Civil-Military Change in China: Elites, Institutes, and Ideas after the 16th Party Congress

By Andrew Scobell; Larry Wortzel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3

HU JINTAO AS CHINA'S EMERGING
NATIONAL SECURITY LEADER

Murray Scot Tanner


INTRODUCTION

The end of Hu Jintao's first year as general secretary marks an appropriate time to begin assessing what Chinese national security policy under Hu Jintao will look like. The purpose of this chapter is to assess Hu's emergence as a “national security leader.” I will use the term “national security” not in the narrower U.S. conception, but conceived rather broadly, as the Chinese themselves do when they use the term “guojia anquan” to include Hu's leadership not only in foreign and military affairs, but also in internal security. More specifically, this chapter focuses on several interrelated questions: How well has Hu Jintao done in asserting himself as a policy leader in national security affairs? How effective has he been in obtaining a leading role in security-related policymaking—by gaining leadership over the key organizations involved in security policymaking, or by expanding the security-policy role of those organizations that he does lead, or by attempting to use policy issues to strengthen his influence in sectors where his organizational influence still lags? Finally, to what extent has Hu attempted, and succeeded, in articulating his own distinctive vision of China's national security?


STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES TO HU JINTAO'S NATIONAL
SECURITY POWER BASE

Two major institutional issues shape the political context within which Hu Jintao has come to power and help define the powerful challenges he faces as he tries to become a national security leader. The first of these concerns the structure of the leadership succession struggle, while the second concerns the evolving pattern of civil- military relations in China. Both present Hu with formidable challenges.

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