Vice Governor of Liaoning Province Liu Qiang was expelled from the CCP and public office for serious violations of discipline and corruption.
A People’s Daily editorial discussed the importance of the “three rural issues,” which refers to the issues of agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, emphasizing that without rural vitalization, there will be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Wang Huning Speaks to the Guiding Committee on the Construction of Spiritual Civilization
2.5 Politburo Standing Committee member and Guiding Committee on the Construction of Spiritual Civilization Director Wang Huning (王沪宁) spoke at the commission’s first plenary session. He instructed the commission that it is necessary to push forward the study, propagation, and implementation of socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era, and guide cadres and masses to safeguard the core position of Xi Jinping and the authority of the CCP Central Committee. He said that the Party must strengthen its leadership over the building of a spiritual civilization, and emphasized the need to advance socialist core values, revolutionary spirit education, enhance the Chinese people’s excellent traditional culture, and grasp youth ideology and morality building.
The 8th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting Held
2.6 The 8th informal meeting of defense ministers from China and ASEAN members was held in Singapore and was presided over by Singaporean Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (常万全). Chang said that ASEAN has always been the priority of China’s peripheral diplomacy and that China persists on being a good neighbor, friend, and partner of ASEAN countries. China-ASEAN relations have entered a new era where new actions are needed. These actions include conducting joint maritime exercises and anti-terrorist cooperation. Defense department leaders from ASEAN highly value Xi’s proposal to build an “ASEAN-China community of shared future” and expressed willingness to continue communicating closely with China.
Wang Yang: Promote Trade Liberalization and Facilitation, Accelerate the Development of Global Cross-Border E-Commerce
2.9 Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang (汪洋) spoke at a conference on cross-border e-commerce held in Beijing this week. Wang portrayed the Chinese government as a major supporter of cross-border e-commerce, which he says is bringing new development opportunities to many countries. He called for countries to open markets and minimize barriers to entry, work together to build regulatory standards for e-commerce, and improve cooperation and coordination mechanisms. Lastly, he emphasized the importance of jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and helping narrow the “digital divide” between developed and developing countries.
Cyberspace Administration of China Issues New Regulations for Microblogs
Cyberspace Administration of China
2.2 The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued new regulations for microblog operators which will increase the CAC’s control over microblog content. Among eighteen provisions are a requirement that microblog operators establish a mechanism to recognize and delete false information and a requirement that operators save user posts for at least six months. The regulations will come into force on 20 March.
People’s Daily Editorial: Write a New Chapter on “Three Rural Issues” for the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation
2.5 The CCP Central Committee and State Council recently released “Opinions on Implementing the Strategy of Rural Vitalization” (关于实施乡村振兴战略的意见). A People’s Daily editorial says that since the 18th Party Congress, the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has prioritized the modernization and reform of rural areas. The “three rural issues” (三农), which refers to the issues of agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, are the fundamental problems that concern the livelihood of rural people. With China’s principal contradiction evolving into the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever growing needs for a better life, it is required to stress the work of the “three rural issues.” Without the modernization of the farm industry and the rural area, there will be no national modernization. Without rural vitalization, there will be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Central Committee Issues “Rural Living Environment Improvement Three-Year Action Plan”
2.6 The General Offices of the CCP Central Committee and the State Council issued a “Rural Living Environment Improvement Three-Year Action Plan,” which it called an important task for rejuvenating the country. Xinhua reported that, “Although progress has been made, the living environment in rural China is very unbalanced with many areas in the grip of dirt and disorder. It falls far short of people's expectations and marks a key weakness in social and economic development.” Key tasks that local government are expected to carry out include implementing a garbage sorting system, improving toilets, and improving sewage treatment facilities. The China Development Bank, Agricultural Development Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, and Postal Savings Bank of China were told to issue loans to support such projects, and private companies were encouraged to contribute to the plan through public-private partnerships.
Zhong Sheng: Cold War Mentality is Like the “Stubborn Illness of a Scoundrel”
2.6 After China’s Ministry of National Defense criticized the US for exaggerating the threat of China’s nuclear weapons program in its Nuclear Posture Review, the People’s Daily published a commentary under the “Zhong Sheng” byline, 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. It accused the US of Cold War thinking and abandoning any sense of responsibility with respect to nuclear nonproliferation. The article reminds readers that China has maintained a restrained approach to the development of nuclear weapons and abides by the principle of no first use. While the rest of the world is calling for “win-win” international relations, the US is “unable to extricate itself from the paranoia of a zero-sum game.” “It’s body has entered the 21st century, but its head remains in the past.”
Zhong Sheng: China-Russia Local Cooperation has Great Prospects
2.8 The commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng” commented on the “Year of China-Russia Local Cooperation and Exchange,” which officially started on 7 Feb. Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent their congratulatory letters to the opening ceremony and thus raised cooperation from the local to the national level. This shows the special nature of China-Russian relations, according to the commentary. In the past year, Xi and Putin met five times and the trade volume between the two countries reached $84 billion. Cooperation on strategic projects such as energy, nuclear, aeronautics, astronautics, and infrastructures was deepened. With growing mutual trust and public support, willingness to conduct bilateral cooperation has also increased.
Zhong Sheng: Why Latin America Does Not Buy the Monroe Doctrine
2.9 The commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng” was used to criticize US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent remarks on American engagement with Latin America, which praised the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and warned Latin American countries of China's "imperial" ambitions. The commentary claimed his remarks were full of arrogance and hypocrisy. According to the commentary, while the Monroe Doctrine was a success from the American perspective, it only brought military interventions, regime change, and social unrest for Latin America. The commentary also argued that reviving the Monroe Doctrine is futile since multipolarization has become an irresistible trend. It then suggested efforts to do so will reveal that the US is the real plunderer of Latin America.
UNITED FRONT WORK
Xi Jinping Calls for a “New Atmosphere” for Multiparty Cooperation
2.6 Xi Jinping called for a “new atmosphere” for multiparty cooperation to better meet the needs of the new era at a gathering of the democratic parties and the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce to celebrate the Spring Festival. Xi told the gathering that studying and implementing the 19th Party Congress is the top political task for democratic parties. He also said that democratic parties should concentrate on providing new insights and policy advice on preventing and eliminating major risks, poverty alleviation, and eliminating pollution.
Following Xi’s speech, Tuanjie Bao, the official newspaper representing the Chinese KMT and democratic parties under CCP leadership, posted an article calling the occasion “another memorable day in the history of multiparty cooperation in our country.” The article lauded China’s multiparty cooperation system as a brand new way of governing engineered by the CCP and at times more efficient and successful than Western models. The article emphasized that this governance system “is the choice of history and the choice of the people.”
19th Central Committee’s First Round of Disciplinary Inspection: New Leadership Group Formation Revealed and First Time Entering Subprovinicial Cities
2.5 A mobilizing meeting of the 19th Central Committee’s first round of disciplinary inspection convened on 2 February, which symbolized the official start of disciplinary inspection following the 19th Party Congress. Among the provinces covered in the current round are Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, and Hunan, all of which will receive inspection tours for the third time since the 18th Party Congress. This round will also adopt a “mixed move” (混合打法) method since it will not use the old inspection pattern. Politburo Standing Committee member Zhao Leji (赵乐际) was named the head of the inspection work leading small group while Organization Department Head Chen Xi (陈希) and Ministry of Supervision Head Yang Xiaodu (杨晓渡) were named the deputy heads of the group.
CCDI Exposes Eight Representative Violations of the Eight Guidelines
2.9 The CCDI released a list of eight representative examples of violations of the eight guidelines (中央八项规定). A relevant CCDI official indicated the examples implicate the Party, government organizations, and enterprises and demonstrate both old problems and new trends. Additionally, breaking the law and showing lack of discipline during public holidays stresses the reality of the stubborn persistence of the four form of decadence (四风). The official emphasized party leading cadres, especially the heads of party organizations, must make strict demands for themselves and take the lead in opposing noxious influences during the 2018 Spring Festival holiday to ensure celebrations are honest and upright.
Vice Governor of Liaoning Province Expelled from Party
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
2.5 The CCDI announced that Vice Governor of Liaoning Province Liu Qiang (刘强) was expelled from the CCP and public office for serious violations of discipline. The CCDI wrote that Liu, “a high-ranking leading cadre, has lost his ideals and convictions, completely lacks awareness of objectives, (and) has highly inflated selfish desires.”
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
Government Must Shut the Revolving Door to Revitalize the Economy
2.5 An opinion piece from People’s Daily journalist He Yong (何勇) called on government organs to pay attention to the effect regulatory capture plays in China’s economy. The Northeast, says the op-ed, was home of the earliest planned economy and was the last to be introduced to market economics. As such, many cadres there do not understand or support private enterprise and entrenched bureaucratic oversight takes an undue role in “management of enterprises.” He believes that government planning decentralization and eliminating “bureaucratism” (官僚主义) and “formalism” (形式主义) will reduce over regulation and over involvement by self-interested bureaucrats and allow for greater development and prosperity in China’s Northeast and the country as a whole.
Li Keqiang Chairs State Council Executive Meeting: Deploys Further Measures to Reduce Corporate Leverage
2.7 The State Council listened to recommendations from National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members and passed a preliminary draft for “Express Interim Regulations” (快递暂行条例) to address administrative governance and corporate debt. They found debt-equity swaps and mergers were successful in reducing corporate leverage rates over the past year. The meeting committed to strengthening market based debt-equity swap institutions and issued targeted business guidelines to regulate and guide the debt-equity market. The meeting also announced the plan to establish a bankruptcy system for state affiliated enterprises and called for studying “zombie companies” (僵尸企业) to better compare bankruptcy costs.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
International Department and Guangming Daily Hold Meeting on Deeply Learning Xi’s Speech on “CCP in Dialogue with the World”
2.4 International Department and Guangming Daily jointly held a meeting on “deeply learning the spirit of Xi Jinping’s important speech on the ‘CCP in Dialogue with the World’” in Beijing. Minister of International Department Song Tao (宋涛) and Guangming Daily Chief Editor Zhang Zheng (张政) attended the meeting. Song pointed out that Xi’s talk proposed a “political party version” of building a community of shared future for mankind. Combined with the Belt and Road Initiative, they constitute the two wings of the community of shared future for mankind. Zhang said that the discussion of Xi’s speech would better demonstrate the CCP’s ability to influence, appeal to, and shape the world.
2.5 International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with a delegation led by Carolina Cosse, head of the Broad Front and Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining of Uruguay. Li stated the CCP is willing to use the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with Uruguay as a new starting point to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Broad Front, and advance the China-Uruguay strategic partnership to a new stage. He introduced Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th Party Congress. Cosse reportedly expressed her country’s desire to learn from Xi Jinping Thought and the CCP to advance its development.
2.7 International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen. They discussed bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.
2.8 CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping and Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong each sent letters to the other expressing Lunar New Year wishes. Xi stated that 2017 was an important year for bilateral relations, naming the joining of the Belt and Road Initiative with the “Two Corridors and One Ring” (两廊一圈) and bilateral trade reaching 100 billion USD. He said that 2018 is a year to strengthen bilateral relations and the traditional friendship between both countries, and expressed his personal willingness to maintain close communication with his counterpart to advance bilateral relations. Nguyen Phu Trong expressed similar wishes to advance the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
2.8 International Department Vice Minister Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with Vietnam Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi in Beijing. The two discussed bilateral relations between both parties and countries and issues of mutual concern.
2.8 Wang Yajun met with a high-level cadre inspection delegation from the Cambodian People’s Party, and the two sides discussed bilateral relations between both parties and countries and issues of mutual concern.
2.5 Wen Hongwu (文宏武) was appointed Secretary General of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (香港中联办).
2.9 Shen Haixiong (慎海雄) was appointed Deputy Head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and head of China Central Television (CCTV).