Xi Jinping’s concept of “comprehensive national security” has become increasingly central to China’s policymaking. Over the past decade, Xi has turned national security into a key paradigm that permeates all aspects of China’s governance, in response to fears of global and domestic instability, and as a way to hedge legitimacy risks. This approach has reshaped China’s domestic and international behavior, leading to apparent overreactions like the disproportionate sanctions on European individuals and entities in March 2021 or Beijing’s response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022.
The all-encompassing national security mindset is increasingly locking China into certain modes of action. By priming officials and citizens to be ever-alert to potential threats, pragmatism has given way to ideology, which implies clear – and new – risks and challenges for governments, businesses and non-state actors engaging with China. This “securitization of everything” is not a temporary phase, and “comprehensive national security” is expected to play an even more important role during Xi’s likely third term.
The authors of the new MERICS Monitor “’Comprehensive National Security" unleashed: How Xi’s approach shapes China's policies at home and abroad’ present and discuss their findings with leading experts:
Katja Drinhausen, Head of Program Politics & Society, MERICS
Helena Legarda, Lead Analyst Foreign Relations, MERICS
Manoj Kewalramani, Fellow-China Studies, The Takshashila Institution
James Kynge, Global China Editor, Financial Times
Claudia Wessling, Director Communications and Publications, MERICS