China is on the way to adopting the ideology of a national security state as it seeks to plug all security loopholes in Chinese society and government. The communist government is promoting a new security pattern that is seeping into all government institutions.
Some clues about this pattern, which tries to regulate every aspect of Chinese society, were thrown up by Qiushi, a theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party.
Its latest issue quoted China’s Minister of State Security Chen Yixin, as saying: “Building a new security pattern is the main task of national security work at present and in the future. The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core attaches unprecedented importance and support to national security work, and the favourable conditions for building a new security pattern are also unprecedented.”
He writes that the security pattern seeks “to deepen theoretical research, promote practical innovation, accelerate the construction of a new security pattern to guarantee the new development pattern, and guarantee Chinese modernization with a high level of security”.
Since President Xi Jinping secured his third term, the government has been busy tightening security. Incidentally, April 15 is marked as National Security Day. The obsession with security manifests in the form of steps the government has taken to align technology companies close to its agenda by regulating the data and cracking down on open-source data platforms that can provide insights about Chinese military institutions and other national security entities.
Even educational and research institutions are being made to follow the new pattern. Financial Times reported that institutions such as Taiwan’s Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, the City University of Hong Kong, and University of California, San Diego, were told their access to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure platform, which indexes articles about everything from ancient Chinese literature to hypersonic missile technology, have been restricted from April 1 to ensure that “cross-border services are in compliance with the law”.
Communist Paty Secretary of Hubei province, Wang Menghui, in a lengthy article in People’s Daily, tries to explain the new security pattern in ideological terms. Taking the example of the new security pattern in being implemented in Hubei, he says that Hubei has persisted “in arming minds with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully practising the overall national security concept, firmly supporting the Two Establishments and resolutely achieving the two safeguards with practical actions, and ensuring the correct political direction of national security work in the province.”.
He makes three points in the section: Take in-depth study, publicity and implementation of the deployment of the 20th Party Congress on national security as a major political task. “We thoroughly study, publicise and implement the spirit of the 20th Party Congress, deeply understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, guide the whole province to unify their thoughts and actions with the spirit of the 20th Party Congress, deeply understand the strategic position of national security, and accurately understand the new requirements of the new national security strategy, new deployment and new requirements.”
The second issue is focusing on “modernising the national security system and capabilities and resolutely safeguarding national security and social stability”. This has much to do with following what President Xi tells the people to follow without question. He wants the Chinese to understand Xi’s concern, attention, earnest expectations and far-reaching planning for national security work, resolutely support the Chairman Responsibility System of the Central National Security
Commission, always pay equal attention to development and security, consistently prevent and resolve major risks, and strive to achieve a positive interaction between high-quality development and high-level security”.
Finally comes the matter of political security. How Chinese leaders have dealt with it over the decades has only spelt out how small is the degree of freedom people enjoy to question authority or exercise one’s freedom. The Party Secretary writes: “Political security is the highest national security, the lifeline of national sovereignty, security and development interests, and occupies a leading position in national security work.”
He signals the arrival of a security pattern that keeps an eye on “major events, sensitive nodes, and key targets, strengthen risk screening, analysis, judgement, and prevention and handling in the political field, and resolutely prevent and combat activities such as infiltration, subversion, sabotage by hostile forces, illegal religious infiltration, and harassment by cults”.
In sum, the pattern is defined as strictly implementing the responsibility system for ideological work, strengthen position management and theme propaganda, do a good job in monitoring and handling public opinion, and firmly grasp the initiative in terms of ideological security.
The concept of security extends to all spheres of Chinese life — ecological and food security, economic and financial security. social stability and non-traditional security.
These apart, there is the need to “maintain network security, formulate implementation guidelines on strengthening the security of key information infrastructure, maintain bio-security, strengthen the construction of biological safety risk investigation, monitoring and early warning, emergency response and joint prevention and control mechanism, and form a joint force of bio-safety management”.
Attempts are being made to “maintain the safety of overseas interests, carry out dynamic monitoring of the safety of people, institutions, enterprises and projects from our province abroad, and improve the risk mitigation plan, maintaining data security, formulate guidelines for data classification and protection, and improve information and data security monitoring, early warning and emergency response capabilities.