The Communist Party's National Security Commission will be led by the top three members of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee, underscoring the authority of the new group that will monitor domestic and foreign security issues.
President Xi Jinping will head the commission, with Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang as deputy chiefs, Xinhua reported, citing a Politburo decision yesterday.
The commission would be in charge of "making overall plans and co-ordinating major issues and major work concerning national security", the Politburo statement said. The new agency would not be considered a government body and would report to the Politburo and its Standing Committee.
"Xi, Li and Zhang are the top three figures in this country. This structure tries best to avoid a conflict with the current seven-seat Politburo Standing Committee system," said Zhang Ming , who is a professor of politics at Renmin University in Beijing.
Xi, who also chaired a new leading small group on reform, had previously told a party meeting it was essential for the party to strengthen its control to maintain political stability, and the new body would help deal with threats at home and overseas, sources said.
"Ensuring [the party's] political safety and political power will be the primary tasks facing the National Security Commission," the sources quoted him as saying.
The commission was set out in a blueprint from the party Central Committee's third plenum in November, but few details were given. Observers wondered where it would sit in the state power structure and how it would align policies across the various intelligence, military and foreign affairs departments.
It is not yet known whether a parallel version of the agency will be set up under the state, as is the arrangement for the top military decision body, the Central Military Commission, where the same people are in both state and party groups.
Ni Feng, a senior research fellow with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that placing the new agency within the party's system would help strengthen the party's rule, and this arrangement did not require going through the legislative processes for approval.
Additional reporting by Cary Huang