What is the Deeper Significance of the Phrase “Leverage the New Security Pattern to Ensure the New Development Pattern?”
The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China1 is the first to ever dedicate a special section for setting forth national security work.2 The major principle of integrating development and security is a throughline of the report, which not only demonstrates the important position that national security work holds in the overall configuration of the Party and the state in the New Era, but also serves as a fundamental guideline for national security work [as it] charts a new journey.3 We must deeply grasp and fully implement the relevant exposition in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, accelerate the construction of a new security pattern, and provide a staunch security guarantee for the development of the state.
The First Dedicated Section4 to Set Forth the Importance of Highlighting National Security Work
The exposition of national security in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China presents four characteristics: “significance, vastness, loftiness, and newness.”
The first [characteristic] is “significance.” This is the first time that a report to a Party Congress dedicates a special section for setting forth national security work. Safeguarding national security is a strategic thought that runs through the report from the beginning to the end, which fully reflects the weight, important status, and critical mission of national security work in the New Era and on the new [national] journey.
The second [characteristic] is “vastness.” The field and scope of national security are broader, reflecting the concept of “great security.”5
The third [characteristic] is “loftiness.” The report centers the title of the national security chapter around the main theme of the Congress and the central task of the Party in the new era and on the new [national] journey. The title of the special chapter, which aims at building a new development pattern and proposes to build a new security pattern, embodies the general requirements of integrated development and security, as well as the mission of the times–to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capabilities. It reflects foresight and a grand vision.
The fourth characteristic is “newness.” The report has a new overall expression of the Total National Security Paradigm, and a new deployment for national security work. [This is seen] especially in its first proposal for “guaranteeing a new development pattern with a new security pattern,” which is novel and innovative.
The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has a more precise positioning of national security, demonstrating that the status of national security is more important [to the Party’s overall plan]. The report clearly states: “National security is the foundation of national rejuvenation, and social stability is the prerequisite for a strong and prosperous state. We must resolutely implement the Total National Security Paradigm, and ensure that we safeguard national security throughout the entire process of the Party and the state, so as to ensure national security and social stability.” National prosperity and national rejuvenation are the unremitting pursuit and aspiration of the Chinese nation. The “foundation” and “prerequisite conditions” for these are national security and social stability.” National security and social stability are integrated, providing the foundation for national prosperity and national rejuvenation. This fully reflects the extreme importance of national security work in the overall configuration of the Party and the state.6
An Interpretation of the Total National Security Paradigm that Continues Past [Practice] while Ushering in the Future
The "five major elements" of the Total National Security Paradigm are consistent. The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China emphasizes that we must “take the people’s security as our ultimate goal, political security as our fundamental task, economic security as our foundation, military, technological, cultural, and social security as important pillars, and international security as a support.”
This expression comes from the classic statement made by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the first meeting of the Central National Security Commission on April 15, 2014: “the extension and intension of China’s national security is richer,7 its temporal and spatial domains are broader, and its internal and external factors are more complex than at any other point in history. We must take the people’s security as our ultimate goal, political security as our fundamental task, economic security as our foundation, military, technological, cultural, and social security as important pillars, and international security as a support, to embark on a path of national security with Chinese characteristics.”8
The "five elements" fully demonstrate the originality of the theory of national security with Chinese characteristics, have a strong logic, vitality, and systems-level structure, and have had far reaching impact since they were put forward more than eight years ago. The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China reaffirms the “five major elements” of the Total National Security Paradigm, and embodies an approach to the cause of national security in the New Era that generates new insights from studying the past and builds on past achievements.
The "Five Integrations" of the Total National Security Paradigm return to the fundamentals while establishing new interpretations. The “Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century” (hereinafter referred to as the “Resolution”),9 passed by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Party, proposed to “integrate development and security, integrate opening up and security, and integrate traditional security and non-traditional security, integrate China’s domestic security with the common security of the world, and integrate safeguarding national security with sculpting [the international strategic environment so that it aids] China’s national security.”10 Compared to the “Five Integrations” in the “Resolution,” the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China presents new expressions: “integrate external security and internal security, integrate homeland security and national security, integrate traditional security and non-traditional security, integrate China’s domestic security and the common security [of the world], and integrate safeguarding national security with sculpting [the international strategic environment so that it aids] China’s national security.”
This statement in the report originated in the “five pairs of relationships” proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the first meeting of the Central National Security Council on April 15, 2014.11 The report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China turned [the five relationships] into a condensed expression by way of the word “integration,” that is, “integration of development and security, integration of external security and internal security, integration of homeland security and national security, integration of traditional security and non-traditional security, integration of China’s domestic security and the common security of the world.” At the first meeting of the 19th National Security Commission of the Central Committee held in April 2018, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the major thesis of “uphold the safeguarding and sculpting national security.”12 Since then, the Sixth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has further proposed “integrating development and security, integrating opening up and security, integrating traditional security and non-traditional security, integrating China’s domestic security and the common security of the world, and integrating safeguarding national security with sculpting [the international strategic environment so that it aids] China’s national security.”13 These are the “Five Integrations.”
Since “integration of development and security” is increasingly related to the overall configuration of the Party and the state and the future and destiny of national rejuvenation, the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China sees it as a general principle of governing the country and proposes it separately from the original “Five Integrations.” It [thus] places “the integration of development and security” in the general part of the report at the front. The overall expression of national security work is based on returning to the relevant expressions of the 19th National Congress report, adding “integration of safeguarding national security with sculpting [the international strategic environment so that it aids] China’s national security.”
This new expression of the “Five Integrations” proposed by the report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC is more compact, more precise, and more actionable, highlighting the dialectics and scientific methodology of national security work. The first four integrations are discussed together and focus on four dimensions of national security, while the fifth integration emphasizes the active sculpting of the national security situation and environment.
Leverage the New Security Pattern to Ensure a New Development Pattern
The Party’s report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China devotes a special chapter to discussing and deploying national security work, entitled “Modernizing China’s National Security System and Capacity and Safeguarding National Security and Social Stability.” This title not only corresponds to the theme of the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, but also aligns with the central task of the party, and it is a strong guarantee for the central task of the Party.14 The report puts forward a strategic plan for promoting the modernization of the national security system and capabilities, and clarifies four tasks: improving the national security system, strengthening our capacity for safeguarding national security, improving the level of public security governance, and improving the social governance system, reflecting the modernization of the national security system and capabilities. This demonstrates [the Party’s] determination to protect and steward the Party’s central mission of modernizing China’s national security system and capacity.
The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly states that “the new security pattern will guarantee the new development pattern,” highlighting the Party Central Committee’s overall governance strategy of integrating development and security, and building a new development pattern and a new security pattern. During the Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Party, [the Central Committee] for the first time incorporated “the integration of development and security” into the guiding ideology of economic and social development during the “14th Five-Year Plan”15 period. This has [thus] already become a major principle of party governance in the new era. The “integration of development and security” has increasingly become a new governance strategy for the Party Center to integrate the overarching configuration of its domestic and international [policies], including the integrated construction of a new development pattern with a new security pattern, and realizing a dynamic equilibrium between high-quality development and high-level security.
The Party’s report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China once again emphasizes “accelerating the construction of a new development pattern with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and the domestic and international dual cycle promoting each other,” and for the first time proposed “using a new security pattern to guarantee a new development pattern.” The expression “accelerating the construction of a new security pattern” was first proposed in the “National Security Strategy (2021-2025),” which was reviewed and approved by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in November 2021.16 After the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China the construction of a new security pattern will be further accelerated. On this new journey, the following four points need to be grasped to accelerate the construction of a new security pattern:
First: the effective integration of development and security, in order to echo the general principle of integrating development and security, highlighting the important position of national security work in the new era, and that national security and development are equally important.
Second: the natural unity of people’s security and political security. People’s security is the guiding purpose of national security. Political security is the foundation of national security. The two [people’s security and political security] are the two keys to the theory and practice of national security with Chinese characteristics. The organic unity of the two will help realize a prosperous and peaceful livelihood for the people, [will secure] the Party's long-term hold on power, and it will also unravel the designs of external force to divide the blood-and-flesh connections that bind the Party and the people.
Third: vigorously safeguard national interests, which is mainly an external manifestation of national security work. The importance and urgency of external security will continue unabated, and state interests need to be vigorously safeguarded.
Fourth: security in all fields should be taken care of in an orderly manner. The Total National Security Paradigm emphasizes the concept of “great security,” which has already covered many domains before the 20th CPC National Congress, and will continue to dynamically adjust with social development. Security in all fields must be comprehensively integrated, which means making overall plans and focusing on general management, but even more so means managing [problems] in an orderly manner and giving proper attention to critical issues. It is necessary to distinguish between the priorities of different fields of security and ensure that we are prioritizing the most urgent. In order to prevent the concept creep of security, [we must realize that] it is not possible to attend to all matters at once.17
Looking to the future, to fully implement the new requirements of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is on a new [national] journey, for national security work it is necessary to take into account both theoretical exploration and institutional innovation, adopt a multi-pronged approach, address both symptoms and root causes, and implement both internal and external repairs, so as to accelerate the construction of a new security pattern and give the new development pattern a strong guarantee.
(Author: Chen Xiangyang, Director of the Office of the Total National Security Paradigm Research Center, Researcher and Ph.D. Supervisor of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations)
Editor in charge: Zhang Hao, Cui Kaiming
1. The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was hosted in Beijing from 16 October to 22 October 2022.
2. The Chinese word guójiā 国家 is properly translated either as “country” or “state,” and the phrase guójiā ānquán 国家安全, here translated as “national security” is probably best translated as “state security” instead. The phrase “state security” would accord with many older official translations (as in “Ministry of State Security,” or the Guójiā Ānquán Bù 国家安全部), but in recent years official English translations have favored “national security,” perhaps to better align Chinese institutions with American norms. To avoid confusing readers accustomed to terms like “National Security Commission” we are compelled to accept the subpar translation and relegate our objections to this footnote.
These objections go as follows: Like its English counterpart, the Chinese word for nation (mínzú 民族) refers to a large group of people who share a common history and culture but who do not necessarily live within the boundaries of the same polity. In contrast, guójiā explicitly denotes a political community. The security of a guójiā, therefore, is fundamentally about the integrity of the state institutions that bind this political community together, not the security of all members of a given nationality. This is stated explicitly in the 2015 National Security Law, which defines guójiā ānquán as a “situation where the state’s sovereign power, sovereign rights, unity and territorial integrity, people’s welfare, and economic and social development, along with other state interests, do not face internal or external threat. [指国家政权、主权、统一和领土完整、人民福祉、经济社会可持续发展和国家其他重大利益相对处于没有危险和不受内外威胁的状态].
See “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Guojia Anquan Fa (Zhuxi Ling Diershijiu Hao) 中华人民共和国国家安全法（主席令第二十九号）[National Security Law of the People's Republic of China (Chairman Order No. 29)],” Zhongyang Zhengfu Menhu Wangzhan 中央政府门户网站 [Central Government Web Portal], 1 July 2015.
3. In party rhetoric, the phrase “new journey” (xīn zhēngchéng 新征程) is a standard shorthand for the path China must take to achieve the goal of becoming a “modern socialist country” by 2049. This has long been identified as one of two “centenary goals.” The first sought to make China a MODERATELY PROSPEROUS society by the centennial of the CPC’s founding in 2021, and has been declared successfully realized. The second goal is aimed at the centennial of the PRC’s founding in 2049. The “new journey” phrasing associated with this goal entered the official lexicon in the political report of the 19th Party Congress in 2017. There Xi said that “The period from the 19th National Congress to the 20th National Congress is the historical convergence period of the ‘two centenary’ goals. We must not only build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and achieve the first centenary goal, but also start a new journey to build a socialist modern country in an all-round way and march towards the second centenary goal.”
The term occurs repeatedly in the political report of the 20th Congress, most prominently in its title. As the first Congress held after the completion of the first centenary goal, reorienting the Party towards this new long term objective is a central purpose of the 20th Congress political report. Thus Chen–following the report itself–repeatedly ties his discussion of state security to this phrase.
For the quote from the 19th Congress, see Xi Jinping, “jue sheng quan mian jian cheng xiao kang she hui duo qu xin shi dai zhong guo te se she hui zhu yi wei da sheng li zai zhong guo gong chan dang di shi jiu ci quan guo dai biao da hui shang de bao gao 决胜全面建成小康社会 夺取新时代中国特色社会主义伟大胜利——在中国共产党第十九次全国代表大会上的报告 [Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in an All-round Way and Winning the Great Victory of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era——Report at the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China],” Xinhua, 27 October 2017.
4. Reports to the Party Congresses are organized into titled sections. Each emphasizes the importance of its respective topic to the Party’s overall planning. The 20th Party Congress Report has 15 sections. In addition to the traditional section on national defense, the report adds a dedicated section to regime security titled “Promote the modernization of the national security system and capabilities, and resolutely safeguard national security and social stability [推进国家安全体系和能力现代化，坚决维护国家安全和社会稳定].”
5. The words “vastness” and “great” are two different translations of the same word: dà [大] , which might be defined as “big, large, great, extensive in scope, effort, or size.” As Chen defines dà in terms of a broad “field and scope,” vastness appropriately renders his meaning.
6. Social stability is an important component of Deng Xiaoping Theory and holds a significant position within the Party's guiding ideology. For Deng, social stability is the prerequisite to China’s economic growth. He wold emphasize this with statements like "China is too poor, and in order to develop itself, it is only possible in a peaceful environment" and "The overwhelming issue in China is the need for stability." For a longer discussion of the social stability theory, see Wang Linggui 王灵桂, “Deng Xiaoping guanyu weihuo shehui zhengzhi wending de jiben sixiang ——xuexi Xi Jinping zongshuji "2·17 jianghua" de tihui 邓小平关于维护社会政治稳定的基本思想 ——学习习近平总书记“2·17讲话”的体会 [Deng Xiaoping's Basic Ideas on Maintaining Social and Political Stability — Reflections on Learning General Secretary Xi Jinping's 'February 17th Speech],” 经济导刊 [Economic Guide], 24 July 2014.
7. 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.
8. Xi Jinping, “Jianchi Zonti Guojia Anquanguan Zou Zhonguo Tese Guojia Anquan Daolu 坚持总体国家安全观 走中国特色国家安全道路 [Adhere to the overall national security concept and take the road of national security with Chinese characteristics], Xinhua, 15 April 2014.
9. This was the third of three historical resolutions, the first being issued under Mao Zedong, and the second in the age of Deng Xiaoping. Historical resolutions are intended to serve as are-defining statements of party doctrine that cast judgement on the successes and failures of past party practice while laing down the ieological line the party must follow in the future. For the text of this resolution see “Zhonggong Zhongyang Guanyu Dand de Bainian Fendou Zhongda Chengjiu he Lishi Jingyan de Jueyi 中共中央关于党的百年奋斗重大成就和历史经验的决议 [Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century],” Xinhua, 16 November 2021.
10. The verb translated here as “sculpting” (sùzào 塑造) could also be translated as “molding” or “shaping.” We translate the full phrase 塑造国家安全 [sùzào guójiā ānquán] as “sculpting [the international strategic environment so that it aids] China’s national security” to capture the fuller meaning of sùzào when it is used in the context of national security. As American defense officials sometimes speak of “shaping a favorable security environment” so too do Party sources talk about “sculpting” an international environment that is favorable to Chinese interests. According to these sources, proactively shaping the international environment before a moment of crisis is just as important as building up Chinese capacity for crisis-management. See, for example, Guo Shengkun 郭声琨, “Tuījìn guójiā ānquán tǐxì hé nénglì xiàndàihuà 推进国家安全体系和能力现代化 [Advancing the modernization of national security systems and capabilities],” People's Daily, 24 November 2022.
11. Xi Jinping, “Jianchi Zonti Guojia Anquanguan Zou Zhonguo Tese Guojia Anquan Daolu [Uphold the Total National Security Paradigm and Take the Road of National Security with Chinese Characteristics], Xinhua, 15 April 2014.
12. Xi Jinping, “Ensure Absolute Party Leadership Over National Security,” in The Governance of China Volume III, (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 253-255.
13. “Zhonggong Zhongyang Guanyu Dand de Bainian Fendou Zhongda Chengjiu he Lishi Jingyan de Jueyi 中共中央关于党的百年奋斗重大成就和历史经验的决议 [Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century],” Xinhua, 16 November 2021.
14. The political report for the 20th Congress states that the central task of the Party is “to unite and lead the people of all ethnic groups in the country to build a great socialist modernized country in an all-round way, to realize the second centenary goal, and to comprehensively promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese-style modernization.”
16. The National Security Strategy (2021-2025) is something like a five year plan for state security. However, the document is classified and so its contents are only known by the oblique references to seen in writings like this one.
17. Translated here as "concept creep," this phrase would be more literally translated as “the generalization of security” (ānquán fànhuà 安全泛化). Itis most often used as an attack against American export controls, sanctions, and other coercive measures against Chinese firms. The implication there is clear: the United States is securitizing aspects of the Sino-American relationship that pose no security threat to American interests. Chen’s use of this term is different: Chen worries that indiscriminately applying the logic and rhetoric of security to all domains of Chinese policy will weaken the exceptional status of state security. If everything is a matter of national security, then nothing truly is. This concern has not been articulated in any of Xi Jinping’s public speeches. It is likely that Chen is freelancing here, inserting his personal bugbears into his interpretation of the 20th Congress political report.