Old Wine in a New Bottle? China's Approach to Human Security

Date: Tuesday, 7th October, 4.30pm

Venue: MYLT 101, Murphy Building, Kelburn Campus

Speaker: Dr Wenwen Shen


Since introducing the ‘New Security Concept’ (NSC) in the late 1990s, Chinese policy makers have demonstrated wariness towards the idea of ‘human security’. Until recently, China preferred to use non-traditional security or ‘people’s security’ – the latter resonating with the international human security discourse, while carefully carving out its own characteristics based on Chinese national conditions. This presentation discusses China’s approach to human security in comparison to human rights. It particularly looks at the extent to which this security conception has changed since the establishment of the National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China in 2013 under Xi Jinping’s new leadership. It argues that the plethora of Chinese policy and academic writings on its security concept that have emerged in recent years reflects the regime’s acute awareness of the need to strengthen the regime’s political security through enmeshing people’s safety into national security concerns, and also its conscious efforts in emulating international human security discourse in its national and diplomatic discourse while developing its own distinct priorities on internal and international security issues.

About the speaker

Wenwen Shen is a lecturer in the Political Science and International Relations' Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. She teaches 'the Power and Policies of the European Union' and 'the EU in the Asia Pacific'. Prior to this, she worked for a Brussels-based think-tank, the EU-Asia Centre and at the European Parliament for two years. She received her PhD from the University of Bath in 2012, and her thesis was entitled: 'Eurocentric Endeavour of Empty Rhetoric? Analysing the EU's Promotion of Human Rights in China through a Normative Power Perspective: 1989-2009’. Her research interests include EU-China relations, normative power of Europe, human rights and recently human security.