On April 15, 2014, at the first meeting of the Central National Security Committee, General Secretary Xi Jinping creatively proposed that we must adhere to the overall national security outlook, treating the people’s security as the purpose, political security as fundamental, economic security as the cornerstone, military, cultural, and social security as the guarantees, and the promotion of international security as that upon which we rely, to embark on a national security path with Chinese characteristics. This forms the scientific guide and the fundamentals to observe for maintaining and shaping national security in the new era. Over the past eight years, under the strong leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core and under the guidance of the overall national security outlook, the path of national security with Chinese characteristics has been continuously expanded, and China’s national security has been comprehensively strengthened. The overall national security outlook is a major innovation of our Party regarding national security theory and is of great pioneering significance. We must long persevere in studying it, systematically and deeply comprehend it, comprehensively implement it, and continuously enrich and develop it.
On April 15, 2022, on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the introduction of the overall national security outlook, in accordance with the Party Centre’s arrangements, the Outline for Studying the Overall National Security Concept (hereafter Outline), which was organized and compiled by the Central Committee’s Propaganda Department and the General Office of the Central National Security Committee, was published and distributed. This was a major and joyous event for China’s national security cause on the new journey. It not only brings “timely rain” to further strengthen national security awareness throughout the whole of society but also brings the much needed “easterly wind” to accelerate progress in the development of national security as a primary-level discipline.
We need to persevere in studying the overall national security outlook over the long term and firm up self-confidence in the path and consciousness of the strategy in relation to new-era national security work. The direction determines the path, and the path determines the destiny. The path of national security with Chinese characteristics is a concrete embodiment, in national security, of the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It includes five important features, namely “Five Adheres” (五个坚持). The first is to adhere to the absolute leadership of the Party, improve a centralized, unified, efficient, and authoritative leadership system for national security work, and realize the unity of political security, the people’s security, and national interests as paramount. The Party’s leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest advantage of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. National security work must adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership. Political security is fundamental, the people’s security is the purpose, and national interests as paramount is the norm. Adhering to the organic unity of the three is both the ideological essence of the overall national security outlook and also the key to achieving long-term stability. The second is to adhere to safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to maintain stability and order in frontiers, borders, and surrounding areas. In relation to “frontiers, borders, and surrounding areas,” or “the three sides,” “the responsibility is to defend the territory, and every inch of territory must be fought for.” Homeland security has always been a top priority of China’s national security. The third is to adhere to secure development and to promote a dynamic balance between high-quality development and high-level security. The Recommendations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-term Goals for 2035 adopted by the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee incorporated for the first time the coordination of development and security into the guiding thinking for China’s economic and social development in the period of the 14th Five-Year Plan. It also set out a chapter specifically to make strategic arrangements thereon. This highlighted the important position of national security in the big picture of the work of the Party and the country. The fourth is to adhere to total war, coordinating traditional security with non-traditional security. Faced with the intertwining of and resonance between traditional and non-traditional security risks, and the increasingly fierce competition between major powers and increasingly prominent global challenges, we should implement the overall national security outlook, and focus efforts on “total warfare” thinking, to coordinate responses to traditional and non-traditional security challenges, ensuring that responses to traditional security challenges are more proactive while responses to non-traditional security challenges keep pace with the times. The fifth is to adhere to the path of peaceful development and to promote the coordination of self-security and common security. The external presentation of the national security path with Chinese characteristics is the path of peaceful development. China insists on coordinating its own security and common security, opposes the notion that “a strong nation is bound to seek hegemony,” and is committed to helping the world.
We need to systematically and deeply comprehend the core essence of the overall national security outlook and to master the theoretical weapons to deal with changes and defuse risks. The overall national security outlook with “Ten Persists” (十个坚持) as the core essence is a national security theory with Chinese characteristics which General Secretary Xi Jinping, through profoundly summarizing the historical experience and lessons of China and foreign countries, has himself, in the new era, created and continuously pressed forward and improved upon. The outlook has strong vitality and unparalleled superiority. 2022 marks the 8th anniversary of the overall national security outlook’s inception. The 20th Party Congress will be held in the second half of this year. China has embarked on the new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way. The brilliant achievements of national security work in the new era are obvious to all. At the same time, in the face of the historic changes in national security in the context of changes unseen in the world in a century, in the face of severe risks and challenges brought about by a period of turbulence and change in the external environment, and in the face of the transformation and upgrading of China’s high-quality economic and social development in the new development stage, we urgently need to strengthen overall national security outlook theoretical literacy and methodological guidance, we urgently need to resolutely follow the path of national security with Chinese characteristics, and we urgently need to effectively coordinate development and security and accelerate the construction of a new security setup that is compatible with the new development setup. The Outline’s publication can be said to have come at just the right time; it will effectively guide practice, deal with changes, and present new opportunities.
We must learn, comprehend, and implement the overall national security outlook and forge a firm will and spiritual character of daring to struggle and excelling in struggle. From “adhering to the national security path with Chinese characteristics demands waging a great struggle” to “resolutely winning the people’s war, total war, and blocking war in the prevention and control of COVID-19,” and from “resolutely winning ideological struggle” to “insisting on putting the prevention and resolution of national security risks in a prominent position,” what the Outline reflects is the fighting spirit of the national security cause in the new era and along the new journey, because the essential feature of national security work lies in struggle. On July 1, 2021, in his speech at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly introduced the “Nine Musts” (九个必须) of “treating history as a mirror and creating the future” for the new journey. Of these nine, number seven is to “wage a great struggle with many new historical features.” In the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party’s Hundred Years of Struggle adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee, the historical experience of our party’s hundred-year struggle was summarized, including “persistence in daring to struggle,” emphasizing that daring to struggle and daring to win is an invincible and powerful spiritual force for the Party and the people. As long as we grasp the historical characteristics of the new great struggle, develop the spirit of struggle, and strengthen the ability to struggle, and we gather the will and strength of the whole Party and all the people throughout the country, we will without doubt be able to overcome all foreseeable and unforeseeable risks and challenges.
We need to persist in advancing international common security and demonstrate new-era China’s responsibility as a major country and its concern for international affairs. Since late February of this year, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has suddenly erupted, the game between major powers and geopolitical competition has heated up significantly, and the international security environment has become volatile and changeable. Poles apart from the irresponsible faction fostering and flame fueling of the United States and the West, China insists on persuading peace and promoting talks and advocates attaching importance to the reasonable security concerns of all countries. The “global security outlook” has become a high-frequency word in China’s response to current regional hotspots and international crises. The overall national security outlook regards both self-security and common security as important, is committed to building a community with a shared future, and encourages all parties to work toward the goal of mutual benefit and common security. The overall national security outlook adheres to both internal and external cultivation, with the people at the center internally and with the world as its own responsibility externally. It promotes the establishment of a “common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable” “global security outlook”; what it seeks is not only the security of China but the peaceful coexistence of all countries and the safety of all. The “global security outlook” will help to solve the so-called “security dilemma” of Western international security theory because it abandons the zero-sum thinking and the hegemonic mentality of “if you lose, I win” and promotes the inclusive wisdom of win-win cooperation and the equality of universal security. China is consistent in its words and deeds and has always advocated the peaceful settlement of international disputes. China has promoted the building of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and a universally secure community with a shared future for all of humankind. China adheres to the principles of multilateralism and extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits and strives to maintain the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law with a commitment to strengthening international security cooperation, improving the global security governance system, and jointly addressing global challenges.
We need to continuously enrich and develop the overall national security outlook and see that the Party’s national security theory is constantly being innovated and making leaps ahead. The Outline comprehensively and accurately presents General Secretary Xi Jinping’s theoretical thinking on, and strategic drawing out of, China’s national security in the new era. The structure of the Outline is based on the “Ten Persists” proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the twenty-sixth collective study session of the CCP Central Committee’s Politburo. There are a total of 9 chapters, of which the second to ninth chapters are an overall deepening and partial reconfiguring of the “Ten Persists,” wherein partial refiguration merges the ninth and tenth “Persists” into the first “Persist.” The Outline comprehensively demonstrates the “Nine Concerns” (九个关于) of new-era national security, including strategic positioning, fundamental guarantees, choice of path, fundamental position, inevitable requirements, lifelines, main fronts and main battlefields, central tasks, and responsibilities of a major country. It comprehensively covers nine aspects, including the importance of national security, the leadership of the Party, the national security path with Chinese characteristics, the people’s security, the coordination of development and security, political security, security in different fields, risk prevention, and international common security. It reflects the high degree of unity between theory and practice, thought and work, strategy and tactics, and inheritance and innovation in the overall national security outlook.
On April 14, 2021, with the approval of the Central Propaganda Department, the Overall National Security Outlook Research Center was officially established. The secretariat of the Center is located in the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. The Center is positioned to create a “theoretical highland,” “propaganda battlefront,” and “talent base” for overall national security outlook research. Over the past year, with the cordial care of leaders at all levels and the strong support of all sectors of society, the Center has treated the overall national security outlook as its guide and advanced in a coordinated way national security theoretical research, strategic research, and ideological propaganda. At the same time, at the Institute, it has established eligibility to train doctoral students in national security as a primary-level discipline, founded the bimonthly magazine National Security Research (《国家安全研究》), and steadily expanded its influence as a think tank, its social influence, and its international influence in the field of national security research. Looking to the future, the Center will treat studying, researching, and publicizing the Outline as its responsibility, make continuing efforts and take on concrete responsibility, striving to play a leading role in research on China’s national security theory and strategy, in order to make new contributions to help escort the new journey of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.