Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called on his top national security officials to consider worst-case scenarios and prepare for “stormy seas” as the ruling Communist Party hardens its efforts to deal with perceived internal and external threats. offer.
“The complexity and difficulty of the national security issues we now face has increased significantly,” Xi said at a meeting of the party’s National Security Commission on Tuesday, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
“We need to stick to bottom-line thinking and worst-case thinking, and prepare for the big tests of high winds and rough waves, and even dangerous, stormy seas,” he added.
The latest stern instructions from Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, come as Beijing faces a myriad of challenges, from a struggling economy to what it sees as an increasingly hostile international environment.
In light of what he called a “complex and serious” situation, Xi said China should accelerate the modernization of its national security system and capabilities, focusing on making them more effective in “actual combat and practical use”.
He also called on China to continue building a national security risk monitoring and early warning system, improve national security education, and improve data management and artificial intelligence security.
Since taking power a decade ago, Xi has made national security an important paradigm that permeates all aspects of China’s governance, experts say.
He has extended the concept of national security to everything from politics, economics, defense, culture and ecology to cyberspace. It extends from the deep sea and the polar regions to outer space, as well as big data and artificial intelligence.
Under Xi’s idea of ”comprehensive national security”, China has introduced a range of legislation to protect itself against perceived threats, including laws on counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, cybersecurity, foreign non-governmental organizations, national intelligence agencies and data security.
Most recently, it broadened the scope of its already sweeping counterintelligence law from state secrets and intelligence to include any “document, data, material, or item related to national security and interests.”
“National security is central to everything in Xi’s People’s Republic of China and there is an increasing focus on better coordination of security and development, with the security side appearing to be winning over the economic side,” wrote Bill Bishop, a former China official. observer, in the Sinocism Newsletter, referring to China by its official name, the People’s Republic of China.
In Hong Kong, a sweeping national security law was imposed by Beijing to quell dissent after massive anti-democracy protests plagued the city.
The perception that security has replaced economic growth as Beijing’s top priority is compounded by several recent raids on foreign companies, including US consulting firm Bain & Company and due diligence firm Mintz Group.
The raids have terrified international businesses, at a time when the Chinese government is trying to bring in foreign investment to revive a slowing economy hampered by three years of zero-Covid restrictions.
In March, Chinese authorities arrested a Japanese employee of Astellas Pharma in Beijing on suspicion of espionage – the 17th Japanese national detained in China since the anti-intelligence law was introduced in 2014.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Xi said China should proactively shape a “secure external environment” to better maintain the security of the country’s “opening up” and “promote the deep integration of development and security.”
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