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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid