National Security Commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
中央国家安全委员会
Zhōngyāng Guójiā'ānquán Wěiyuánhuì
Agency overview
FormedNovember 2013; 10 years ago (2013-11)
JurisdictionChinese Communist Party
HeadquartersBeijing
Ministers responsible
Parent agencyCentral Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Child agencies

The National Security Commission (CNSC; 中央国家安全委员会) is a commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responsible for national security work and coordination.

The proposals to establish a commission related to national security originated under CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin in 1997, though it was never implemented due to the fear of concentrating too much power in one person. After the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, the Central National Security Leadership Small Group (NSLSG) was established in 2000. The commission was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th CCP Central Committee in November 2013, in what was considered a major regrouping of Party structure. Analysts regarded the establishment of the CNSC one of the most "concrete" and "eye-catching" outcomes of the Plenary Session, the culmination of a more than decade-long internal debate on whether China should have a national security council.

The commission has operated very secretively, being described by The New York Times as "one of the most secretive bodies of a secretive state". Its size, staffing and powers not being publicized. It additionally contains local committees in provinces, cities and counties, which focus on domestic threats such as dissent and protests. Since its establishment, the CNSC has been chaired by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping.

History

The initial conception of the CNSC came during the Jiang Zemin era in 1997, with a proposal by Wang Daohan, later the president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.[1] Jiang had taken interest in the United States National Security Council during his state visit to the United States that year.[2][3] Out of concern that the establishment of such a body would give too much power to the leader, who would be head of both the commission and the Central Military Commission, it was never implemented.[2][4][5]: 184 

The proposal was again reconsidered in 1999 after the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade due to concern over how long it took various state security agencies to gather information on the incident and make it known to Chinese leadership,[5]: 184  leading to the establishment of the Central National Security Leadership Small Group (NSLSG) in 2000 to coordinate national security crisis response.[6]: 178 

Xi Jinping later revived the idea as part of his reforms in the foreign policy and security sectors, as part of an attempt to overcome problems that have accumulated for many years.[7] It was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th CCP Central Committee in November 2013,[8] during what was considered a "major regrouping of the top CCP power structure."[5] Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Qin Gang stated that the NSC would aim to combat the "three evils"; namely terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.[9]

Xi Jinping articulated a concept of "big security" in the first meeting of the CNSC on April 15, 2014, saying that China "should take an overall approach to national security, strengthen the confidence of the Chinese people in the path, theories and system of socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and ensure China’s durable peace and stability." These definitions contain meanings of both domestic security and foreign threats.[7]

Between April 2014 and 2018, the CNSC had no publicly reported meetings.[4] In 2018, it held its second publicized meeting. Between March and April 2020, the Commission held its third publicized meeting,[10] In May 2023, the Commission held its first publicly announced meeting after the 20th Party Congress in 2022.[11]

Purpose and functions

After its establishment, it was speculated that the CNSC would aim to consolidate political leadership of all components of the security apparatus controlled by the Communist Party, including those headed formerly by former Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) member Zhou Yongkang. These components would be combined into a single entity under the direct command of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. It was also speculated that it would deal with national security strategy, crisis management, and links with foreign national security agencies.[5]

The most common explanation for the creation of the CNSC relate to the personal and leadership style of Xi Jinping, and, in the eyes of commentators, his ambition to seize power.[12] These personal factors, however, coincide with China wielding a much greater level of national power. Xi wishes China to play a greater role in world affairs, and so a mechanism like the CNSC would allow it to plan and implement, from the center, "grand strategy" ideas and "big power diplomacy."[7]

The CNSC would thus fulfill Xi Jinping's ambitions for "Big power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics," rather than the quieter foreign policy agendas of previous administrations. Having a National Security Council assists in China's own "self-identification as a big power in world affairs." This also requires a more advanced diplomatic capability, a task in which the CNSC is supposed to assist in.[7]

The New York Times described the commission as "one of the most secretive bodies of a secretive state", whose "size, staffing and powers remain unclear".[13] The meetings of the Commission happen roughly once a year, but mentions of the meetings usually only emerge in local party websites, where orders from the speech are summarized. The Commission additionally has local security committees in provinces, cities and counties, which focus on domestic threats such as dissent and protests.[13]

Membership

Since its establishment, the CNSC has been led by the CCP general secretary, with the premier and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress serving as vice chairs. The director of the CCP General Office has served as the director of the CNSC Office.[14]

Chairman
Vice Chairmen
Members
General Office Chief

References

  1. ^ "第五权力机构 国安会的诸多未解之谜". dailynews.sina.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  2. ^ a b "中国筹设国安委 江泽民时代曾有此提议 [China Sets up NSC, Once Proposed in Jiang Era]". Ta Kung Pao (in Chinese). 12 November 2013. Archived from the original on 18 April 2023. Retrieved 1 August 2020. 事实上在江泽民担任总书记时期,中国就曾考虑设立国安委这样的组织。中国于1997年首次提出成立国家安全委员会的方案。当时,中国国家主席江泽民访问美国时看到美国的国家安全委员会后,计划组建国家安全委员会。但由于担心如果中央军委主席再掌管国家安全委员会则权力过大,最终就不了了之。
  3. ^ "CSIS" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04.
  4. ^ a b c Wuthnow, Joel (June 30, 2016). "China's Much-Heralded NSC Has Disappeared". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2019-08-25. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  5. ^ a b c d Ji, You (March 2016). "China's National Security Commission: theory, evolution and operations". Journal of Contemporary China. 25 (98): 178–196. doi:10.1080/10670564.2015.1075717. ISSN 1067-0564. S2CID 154533489.
  6. ^ Zhao, Suisheng (2023). The Dragon Roars Back: Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. doi:10.1515/9781503634152. ISBN 978-1-5036-3088-8. OCLC 1331741429.
  7. ^ a b c d Hu, Weixing (2016-03-03). "Xi Jinping's 'Big Power Diplomacy' and China's Central National Security Commission (CNSC)". Journal of Contemporary China. 25 (98): 163–177. doi:10.1080/10670564.2015.1075716. hdl:10722/234775. ISSN 1067-0564. S2CID 155807161.
  8. ^ Panda, Ankit (November 14, 2013). "What Will China's New National Security Council Do?". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  9. ^ "China Hints at Domestic Role for National Security Commitee [sic]". Voice of America. November 13, 2013. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  10. ^ Ho, Matt; Chik, Holly; Xie, Echo (29 June 2020). "China's National Security Commission met in secret amid coronavirus pandemic". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 22 January 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  11. ^ Greitens, Sheena Chestnut (2023-08-29). "National Security after China's 20th Party Congress: Trends in Discourse and Policy". China Leadership. Archived from the original on 2023-09-13. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  12. ^ McLaughlin, Kathleen. "Chinese power play: Xi Jinping creates a national security council". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  13. ^ a b Buckley, Chris; Myers, Steven Lee (2022-08-06). "In Turbulent Times, Xi Builds a Security Fortress for China, and Himself". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2022-08-07. Retrieved 2022-08-07.
  14. ^ "Decoding Chinese Politics". Asia Society. Retrieved 2 October 2023.