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Pursue a Holistic Approach to National Security

Source: Xi Jinping The Governance of China IV Updated: 2023-09-22

Pursue a Holistic Approach to National Security*

December 11, 2020

National security, a key area for the Party’s governance of China, is extremely important in ensuring prosperity and peace. To guarantee national security in the new era we must pursue a holistic approach, seize the development opportunities presented during this strategic period, and make good use of them. We must guarantee national security in all respects and through all the work of the Party and the country, and take it into consideration together with social and economic development in our planning and dispositions. We will persevere with systems thinking to establish a complete security architecture and promote international security and world peace, so as to ensure success in building a modern socialist country.

The Recommendations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 were adopted at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee on October 29, 2020. This was the first time that coordinating development and national security had been incorporated in the guiding principles for economic and social development during the 14th Five-year Plan period (2021-2025). A chapter in the Recommendations is devoted to relevant strategies and plans, highlighting the significance of national security in the overall work of the Party and the country. This is the logical outcome of China’s stage of development and the situation and tasks it faces in safeguarding national security.

Our Party was established at a time when the nation was beset by domestic crises and exposed to multiple threats and foreign aggression, so it knows only too well the importance of national security. Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Central Committee has attached great importance to the country’s development and security, and safeguarding national security has always been one of its main concerns.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Party in 2012, the Central Committee has strengthened its centralized, unified leadership over national security. It has incorporated a holistic approach to national security into the basic policy that underpins our endeavors to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and made major decisions and plans in this area from an overall and strategic perspective. The central leadership has improved top-level design for national security, policies in key areas, and relevant laws and regulations, and by so doing has effectively addressed major risks and challenges and brought stability to the country’s security.

I would like to make the following 10 points on how to implement the holistic approach to national security.

First, we must uphold the Party’s absolute leadership and the Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership over national security. With overall planning and effective coordination, we must ensure the Party’s leadership in all areas of work relating to national security, and urge Party committees and Party leadership groups at all levels to fulfill their responsibilities in this area.

Second, we must follow a path with Chinese features and pursue a holistic approach to national security. We consider political security, the people’s security, and the supremacy of national interests as three essential elements of an indivisible whole. The people’s security, political security, and economic security are of great importance in maintaining national security. We will safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, guard against and defuse major security risks, and provide strong safeguards for realizing our national rejuvenation.

Third, we must take the people’s security as our purpose. Everything we do to maintain national security is for the people and supported by the people. We should make the best use of people’s enthusiasm and creativity to safeguard their security rights and interests. We should always regard the people as the fundamental force for national security, and will pool all the strengths and resources across the country to ensure it.

Fourth, we must consider development and security as of equal importance, and work to achieve mutually beneficial interaction between high-quality development and high-level security. We will improve our ability to maintain national security through development, and at the same time try to create a safe environment conducive to social and economic development through innovations in the approach, mechanisms and methods for ensuring national security. Taking greater account of security factors in pursuing development, we will try to achieve a dynamic balance and increase our capacity to perform our duties for national security.

Fifth, we must assign the highest priority to political security. This means that we must ensure the security of our state power and political system, and carry out all relevant work more proactively.

Sixth, we must promote security in all areas and respond to conventional and non-conventional challenges in a coordinated manner. We will coordinate national security activities and make good use of relevant policy tools.

Seventh, we must highlight the prevention and resolution of national security risks, and reinforce our ability to anticipate risks, so as to nip in the bud any latent danger that may cause a major threat.

Eighth, we must continue to promote global security for all. Upholding the principles of cooperation, innovation, the rule of law, and win-win results, we will contribute our part to the international endeavor to adopt a global vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We will strengthen international security cooperation and improve the global security governance system, so as to build a global community of shared future marked by universal security.

Ninth, we must continue to modernize our systems and capacity for maintaining national security. Supported by reform and innovation, we will bear in mind the rule of law and set up a well-conceived, well-developed, procedure-based and effective framework of systems for maintaining national security. We need to increase our ability to apply science and technology in safeguarding national security, as well as our ability to create positive momentum.

Tenth, we must strengthen our national security teams and Party leadership in this field, and make them an invincible force with strong political commitment.


* Main points of the speech at the 26th group study session of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)