Integrate Development and Security, Consolidate a Protective Barrier Around the State: A Deep Study in Implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized during the 26th Collective Study Session1 of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party’s that we must properly conduct national security work for a new era; persist in our Total National Security Paradigm; seize and utilize China’s period of strategic opportunity; weave national security into all aspect of the entire work process of the Party and state; and plan and carry out [national security] alongside economic and social development. General Secretary Xi Jinping introduced ten requirements to implement this Total National Security Paradigm, one of which is to persist in integrating national security and development.2 This was [an important reiteration of] the decision of the Party’s Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee to incorporate the integration of national security and development into the guiding thought of China’s economic and social development in the 14th Five Year Plan.3
Those strategic deployments, the integration of security and development, have [now] been made again by the Party Center with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. We should thoroughly study and understand General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important discourses on integrating national security and development; promote the implementation of vital strategic deployments related to national security; effectively be on guard to solve various risks and challenges; consolidate the protective barrier around the nation; and guarantee the steady forward drive towards the modernization of socialism.4
The Integration of Development and National Security Holds Theoretical and Practical Significance
The Party Center with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has placed great importance on the integration of national security and development. The integration of national security and development is a profound conclusion drawn from the history of the rise and fall of great powers. It is a profound lesson drawn from the experience of promoting socialist modernization for seventy years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China . It is a profound awareness and understanding of the dialectically unified relationship between development and national security. It is a vital strategic deployment for the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation in an unstable and uncertain development environment. The integration of national security and development has profound and theoretical logic, historical logic, and great practical significance.
This is an important requirement for the implementation of the Total National Security Paradigm, which General Secretary Xi Jinping creatively put forward in 2014. Preserving the Total National Security Paradigm is an important component to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, as well as one of the fundamental comprehensive strategies in preserving and developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. For over six years, we have maintained our national security, [pioneered] a series of successful risk-prevention practices, and drawn ample attention to the theoretical force and practical quality of the Total National Security Paradigm. The integration of development and national security is required for carrying out the Total National Security Paradigm.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has further stressed the dialectical unified relationship between these two components, emphasizing that development is premised on security, and that security is guaranteed by development. Development is the top priority for our party to governing and rejuvenating the state and the key to solving all of China’s problems.5 Without social and economic development, we cannot realize the nation’s long-term peace and stability–where society is peaceful and orderly and the people are able to live and work in peace. National security is the fundamental prerequisite for development’s existence, the vital cornerstone for bringing peace and stability to the nation. Without national security, we cannot realize sustainable economic and social development, and the fruits for which we have labored would be lost. It is an evident reality that development and security complement one another, that one cannot be prioritized at the expense of the other, and whose unification upholds and develops the great praxis of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.
This integration is the profound culmination of historical experience. History has repeatedly proven that the ability to integrate development and security affects the rise and fall of nations as well as the course of history [itself]. Survey the political gains and losses of China’s historical dynasties: the decline and fall of feudal dynasties is primarily related to [their] inability to maintain control of their development and security. Survey the history of the rise and fall of great powers: When a great power rises, it is usually because it properly integrated development and security. Conversely, a state’s inability to properly integrate security and development is inextricably tied to its fall. If development does not uphold security, then the state will not last long. If security cannot guarantee development, then the state cannot sustain itself. Their combination leads to flourishing. Their separation leads to weakness. Their contradiction leads to death. Such is the profound revelation that history has left for us.
[This integration] is the indispensable requirement for the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. Since the founding of the New China, we have placed high importance on [both] development and security. We have always firmly taken in hand the maintenance of national security; have made correct strategic policies towards integrating development and security in different points in history. [We have witnessed] the awesome leap of the Chinese nation from standing up, to becoming wealthy, and [now] to becoming strong.6
At the advent of New China, the domestic situation and international environment were complex and entangled. We made the historical decision to support Korea and defend the nation against the United States7 with the daring “offense is the best defense” approach,8 crushing the invaders' plot to destroy China in its crib. Since Reform and Opening, our party has made the scientific determination that peace and development are the key themes of the times, actively constructing a favorable environment for development, seizing opportunities for accelerated development and making great achievements in economic and social development. Since the Eighteenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party,9 the Party Center with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has strengthened the centralized and unified leadership in the work in national security; has made a series of vital policy deployments on national security with an eye on the overall situation and strategy; strengthened top-level plans in national security; improved national security policy in a plethora of important sectors; amplified laws and regulations in national security;10 effectively faced a series of great risks and challenges; and preserved our state’s total national security.
At present, the world is experiencing great changes unseen in a century and our state is currently in the midst of the crucial period for realizing the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. Peace and development are still the key themes of the times, but as more unstable and uncertain factors arise the risks and challenges we face become more complex. These risks and challenges are unavoidable in the course of our robust development. [Facing them] is the sole passageway to the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. We must have a clear understanding of the historical bearing of China’s development and the circumstances and tasks we face in national security in order to better integrate development and security on all fronts.
Firmly Grasp the Initiative to Lead in National Security Work
The integration of development and security is both a theoretical question and an important requirement of praxis. We must persist in our Total National Security Paradigm, maintain and sculpt national security,11 integrate traditional and non-traditional security, weave national security into all aspects of the entire work process of the Party and state, and be on guard against and resolve various risks that affect the course of China’s modernization.
We must ensure security within development, and ensure development within security. Development and security are like the two wheels of a cart or the two wings of a bird. Any shortcomings whatsoever could affect the course of the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. This new national journey integrating development and security to comprehensively construct modern socialism not only requires increasing the strength of national security through development, but also requires comprehensively promoting innovations in the institutions, methods, and patterns of thought of national security; creating a security environment that is beneficial towards economic and social development; [while engaged] in development, giving more consideration to security factors; assiduously ensuring security through development and development through security; and realizing development that is of better quality, is more efficient, more equal, more sustainable, and more secure.12
We must conclusively carry out General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important directives on integrating development and security. We must strengthen strategic, systematic, and forward looking research plans. We must deeply reflect on a time in the future where our state’s social and economic development will face great risks. We must deeply reflect on the patterns of thought and measures needed to guard against and resolve these great security risks. We must deeply reflect on the process for incorporating security work into various sectors of national development. And we must firmly grasp the initiative [needed] to lead in national security work.
We must safeguard and sculpt national security. Safeguarding and sculpting national security should be viewed as one. Sculpting [national security should be viewed as] safeguarding at a higher level and in a more forward looking way. As China advances towards the center of the world stage day by day, we must assure discipline in the midst of changing circumstances, avoid harm in chaotic circumstances, take the initiative in the midst of struggle, and earnestly safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, and its expanding interests.
Sculpting national security does not mean that we would follow the path [described by the phrase] “all strong countries inevitably become hegemons.”13 Instead, it means that we must unwaveringly walk the path of “peaceful development.” The goal [of sculpting national security] is to realize the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. It is not about overthrowing the existing international order to start a new one, but improving global governance systems and mechanisms on the basis of the international order with the UN Charter at its core, by collaborating with countries across the world and advancing with the demands of the times. This is not a zero-sum game, but a mutually beneficial form of win-win cooperation. It upholds multilateralism and democratization in international relations and promotes and establishes a community of common destiny for all mankind.
No nation has the right to unilaterally undertake every international matter, dictate the destiny of other nations, or monopolize development advantages; nor can they engage in hegemonic, bullying, or despotic behavior.14 By means of our staunch determination, resolute will, and substantial national power, we shall face the myriad challenges on the road ahead, integrate the two tools of defending national security and sculpting national security, ceaselessly sculpting of the conditions of [our] national security.
We must integrate traditional security and non-traditional security. Currently, the extension and intension of our state’s national security is richer,15 its temporal and spatial domains are broader, and its internal and external factors are more complex than at any other point in history. In general, the most important aspects are still political, territorial, and military security, which can never be neglected at any time. At the same time, in a country as quickly developing as China, the non-traditional threats to our national security are increasing, which means we need to integrate and take into equal consideration [different threats] and synthesize our policies.
The unanticipated outbreak of COVID-19 was a test of our state’s capacity to overcome a non-traditional security threat. Under the staunch leadership of the Party Center with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we made vital strategic achievements in our struggle against the outbreak of COVID-19. At the current moment and into the future, there are risk-and-contradiction prone periods facing China where easily foreseeable and unforeseeable risk factors are clearly increasing. The Party in its Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee made comprehensive arrangements for security problems in economics, banking, the internet, foodstuffs, energy and nuclear energy, ecology, biology, overseas interests, and the like.16 We shall carry out these plans of action in earnest; deeply understand new trends that threaten national security; actively promote non-traditional security factors within national security legislation; strengthen risk warnings, prevention and control measures, and capacity construction; and comprehensively deal with various security risks and challenges.
Bringing Together and Maintaining the Strong Cooperation in National Security
Properly safeguarding national security is the collective responsibility of [both] the Party and greater society. We must use Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially the Total National Security Paradigm, to comprehensively develop the political advantages of leadership by the Communist Party of China and the institutional advantages of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics; and in bringing together and maintaining the strong cooperation in national security.
We must preserve the absolute leadership of the Party in national security work. During the 13th Five Year Plan,17 the Party and the nation experienced an extraordinary journey. The Center with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core made scientific determinations of the timing and trajectory [of events], dialectically assessed risks and opportunities, preserved the integration of development and security, won one hard-fought battle after another, and weathered one risk after another to gain repeated victory. Praxis has sufficiently proven that the Party is the key to handling China’s affairs.18 On this new course, we will handle the important matters of development and security expeditiously, formulate new articles on the “two miracles” of fast economic growth and long-term societal stability, the most fundamental being the Party’s comprehensive leadership in the work on development and security, strengthening the “the four consciousnesses,”19 preserving the “the four matters of confidence,”20 and performing “the two upholds.”21
We must promote modernization of national security systems and capacities. The Party’s Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee has made strategic deployments in “strengthening the construction of national security systems and capacities” in order to set the clear direction of their modernization.22 In the next stage, we shall further strengthen the Party’s leadership in national security work, improving the centralization, unity, and effective authority of these leading institutions. We will amplify the systems in national security laws, strategy, policy, and in the operating mechanisms for human resources. We shall improve important areas in national security legislation, institutions, and policies. We shall amplify investigative and supervisory institutions in national security, strengthen enforcement of national security, and promote adjustments for national security systems and capacities alongside national modernization.
We must carry out national security duties. Uphold one of the clear institutional advantages of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, which is also a vital foundation for safeguarding national security: the [ability to] coordinate all the activities of the state like pieces on a board game, to encourage initiative on all fronts, and to centralize our strength when handling great matters. Risks to national security come from many fronts, and neutralizing those risks requires us to encourage seizing the initiative on all fronts. [This requires] developing a new work dynamic where everyone shares responsibility and everyone is working dutifully. We must strictly carry out the “Regulations for National Security Responsibilities” in each party organization of the committee,23 form work patterns for grasping and implementing that work level by level, and ensure the Central Party’s policies and deployments in national security are implemented properly. We must strengthen propaganda and education on national security, strengthen education that leads to expanding the people’s awareness of national security, and consolidate a line of defense among the people24 in national security.
We must develop the use of specialized institutions. Carrying out the Total National Security Paradigm to the utmost and escorting the Chinese Nation through their Great Rejuvenation are vital political responsibilities of these national security organs. In the face of the myriad of perilous challenges and turbulent billows on the path ahead, the national security organs should [not only] dare to fight, but also be able to fight well.25 We shall sufficiently develop the use of professional mechanisms. We must give full play to the role of specialized institutions to prevent, curb, and combat all illegal and criminal activities that threaten our national security in accordance with the law. We shall strengthen the construction of national security cadres, build an impregnable contingent of national security cadres, and consolidate a protective barrier around the nation.
1. Collective Study Sessions [中央政治局集体学习] are a special type of Politburo meeting that are generally scheduled just after normal Politburo meetings. In these study sessions, outside scholars or government experts lecture on a topic assigned by the General Secretary. For more information on these sessions see the glossary entry POLITBURO.
The 26th Collective Study Session of the Politburo was held in December 2020 to discuss and study the framework for the Fourteenth Five-Year-Plan that was formulated during the Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee earlier that year.
2. The other nine points included: 1. Uphold the Party center’s absolute leadership over national security work. 2. Follow the Total National Security Paradigm with Chinese characteristics. 3. Take the people’s security as the central purpose of national security work. 4. Place political security in the predominant position. 5. Respond to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges. 6. Highlight the prevention and management of risk in order to nip security problems in the bud. 7. Promote global security for all. 8. Modernize China’s national security systems. 9. Strengthen the national security teams in the field.
See Xi Jinping, “Pursue a Holistic Approach to National Security,” in The Governance of China, volume IV (Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 2022), 453-457.
3. Held in October 2020, the 5th plenum of the 19th Central Committee promulgated the Proposal on Formulating the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Visionary Goals for 2035. See “Zhōnggòng zhōngyāng guānyú zhìdìng guómín jīngjì hé shèhuì fāzhǎn dì shísì gè wǔ nián guīhuà hé èr líng sānwǔ nián yuǎnjǐng mùbiāo dì jiànyì 中共中央关于制定国民经济和社会发展第十四个五年规划和二〇三五年远景目标的建议 [Proposal on Formulating the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Visionary Goals for 2035],” Gongchang Dangyuan Wang 共产党员网 [Communist Party Members Online], 29 October 2020.
4. Modernization has been articulated as a major policy goal of the Communist Party of China from the time Zhou Enlai introduced the Four Modernizations in 1963. Beginning in 2020 the CPC articulated two more specific development goals that lie at the center of Chinese economic and political planning: the goal to “basically realize socialist modernization” by 2035, and the goal to “build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious” by 2049.
See Xi Jinping, “Major Points on the Recommendations of the CPC Central Committee for Formulating the 14th Five Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and Long Range Objectives Through the Year 2035,” The Governance of China, vol 4 (Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 2022), 129-136.
5. Chen here repeats a Jiang Zemin era slogan that draws on two statements made by Jiang Zemin in two different political reports. The first is “The key to solving all of China’s problems lies in our own development” [中国解决所有问题的关键在于依靠自己的发展 ] and “In governing and rejuvenating the country it is essential for the Party to give top priority to development” [必须把发展作为党执政兴国的第一要务].
6. In Party discourse, standing tall, growing rich, and becoming strong are associated with three periods of the CPC’s history, and the three leaders who led the Party in these periods. Mao Zedong led the Party during the foundation of New China, the expulsion of imperial influence from China’s borders, and the repulse of American troops from China’s borders in the Korean war. This was China “standing up.” Deng Xiaoping led China during the initial stages of the Reform and Opening era, a period of time in which China climbed from abject poverty to its current station as the world’s second largest economy. Finally, under Xi Jinping, China’s wealth was translated into greater military power, international influence, and advanced technology. This period–the period in which Chen writes–is thus described as the era when China has become strong.
7. There are multiple names for “Korea” in Chinese. North Korea is referred to as 朝鮮 Cháoxiǎn (Joeson), the traditional name for a united Korea. Given that the CCP viewed North Korea as the legitimate government of Korea during the Korean War, they used this name to designate the northern government then, and continue to use it in this fashion now. Today South Korea is usually referred to as 韩国 Hánguó, which might be literally translated as “the country of the Korean ethnicity.” Because the partition of Korea was not yet decided when the Korean war began, Cháoxiǎn is here translated as the Mao era leaders would have understood it: as “Korea” instead of “North Korea.”
8. Or more literally, “throwing one punch to avoid one hundred punches.” The phrase is strongly associated with the Korean War, where it was used to describe Mao’s fear that the United States would use anti-communist forces in Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, and Tibet to overthrow his new regime unless American leaders were forcefully shown the costs of stoking conflict with China. For the history of this phrase and its modern application in CPC rhetoric, see Shishuo Xingyu 是说新语, “Dǎ dé yī quán kāi, miǎndé bǎi quán lái 打得一拳开，免得百拳来 [Throw one punch to avoid one hundred punches],” Qiushi 求是 [Seeking Truth], 21 Oct 2020.
9. The Eighteenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held in Beijing from 8 November to 15 Novemeber 2012. It was the Congress where Xi Jinping was elevated to the station of General Secretary.
10. Important national security legislation passed since the 18th National Congress include the National Security Law (2015), Counter-Terrorism Law (2015), National Defense Transportation Law (2016), National Intelligence Law (2017), Foreign NGO Law (2017), Cyber Security Law (2017), Foreign Investment Law (2020), and the Data Security Law (2021). For a review of this legislation in the context of Xi Jinping’s Total National Security Paradigm, see Jude Blanchette, “The Edge of an Abyss: Xi Jinping’s Overall National Security Outlook,” China Leadership Monitor, 1 September 2022.
11. Translated here as “sculpt,” sùzào [塑造] could also be rendered as “to shape” or “to mold.” In ordinary speech this is the verb for fixing something malleable and undefined into a new, concrete form ( as occurs when clay or stone are fashioned into pottery or sculpture). In the context of national security, Chinese theorists use the term “sculpt national security” in a similar fashion to how American analysts describe “shaping the national security environment.” The idea is to configure the international or domestic operating environment in such a way that security crises do not arise, or if they do, the inherent tendencies of the sculpted environment make these crises easier to resolve in the PRC’s favor.
12. This catalog of development guidelines was first introduced in the communique of the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee in October 2020. Following the new formulation, the 20th Party Congress amended the Constitution of the Communist Party of China in 2022 and added “more secure” to “better quality, more efficient, more equal, and more sustainable” as the requirements for China’s development in the new era.
See “Zhōnggòng zhōngyāng guānyú zhìdìng guómín jīngjì hé shèhuì fāzhǎn dì shísì gè wǔ nián guīhuà hé èr líng sānwǔ nián yuǎnjǐng mùbiāo dì jiànyì 中共中央关于制定国民经济和社会发展第十四个五年规划和二〇三五年远景目标的建议 [Suggestions on the formulation of the 14th five-year plan for national economic and social development and the long-term goals for 2035],” Gongchang Dangyuan Wang 共产党员网 [Communist Party Members Online], 29 October 2020. Xu Jianwen 许建文, “Èrshí dà dǎngzhāng xiūzhèng àn xuéxí wèndá 二十大党章修正案学习问答 [Questions and Answers on the Amendment to the Party Constitution of the 20th National Congress],” 共产党员网 [Communist Party Members Online], 14 December 2022.
13. In Chinese, the phrase “hegemony” [霸权] implies predominance maintained through coercive methods. See the CST glossary entry for HEGEMONISM. The phrase “all strong countries automatically become hegemons” works as a shorthand both for Chinese perceptions of realist theories of international relations and the Western European historical experience they are based on. Chinese thinkers often depict the rise of imperial Spain, Britain, and the United States to hegemony as especially violent affairs; by rejecting the belief that “all strong countries become hegemons” Chinese intellectuals hope that their country can rise to international leadership through trade, commerce, and cultural charisma instead of through violence or subterfuge. For a recent Chinese discussion of this phrase, see Liu Weidong 刘卫东 and Fan Meng 范梦, “Guo Qiang Bi Ba Bushi Zhongguo de Xuanze ‘国强必霸’不是中国的选择 [All Strong Countries Become Hegemons is Not China’s Choice],” Hong Qi Wengao 红旗文稿 [Red Flag Manuscript], 10 May 2019.
14. The hegemonic, bullying, and despotic nation in question is the United States of America; these are stock phrases party leaders use when they believe that America must be criticized, but they do not wish to heighten tensions by calling out the United States by name.
15. Nèihán [内涵] and wàiyán [外延] are the Chinese translations for intension and extension, terms drawn from the fields of linguistics and logic to describe two different ways of defining words or conceptual categories. An extensional definition can be thought of as the set of objects denoted by a term (for example, the historian who defined “totalitarianism” by stating “It means the kind of regime that existed in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Soviet satellites, Communist China, and maybe Fascist Italy, where the word originated” is providing an extensional definition of “totalitarianism”). An intensional definition, gives meaning to a term by specifying necessary and sufficient conditions for when the term should be used (for example, the historian who defines totalitarianism as a “regime that bans all institutions apart from those it has officially approved” is providing an intentional definition of the term).
When state security officials talk about how the intention and extension of national security work is growing richer or more numerous, they are claiming that there are both a growing number of conceptual categories that must be seen through the lens of security (for example, “biosecurity”) and that within those categories the set of particular threats (say, SARS, MERS, and COVID-19) is also growing in number.
16. The translated list is slightly reordered in order to flow better in English.
17. The 13th Five Year Plan was implemented between 2016 and 2021.
18. The slogan “the Party is the key to handling China’s affairs” comes from Deng Xiaoping’s famous Southern Tour Address in 1992. See Deng Xiaoping 邓小平, “Zai Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shanghai Dengdide Tanhua Yaodian 在武昌，深圳，珠海，上海等地的谈话要点 [Excerpts From Talks Given In Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai],” in Deng Xiaoping Wenxuan 邓小平文选 [Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping], vol III (Beijing 北京: Renmin Chubanshe人民出版社 [People’s Press], 1993),
19. These are: “political consciousness” (政治意识), “consciousness of the overall situation” (大局意识), “consciousness of the core” (核心意识) and “compliance consciousness” (看齐意识).
20. These are: confidence in the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, confidence in the institutions of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, confidence in the culture of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and confidence in the path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. See the glossary entry SOCIALISM WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS for a longer description.
21. These are: upholding Xi Jinping as the core of the Party, and upholding the Party’s central authority and unified leadership.
22. This is stated in paragraph 49 in the "Proposal on Formulating the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan.”
23. This is a set of intra-party rules promulgated by the first meeting of the 19th Central National Security Commission on April 17, 2018.
24. The phrase 人民防线 refers to the collective efforts made by Party members and all members of greater society to maintain China’s national security, which include everything mentioned in this document, along with reporting alleged spies engaging in any activities involving sabotage, subversion, or national division to authorities.
25. Xi Jinping first instructed cadres to “dare to struggle and struggle well” in a September 3rd, 2019 speech at the Central Party School. “Struggle is an art,” he would go on to say, “and we must be adroit practitioners.” See Xi Jinping, Governance of China, vol III (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 264. See also the CST glossary entry SOFT BONE DISEASE.