Publication: Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2015
26 May 2015
Early on 6 December 2014, the Chinese state media reported the arrest of Zhou Yongkang, a recently retired Chinese Politburo Standing Committee member and the country’s former chief of domestic security. The public accusations against Zhou, which alleged that he was guilty of corruption and mafia racketeering, highlight a troubling dilemma facing Xi Jinping’s leadership, namely overhauling China’s domestic security apparatus while managing a number of threats to the security of the party and state.
The deterioration in security in some areas of China since 2008, coupled with Zhou’s prosecution, raise serious questions about the leadership of China’s domestic security organs, and the policies driving their development. It has been reported that China’s aggregate domestic security budget exceeds its defence budget; it has certainly grown significantly in the last decade. Despite such investment, a collection of persistent and historical threats has led to deaths, insurrection and heavy-handed tactics by the Chinese authorities.