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Xi to head China national security commission

Chinese President Xi Jinping/AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping/AFP

BEIJING, January 24 – Chinese president Xi Jinping has been named head of a new national security commission, state media said Friday, emphasising his firm grip on power.

The appointment, which news agency Xinhua said was made by the Politburo, one of the highest decision making bodies of the ruling Communist Party, follows Xi being appointed in November the head of a new panel overseeing the country’s reforms.

Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, the head of China’s parliament, were appointed deputy heads of the new commission, the report added.

The body will be in charge of “making overall plans and coordinating major issues and major work concerning national security,” Xinhua said, citing a document from a politburo meeting. No other details were given.

Analysts said in November, when details of the commission were first announced by the Third Plenum, that it would have parallels with the US National Security Council, and that Xi was expected to lead it.

Beijing faces a number of possible overseas security threats, with potential flashpoints in the East China Sea, where China has a long-running territorial row with Japan, and in the South China Sea, where it is embroiled in a series of spats with its neighbours.

China also says it is confronting unrest at home from minorities in the restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

A Chinese Communist Party panel officially in charge of implementing reforms held its first session on Thursday, with Xi presiding over the meeting.

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