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National security acquires new features

By Tao Jian | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-25 07:56
Visitors walk in front of the ZTE stand at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, Feb 22, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Since China launched reform and opening-up and began to integrate with the international community, its exchanges with the outside world have significantly increased, putting its national security in greater focus. Generally speaking, the concept of national security has seen tangible and necessary expansion in China. Initially, national security referred mainly to political security, which held true during the Cold War era.

But thanks to the rapid growth of China's overall national strength, Chinese citizens and enterprises have spread worldwide and thus become increasingly exposed to other security threats. Which has made national security more about the security of Chinese citizens, whether they are studying or working overseas or just traveling abroad.

Other countries, too, are recalibrating their understanding of national security, especially after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and the advancement of globalization.

Besides, some serious non-traditional security threats have emerged. For example, for some island countries, national security threat now includes climate change. In fact, climate change has become an issue of life and death for these countries.

That's why China has adopted a holistic approach toward national security. Proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the first meeting of the National Security Commission on April 15, 2014, the holistic approach is aimed at better managing national security affairs in the new era, both at home and abroad.

In a way, the holistic approach to national security is reflective of "putting-people-first" governance and part of the efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind. This approach not only incorporates shared interest but also common security.

It is in this spirit that the Center for Discipline Construction and Synergistic Innovative Studies of National Security was established by seven Chinese universities, led by the University of International Relations, on May 27. It is a path-breaking move not merely because national security is yet to be made a specific discipline in the West but also because it has acquired Chinese characteristics, which emphasizes the building of a comprehensive system and devising a long-term plan.

The new center will serve as a platform for innovative studies in national security in the new era by adopting the holistic approach as its guiding thought and principle. As such, the center will enrich the holistic approach to national security.

Still, Chinese citizens and enterprises have to be made more aware of the importance of national security. For instance, multinational corporations usually have overseas security experts who deal exclusively with problems related to national security. Yet Chinese enterprises operating overseas are often overwhelmed tackling such issues, as exemplified by the trouble ZTE and Huawei have got into in the US.

When it comes to training talents specializing in national security, we should take into account both the short-and long-term needs because the demand for such talents are on the rise. Nonetheless, discretion is needed to ensure the scale and extent of training match up to the market demands.

Tao Jian is president of the University of International Relations. The article is an excerpt of his interview with China Daily's Liu Jianna.

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