public Security was among the first government organs established in the PRC. It superseded the Ministry of Public Security of the CCP's Central Military Commission (CMC), a transitional body created in July 1949 by removing the security service remit from the CCP's Central Social Affairs Department (SAD). The MPS began operations on 1 November 1949, at the end of a two-week-long National Conference of Senior Public Security Cadres. Most of its initial staff of less than 500 cadres came from the (former) regional CCP North China Department of Social Affairs. At the national level, its creation signaled the formal abolition of the SAD. The ministry moved to its present location, in the heart of the one-time foreign legation quarters in Beijing, in the spring of 1950.[9]

The MPS's Guangzhou office historically handled foreign spies such as Larry Wu-tai Chin.[1]

With the creation of the Ministry of State Security (MSS) in July 1983, MPS lost much of its counterintelligence personnel and remit.[1] Scholars Jichang Lulu and Filip Jirouš have argued that the establishment of the MSS "may have contributed to the illusion that the MPS is simply a law-enforcement police body, separate from intelligence agencies."[2] According to analyst Alex Joske, "the MPS lost much of its foreign intelligence remit after the MSS's creation, but has established new units for cross-border clandestine operations since then."[1] The MPS remains a commonly used cover by MSS officers.[10]

Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, the MPS worked to counter Operation Yellowbird.[2]

The MPS and its officers have been active abroad in Operation Fox Hunt and Operation Sky Net.[11][12][13] The MPS under Sun Lijun had reporters from The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong under "full operational surveillance" for their reporting of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.[14][1]

In 2017, Europol signed a "strategic cooperation agreement" with the MPS.[15][2] Starting in 2019, the MPS began replacing "domestic security" with "political security" in the names of its units.[2] In 2020, the United States Department of Commerce added the MPS Institute of Forensic Science to the Entity List over human rights issues related to the Uyghur genocide.[16] The institute was removed from the list in 2023 as part of an agreement during the APEC United States 2023 to combat fentanyl trafficking.[17]

MPS has at times been involved in security diplomacy between China and other countries.[18]: 219–220  For example, between 1997 and 2020, it organized 11 bilateral police diplomacy meetings with African countries.[18]: 220  Under Xi Jinping, MPS has increased its training of police officers from other countries.[18]: 241 

In 2022, it was reported that the MPS had established numerous overseas police service stations, which sparked investigations by law enforcement organs in multiple countries.[19][20][21] In 2023, the United States Department of Justice stated that the MPS engages in covert "intelligence and national security operations far beyond China's borders," including "illicit, transnational repression schemes".[22] The same year, disinformation operations known as Spamouflage or "Dragonbridge" were linked to the MPS.[23] In the run-up to the 2024 United States elections, Spamouflage was identified as having used fake social media accounts in an attempt to amplify divisions in US society.[24]


Headquarters of the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing

The MPS is organized into functional departments (see below). Subordinate to the MPS are the provincial- and municipal-level PSB's (Public Security Bureau) and sub-bureaus at the county and urban district levels. At the grassroots level, finally, there are police stations (Chinese: 派出所; pinyin: Pàichūsuǒ) which serve as the direct point of contact between police and ordinary citizens. While public security considerations have weighed heavily at all levels of administration since the founding of the PRC, the police are perceived by some outside observers to wield progressively greater influence at lower levels of government. Provincial public security bureaus are subject to dual supervision by both local provincial governments and the central government.[25] The ministry is also closely associated with the development of surveillance technologies used by police in China through the Third Research Institute (Chinese: 第三研究所; pinyin: Dì-sān Yánjiūsuǒ; lit. 'No. 3 Research Institute') focused on the development of AI based “smart surveillance,” and censorship technologies.[26]

Internal departments

MPS' internal departments include the General Office, Supervision, Personnel & Training, Public Relations, Economic Crime Investigation, Public Order Administration, Border Control, Criminal Investigation, Exit & Entry Administration, Fire Control, Security Protection, Public Information Network Security Supervision, Penitentiary Administration, Traffic Control, Legal Affairs, International Cooperation, Logistics and Finance, Drug Control, Science & Technology, Counter Terrorism and Info-communications.[27][28] The ministry also includes a political police agency. This force-within-a-force is known as the political security unit (zhengbao), according to Minxin Pei.[29]

Internal publications

See also: Internal media of the Chinese Communist Party

The journal Public Security ConstructionChinese: 公安建设; pinyin: Gōng'ān jiànshè)was a classified serial publication for internal purposes.[6] During the disastrous Great Leap Forward between 1958 and 1961, the circular Public Security Work Bulletin (Chinese: 公安工作简报; pinyin: Gōng'ān gōngzuò jiǎnbào) was a top-secret serial which often described China's serious food shortages, social unrest and famine directly contradicting Mao Zedong's claims of "bountiful economic fruit".[30][6] Another periodical the People's Public Security News (Chinese: 人民公安报; pinyin: Rénmín gōng'ān Bào) was also produced and classified as "for official use only", functioning for the purposes of internal intelligence sharing and coordination among various branches of the public security apparatus.[6][31]

United front organization

The MPS' First Bureau operates a united front organization called the China Association for Friendship.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Mandarin pronunciation: [kʊ́ŋ.án.pû]; abbr. from Chinese: 公共安全部; pinyin: Gōnggòng Ānquán Bù; lit. 'Public Security Ministry' Mandarin pronunciation: [kʊ́ŋ.kʊ̂ŋ án.tɕʰɥɛ̌n pû]



  1. ^ a b c d e Joske, Alex (January 25, 2022). "Secret police: The Ministry of Public Security's clandestine foreign operations" (PDF). Sinopsis. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 25, 2022. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lulu, Jichang; Jirouš, Filip (February 21, 2022). "Back to the Cheka: The Ministry of Public Security's political protection work" (PDF). Sinopsis. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved March 2, 2022. The CCP security apparatus exploits foreign perceptions of the MPS as equivalent to their own police to further its state security mission. Foreign judiciaries and law enforcement agencies cooperating with the MPS and other organs in the CCP political and legal system become ancillary to the protection of the party's political security.
  3. ^ Schwarck, Edward (July 2018). "Intelligence and Informatization: The Rise of the Ministry of Public Security in Intelligence Work in China". The China Journal. 80: 1–23. doi:10.1086/697089. ISSN 1324-9347. S2CID 149764208.
  4. ^ a b Zhang, Angela Huyue (2024). High Wire: How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780197682258.001.0001. ISBN 9780197682258.
  5. ^ a b Guo, Xuezhi (2012). "From the Social Affairs Department to Ministry of Public Security". China's Security State: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 64–105. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139150897.003. ISBN 978-1-139-15089-7. OCLC 1277069527.
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  7. ^ "Intelligence Report: The International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. December 1971. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "China's Xi Names Police Ally to Head Public Security Ministry". Bloomberg News. June 28, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  9. ^ Wang Zhongfang, "Gonganbu shi zemyang chenglide," in Zhu Chunlin (ed.) Lishi shunjian (Beijing: Qunzhong chubanshe, 1999), Vol. 1, pp. 3–16.
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  11. ^ Gan, Nectar (April 18, 2015). "Revealed: the team behind China's Operation Fox Hunt against graft suspects hiding abroad". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
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  13. ^ Walden, Max (January 18, 2022). "'Why stop?': NGO says Australia's failure to block forced return of residents to China has encouraged Beijing". ABC News. Archived from the original on February 28, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  14. ^ Wright, Tom; Hope, Bradley (January 7, 2019). "China Offered to Bail Out Troubled Malaysian Fund in Return for Deals". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on February 12, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  15. ^ Godement, François; Vasselier, Abigaël (December 1, 2017). "China at the gates: A new power audit of EU-China relations". European Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on March 6, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  16. ^ Spegele, Brian; Hutzler, Charles (July 24, 2023). "WSJ News Exclusive | U.S. Weighs Potential Deal With China on Fentanyl". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
  17. ^ "US Commerce Dept removes Chinese agency from entity list". Reuters. November 16, 2023. Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c Shinn, David H.; Eisenman, Joshua (2023). China's Relations with Africa: a New Era of Strategic Engagement. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-21001-0.
  19. ^ Griffiths, James; Galea, Irene (September 21, 2022). "Chinese police establish stations overseas in 'worrying' crackdown on citizens abroad". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  20. ^ "Secret Chinese 'police stations' to be investigated around Britain". Politico. November 1, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  21. ^ "'A brazen intrusion': China's foreign police stations raise hackles in Canada". The Guardian. November 7, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  22. ^ "Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Newman Delivers Remarks Announcing Transnational Repression Cases". United States Department of Justice. April 17, 2023. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  23. ^ "China is using the world's largest known online disinformation operation to harass Americans, a CNN review finds". CNN. November 14, 2023. Retrieved November 14, 2023.
  24. ^ Hsu, Tiffany; Myers, Steven Lee (April 1, 2024). "China's Advancing Efforts to Influence the U.S. Election Raise Alarms". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2024.
  25. ^ Cheng, Ming (March 1, 1997). "Spy Headquarters Behind the Shrubs -- Supplement to 'Secrets About CPC Spies'". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  26. ^ Kania, Elsa (November 16, 2017). "Seeking a Panacea: The Party-State's Plans for Artificial Intelligence (Part 2)". Centre for Advanced China Research (CACR). Archived from the original on July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
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  28. ^ "Structure of the public security police; whether witness protection programs exist for those fearing organized crime groups". Refworld. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2023.
  29. ^ "How China stifles dissent without a KGB or Stasi of its own". The Economist. February 15, 2024. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
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