Zhōngyāng Guójiā'ānquán Wěiyuánhuì
|Jurisdiction||Chinese Communist Party|
|Parent agency||Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party|
The Central National Security Commission (CNSC; Chinese: 中央国家安全委员会; pinyin: Zhōngyāng Guójiā'ānquán Wěiyuánhuì) of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was established at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee in November 2013, during what was considered a "major regrouping of the top CCP power structure."
The CNSC aims 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. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman Qin Gang, the NSC aims to combat terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.
Analysts regarded the establishment of the NSC 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 New York Times described it as "one of the most secretive bodies of a secretive state", whose "size, staffing and powers remain unclear". It has "established local security committees across provinces, cities and counties" to "focus on domestic threats" such as "protests and dissent".
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. Jiang had taken interest in the United States National Security Council during his state visit to the United States that year. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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."
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.
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