In March 2011, China’s spending on internal security surpassed the budget for external defense for the first time. This was widely interpreted as evidence that China’s internal security apparatus – long seen as a highly repressive pillar of Communist Party rule – was tightening its control. In an upcoming piece for the China Quarterly, political scientist, China expert, and National Committee Public Intellectuals Program fellow Sheena Greitens challenges this understanding by contextualizing China’s security spending historically, and evaluating it against the magnitude of the threats it must address. Looking at a period of two decades, Dr. Greitens argues that China’s domestic security spending is more limited than most policy analysis suggests, and actually implies a weaker coercive capacity than is usually presumed. On April 26, 2017, Dr. Greitens joined National Committee President Stephen Orlins for a discussion on her current research, China’s domestic security budget, and its connection to developments in internal security under Xi Jinping.
Sheena Greitens is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Greitens holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University; an M.Phil from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar; and a B.A. from Stanford University. Her research focuses on East Asia, security studies, and the politics of democracy and dictatorship. Her first book, Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence, was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.