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"Staying in Dialogue with China" – Transcript of Webinar #3 with Prof. WANG Zhengxu on "Economic Security" (19th June 2024)

June 2024 | In our third webinar of this year’s “Staying in Dialogue with China” series, we spoke to Prof. WANG Zhengxu, Professor at the Department of Political Science, School of Public Affairs at Zhejiang University about China’s “economic security” as a third structural transition as per CMG’s conceptual framework of China’s political economy.


From adopting the two policy concepts “holistic view of national security” (总体国家安全观) at the 19th Party Congress in 2017 and “coordinating development and security” (统筹发展和安全) with the 14th Five-Year-Plan in March 2021 respectively, Chinese policymakers have visibly made ‘risk management”, or in EU terms “de-risking”, a strategic priority in China’s policymaking in recent years. Even though economic security is only one of sixteen security concepts of China’s broad national security notion, we use it as the main term to discuss security interests of Chinese government with highest relevance for foreign business engaging in the Chinese market.


This development was driven by a confluence of factors at play in 2020, the main year of the drafting of the 14th FYP, including China’s hardened perception of the US’ intent to contain its further rise, persisting development challenges, previously introduced ideological reframing such as the “new era” and “high-quality development” and then, importantly, President Xi’s personal reflections in the form of a pivotal speech following the initial containment of the Covid pandemic in April 2020. Since the Central Economic Work Conference held at the end of 2023, however, a recalibration of security needs can be observed through policy articulations and new concepts such as the need for a “positive interaction” between “high-quality development” and “high-level security”.


Against this dynamic backdrop, the webinar discussed evolving security needs and risk perceptions of the Chinese government, the implementation of ‘economic security’ in China’s policymaking today – for instance through concepts and policies such as “self-reliance”, “bottleneck technologies”, “manufacturing champions”, “local supply chain ecosystems” or the “new system for mobilizing resources nationwide” – as well as what this means for foreign business.

WANG Zhengxu is Professor at the Department of Political Science, School of Public Affairs at Zhejiang University. Prior to this, he was Distinguished Professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) at Fudan University. He also serves as a research fellow in Fudan University's Institute of Belt and Road & Global Governance (BRGG), the university's think tank for international relations and global affairs. He served as a research fellow in the East Asian Institute (EAI) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) between 2005 and 2007. Later, he was a senior research fellow and then an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, during which he also served as the Acting Director of the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute. He researches on China's domestic politics and international affairs.

Check out the webinar transcript


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