Wang Qishan was appointed as a deputy to the National People’s Congress, paving the way for his speculated eventual appointment to the Vice Presidency.
A PLA Daily commentary argued that China must expand its nuclear arsenal to effectively counter the growing US threat.
Wang Qishan Appointed to National People’s Congress
Hunan People’s Congress Net
1.29 Former Politburo Standing Committee Member and CCDI Secretary Wang Qishan (王岐山) was named to the National People’s Congress this week along with 117 other deputies from Hunan Province. The announcement lends support to recent speculation that Wang will be appointed China’s Vice President after stepping down from the Politburo Standing Committee after the 19th Party Congress.
National People’s Congress Standing Committee Convenes in Beijing
1.29 The 12th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee convened to discuss amending the PRC’s Constitution. The NPC Standing Committee’s chairman Zhang Dejiang (张德江) presided over the meeting while CCP Politburo Standing Committee member and Deputy Head of the Small Group on Amending the Constitution Li Zhanshu (栗战书) provided a briefing on the proposed changes. Li stated that, while the current version of the Constitution, which was adopted in 1982 and amended in 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004, suits China’s national conditions, important changes have occured over the last 14 years. He also argued the 19th Party Congress’ important theoretical viewpoints and guiding principles and policies, particularly Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, should be written into the PRC Constitution.
Inner Mongolia Elects Xi Jinping as its 13th NPC Deputy by a Unanimous Vote
1.30 The 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region held the fourth plenum of its first session and elected 58 Inner Mongolian deputies to the 13th NPC. Centrally-nominated Xi Jinping was unanimously elected as one of the deputies. The article reporting this story in Xinhua said that this is the general will of over 500 Inner Mongolian NPC deputies, the deep wish of more than 25 million children of the grasslands, and the embodiment of the loyalty of 1.3 billion people of various ethnic groups to the Party’s core. The deputies said that Xi’s participation in the election in border regions inhabited by ethnic groups shows a new style and image of the Central Committee, which is significant to the country’s critical strategies such as closely connecting to the people, creating a fine political environment, and promoting poverty alleviation and the “Belt and Road Initiative.”
Xi Jinping Presides Over Meeting of the Politburo
1.31 The Politburo of the CCP Central Committee met to approve a report from the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), which discussed reports from the party groups of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, State Council, CPPCC, Supreme People’s Court, and Supreme People’s Procuratorate that were delivered to the PSC earlier in the month. The Politburo fully affirmed their respective work reports from 2017 and approved their plans for 2018. According to the Xinhua report, the politburo affirmed that the Party’s leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and stressed that the NPC Standing Committee, State Council, CPPCC, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and Supreme People’s Court must resolutely defend the leadership of the Party during this crucial year for the building of a moderately prosperous society.
Xi Jinping: The Governance of China Vol. I Second Edition Published
1.28 The second edition of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China Vol. I, which was originally published in 2015 to publicize Xi Jinping thought both domestically and abroad, was released after revision by the Central Propaganda Department, CCCPC Party Literature Research Office, and the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration. Xinhua’s article emphasizes that this book has been an important source for the international community to understand China and the CCP.
Zhang Jun: New Era Requires New Judicial Practices
1.29 The People’s Daily interviewed Minister of Justice Zhang Jun (张军) about how the ministry is implementing the spirit of the 19th Party Congress. While detailing the ways in which the Ministry can improve the rule of law and promote legal reform, Zhang emphasized that the Ministry of Justice must allow “the strict rule of the Party to deeply penetrate the justice administration system, reinforce political construction, firmly establish the four consciousnesses, and preserve the high position of the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core in its political position, direction, principle, and path.”
Wang Hailou: The Confucius Institute Belongs to China and the World
People’s Daily Foreign Edition
1.31 A commentary written in the People’s Daily Foreign Edition’s Wang Hailou (望海楼) column, an important column that targets foreign Chinese speakers, discusses the “guiding opinion on pushing forward the reform and development of the Confucius Institute” (关于推进孔子学院改革发展的指导意见) recently passed by the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform. It explains the meaning of Xi Jinping’s statement that “the Confucius Institute belongs to China and the world.” First, the Confucius Institute is a “broadcaster” that portrays the China story well and delivers China’s voices well. Second, the Institute cultivates and spreads the consciousness of a community of a shared future for mankind. Third, the Institute demonstrates the “four confidences,” especially cultural-self confidence. The commentary concluded that the Confucius Institute has great prospects in the new era.
Zhong Sheng: Creating a Stronger Version of the “Golden Age” in China-U.K. Relations
2.2 The commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng,” which stands for “Voice of China” and/or “Sounding the Alarm Bell” and authoritatively transmits the official positions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, reflected on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s trip to China. It identified “Golden Age” as the keyword currently defining China-U.K. relations and stated both countries are working together to create “a stronger version of this era.” The commentary argued such strengthening has three implications. First, the stronger version cannot be separated from the strategic guidance of each country’s leaders. Second, it signifies the existence of a more substantial cooperative foundation (e.g. the Belt and Road Initiative and U.K.-China CEO Council). Third, it is linked to the world’s future development trends, namely supporting economic globalization, opposing protectionism, reforming the global economic governance system, and responding to climate change and other major international problems.
Xi Jinping Meets with Theresa May: China and Britain Can Enhance Cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative
2.2 This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May made her first official visit to China. At a meeting between the two leaders, Xi Jinping stressed the need for international cooperation in today’s multi-polar world. China and the UK should cooperate on economic and scientific fronts, he stated, and the Belt and Road Initiative provides a transparent open platform for mutually beneficial endeavors. Xi spoke of extending a “Golden age” in Sino-UK relations, which included consolidating favorable public opinion towards one-another. Theresa May agreed that Sino-UK relations have strengthened since Xi’s visit to Britain in 2015. The article says she commended Xi Jinping’s speech at the Davos World Economic Forum last year, and that she hoped China and Britain will carry out the Belt and Road Initiative to promote global economic growth.
Deepen Comprehensive Strict Governance of the Party in the Central Banking System
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
1.30 Xu Jia’ai (徐加爱), the recently appointed head of the People’s Bank of China’s discipline inspection group, published an article on the problems in China’s central banking system on the CCDI’s website. He wrote that, since the central banking system does highly political work related to national security and interests, the people’s interests, and the Party’s ruling foundation, those working in the system who pursue selfish interests are not simply petty thieves but a major problem shaking the country’s very foundation. Other problems include so-called “cats and rats” among financial regulators, “unlicensed driving” of financial activity, and illegal fundraising. Xu noted that, while the system and its mechanisms need improvement, these problems are fundamentally rooted in its people. He identified deepening comprehensive strict governance of the party in the central banking system as their solution.
Zhao Leji Addresses Central Inspection Work Mobilization and Deployment Conference
2.2 Politburo Standing Committee Member and CCDI Secretary Zhao Leji (赵乐际) addressed the Central Inspection Work Mobilization and Deployment Conference held in Beijing. He told inspection workers that they must “work hard to discover violations of political discipline and political rules, corruption among leading cadres, unhealthy tendencies surrounding the masses, violations of the spirit of the eight guidelines, cadres’ unwillingness to take on responsibilities and inaction, violation in hiring and choosing procedure and other prominent problems.”
CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (CMC)
Drawing Lessons from the Intensification of Nuclear Deterrence in America, Russia, and Other Nuclear Powers
1.30 A PLA Daily article by two PLA Academy of Military Science researchers argues that China must increase its nuclear stockpile to deter the US threat, responding to reports that the Trump administration plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal. An editor’s note concludes that, while the ultimate goal is the eradication of nuclear weapons, under today’s circumstances, “China must strengthen credible and reliable nuclear deterrence and counter-strike capabilities, and enhance strategic counterbalance capabilities in order to promote effective nuclear deterrence, support China’s great power status, and defend China’s national security.”
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
Lou Jiwei Delivers a Speech at the 16th High-level Forum on Enterprise and Development
National Council for Social Security Fund Portal
1.28 Lou Jiwei (楼继伟), chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund and Former Ministry of Finance head (2013-2016) spoke on the state of China’s economy and concerns for the future. He noted that though the 19th Party Congress did not set a goal for GDP growth, to realize the goals set out the country would need to maintain “an appropriate rate of growth.” He warned that there is very limited fiscal and monetary policy maneuverability and that infrastructure “white elephants” and monetary stimulus will only aggravate current debt and waste problems. Lou spoke of problems facing China’s economy, especially China’s shrinking labor force, and endorsed reforming the household registration system (hukou/户口) to allow free flow of labor and greater access to public resources for migrant workers, and advocated pushing forward with developing market-based land rights reform.
He called on his audience to develop awareness of market risks. He made analogies to the US in the months before Lehman Brothers crashed, and the willingness at the time to ignore “gray rhinos” instead of acknowledging wider problems. He made the connection with the US in 2008 again by bringing up China’s housing market, and quoted Xi Jinping’s advice “houses are for living, not for speculating.”
He advised emulating Canada’s banking regulation system, which limits securitization and restricts bank leveraging. He also expressed concerns that current financial sector profits exceeded the profits in all other industries combined and that young people are choosing careers in finance instead of science. He advised those listening to consider former Premier Zhu Rongji’s (朱镕基) advice that financial companies be separated according to their primary line of business.
Learning from Xi Jinping’s Comments at the Second Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform: Put Down Old Concerns and Re-Liberate Thought
1.29 A low-level People’s Daily commentary criticized CCP cadres for stalling on reform. It discusses Xi Jinping’s speech to the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, in which he directed his listeners to “re-liberate thought” (思想再解放). It explains what re-liberating thought means, tying it to the ingenuity of China’s opening up (改革开放) and saying that it is at the root of China’s miraculous rise. The article directly addresses party cadres, making the accusation that some public figures still have concerns about reform and “some leading cadres are reluctant to think hard on the issues, and lack initiative and creativity.” These “lavish and previously lavish” (“曾经阔气的”和“正在阔气的”) interest groups are said to have enjoyed the perks of corruption and are now reluctant to allow reform to plug up their cash streams. The article calls on the reader to listen to Xi and re-liberate one’s mind so that one can confront the ideological barriers from within. Only by continuing to “break through the shackles of people’s thought” can the people bring about more miracles.
Enforcing a “Three-Pronged” Strategy to Prevent Capital Market Predators
China Securities Journal
1.30 The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC/中国证券监督管理委员会) announced efforts to increase crackdowns on insider trading and capital market “predators” (大鳄) through three prongs (三管齐下): (1) centralized law enforcement (集中执法), (2) industry law enforcement (业内执法) focused on illegal trading practices, and (3) scientific enforcement (科技执法) through the utilization of big data to monitor the market. So far in 2018, CSRC has investigated 20 cases of market “predators” guilty of insider trading, fraudulent misrepresentation or market manipulation.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
1.25-1.27 Li Xiaoxin (李小新), Committee Member of the Central Organization Department, led the Spirit of the 19th Party Congress Foreign Propaganda Group on a trip to the Netherlands at the invitation of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. The delegation met with party and governmental leaders. Li also delivered a keynote speech at a special event held by the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands.
1.25-1.28 Leng Rong (冷溶), Head of the Party Literature Research Office, led the Spirit of the 19th Party Congress Foreign Propaganda Group on a trip to Kazakhstan. The delegation met with leaders from the Nur Otan Democratic People’s Party, Ak Zhol Democratic Party, and Communist People's Party.
1.27-1.30 Li Xiaoxin led the Spirit of the 19th Party Congress Foreign Propaganda Group on a trip to Sweden at the invitation of the Riksdag. The delegation met with political and university leaders. Li also delivered a keynote speech at a special event jointly held by the Chinese Embassy in Sweden and Sweden-China Trade Council.
1.27-1.30 Wang Xiaohui (王晓晖), Executive Deputy Head of the Central Propaganda Department and Deputy Head of the Central Policy Research Office, led the Spirit of the 19th Party Congress Foreign Propaganda Group on a trip to the United Kingdom. The delegation met with Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle and leaders from the Conservative Party. Wang also attended a seminar organized by the Great Britain-China Center and 48 Group Club.
1.31 Song Tao (宋涛), Minister of the International Department, met with the President of the Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai ( 廖中莱) in Beijing. Both expressed interest in pushing forward their countries’ cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
1.31 Song Tao met with an Ivorian delegation led by Deputy Chairman of the Rally of the Republicans party and Head of the Road Maintenance Fund of Côte d'Ivoire Souleymane Diakité Coty in Beijing. Song positively assessed the results obtained through friendly cooperation over the 35 years since the establishment of China-Côte d'Ivoire relations.
1.31 Guo Yezhou (郭业洲), Vice Minister of the International Department, and Martin Davidson, Chairman of the Great Britain-China Center, signed a “Memorandum of Understanding on Continuing to Cooperate in Managing Dialogue between Chinese and British Political Parties” in Beijing.