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February 14, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright February 14, 2009. Used by permission.


News agencies have been reporting widely on the content of the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat assessment, delivered Thursday by Dennis Blair (director of U.S. national intelligence) and peppered with language that hearkens back to the Bush era (of a whole four weeks ago, but, still, anyone else tired of references to the U.S. as the “Homeland”?). News stories have focused on the primacy given to the economic crisis in the report and the analysis of threats in the Middle East and what the report calls an “arc of instabilty” from South Asia through the Middle East. However, the report also contains several pages on China specifically (pp. 22-23), as well as mentions of China’s impact in Africa (pp. 34-5), its role in cyber attacks (p. 39), and Chinese environmental security (p. 45).

The full report is available at the website of the Director of National Intelligence. Below are excerpts of the included material on China.

From the section on China:

We judge China’s international behavior is driven by a combination of domestic priorities, primarily maintaining economic prosperity and domestic stability, and a longstanding ambition to see China play the role of a great power in East Asia and globally. Chinese leaders view preserving domestic stability as one of their most important internal security challenges. Their greatest concerns are separatist unrest and the possibility that local protests could merge into a coordinated national movement demanding fundamental political reforms or an end to Party rule. Security forces move quickly and sometimes forcefully to end demonstrations. The March 2008 protests in Tibet highlighted the danger of separatist unrest and prompted Beijing to deploy paramilitary and military assets to end the demonstrations.