News / Asia

China to Revamp Security Amid Threats at Home and Abroad

FILE - Police stand guard in front of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party office building after explosions in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov. 6, 2013.FILE - Police stand guard in front of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party office building after explosions in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov. 6, 2013.
x
FILE - Police stand guard in front of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party office building after explosions in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov. 6, 2013.
FILE - Police stand guard in front of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party office building after explosions in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov. 6, 2013.
Reuters
China will set up a new "state security committee'' as it seeks to tackle growing social unrest and unify the powers of a disparate security apparatus in the face of growing challenges at home and abroad, the government said on Tuesday.

Details of how the committee will work and when exactly it will begin operations were left unclear in the announcement, carried by state news agency Xinhua at the end of a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party to map out political and economic  reforms.

Xinhua said the committee would "improve the system of national security and the country's national security strategy'' so as to "effectively prevent and end social disputes and improve public security."

Cheng Li, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and an expert on Chinese politics, said the idea was based on the National Security Council in the United States and would increase coordination between the various wings of China's security bureaucracy, split now between the police, military, intelligence and diplomatic services.

"The official line is to better coordinate the very different domains: the intelligence, military, foreign policy, public security and also national defence. This gives tremendous power to the presidency,'' Cheng said, referring to President Xi Jinping.
       
China's potential flashpoints overseas include North Korea and the South China Sea, where the potential exists for a crisis to escalate quickly.

For years, officials have argued for a national security agency "that can handle crises in a more effective manner," said David Zweig, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"This could be a positive thing, in the sense that it would be a way for all the people involved in a foreign policy crisis to be in the same room at the same time,'' Zweig said.
       
The new committee could also strengthen the powers of the domestic security apparatus, grappling with rising numbers of protests over pollution, illegal land grabs and corruption, as well as continued unrest in places like Tibet and Xinjiang.

"I think what it says is that China, the party and government expect a considerable rise in social tensions over the next few years,'' said Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"Since legal reform and establishing rule of law is on the back burner at the moment...we can expect that the party and the government will try to respond to this potential risk by other means.''

Critics say Xi's administration has presided over a harsh crackdown that has moved beyond the targeting of dissidents demanding political change, including detaining activists who have called for officials to publicly disclose their wealth.

The Xinhua communique did refer to "upholding the constitution and laws'' and "improving judicial practice," but one prominent dissident said he feared things would only get worse with the new security committee.

"It will be used against rights defenders, people who uphold universal values, supporters of free speech and freedom of religion, people who are organising protests - all those the Chinese government cannot tolerate as they seem them as a threat to their rule,'' Hu Jia told Reuters.
   
"The Soviet Union had a state security committee - it was called the KGB. Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, China is resurrecting this. It's a step backwards into history.''

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs