The PRC’s View of Security

On 8 and 9 February 2024, the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) gathered a group of scholars and security practitioners at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University to explore how the People’s Republic of China views its own security. During a kickoff dinner and a daylong workshop, these experts leveraged a Chatham House format to share ideas and opinions on the concepts used by leaders in Beijing to understand their world and act within it. Over the course of a spirited and collegial exchange the grouped achieved a broad consensus—if not always unanimity—on the outlines of how security is viewed in the PRC. These ideas were discussed using the framework of sources, interests, threats, environment, and role. Taken together, these views paint a picture of how leaders in Beijing view their own security. This is a lens through which they see the world and interpret inputs, including policy developed by the US. Although the perceptions or opinions of foreign leaders should never be a veto on US policy, understanding the viewpoints discussed in this document will help policymakers check themselves and their plans to ensure they understand how actions will be perceived in Beijing.

We invite you to enjoy the results of our work by perusing the working paper resulting from the workshop. We have distilled the conversation, and the lessons we took from it, into an easily digestible format that will allow you to spend a few minutes inside the minds of leaders in Beijing and appreciate how security is viewed through their eyes. It is available for download here.