China’s Domestic Security Under Xi Jinping – Sheena Chestnut Greitens
Play • 2 hr 7 min

One of the hallmarks of Xi Jinping’s tenure as China’s leader, since 2012, has been the notable strengthening of the state’s coercive architecture, through which it endeavors to control Chinese society.  In particular, Xi Jinping’s administration has substantially restructured the legal and institutional frameworks underpinning China’s domestic security, while also tightening central discipline over security personnel, and pioneering new technology-based methods for surveillance and social control.  In this episode, Neysun Mahboubi discusses with Sheena Chestnut Greitens, a leading expert on the politics of domestic security in Asian countries, how ideas about domestic security have developed in China under CCP rule, what are the institutions that embody them, and where the future may lead for China’s internal security–a discussion made all the more relevant today, when the Chinese state appears to be making use of the COVID-19 crisis to push its methods of social control even further afield.  The episode was recorded on May 3, 2019.

In August 2020, Sheena Chestnut Greitens will become an associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin, where she will also serve as a Faculty Fellow with the Clements Center for National Security, and a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.  Her work focuses on East Asia, authoritarian politics, and American national security policy.  She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an adjunct fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of the Digital Freedom Forum at the Center for a New American Security.  From 2015 to 2020, Greitens was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, and co-director of the University's Institute for Korean Studies.  Her first book, Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge, 2016) received the 2017 Best Book Award from both the International Studies Association and the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association.  She is currently working on two main research projects: one on China's internal security policies and their implications for China in the world, and another on authoritarian diasporas, particularly focused on North Korea.  She is active on Twitter, where you can follow her @SheenaGreitens

Sound engineering: Neysun Mahboubi

Music credit: "Salt" by Poppy Ackroyd, follow her at

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