Between 2014 and 2019, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders conducted an internal debate over whether to continue prioritizing economic development as the Party’s most important policy priority or whether to consider security equally as important. The debate has concluded as of 2020, and the CCP has embraced a new guiding principle that elevates security alongside development as a key policy focus. The CCP appears to have determined it can assert itself on a broad range of issues beyond those permitted by the ‘development-first’ approach it maintained since 2002, even at cost to economic growth. Following its new policy determination, the Chinese government’s behavior will be harder to shape using only tools that primarily threaten Chinese economic performance.
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