Party and state media widely attacked the Trump Administration’s trade sanctions against China, and warned of retaliatory action by telling the US to “rein in the horse before the precipice” (悬崖勒马). Commentary cautioned that US protectionism would be its own undoing.
Xi Jinping welcomed DPRK President Kim Jong Un to Beijing this week ahead of a possible meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump. Xi affirmed that the friendship between the two countries “should not and will not change because of any single event at a particular time.”
A former vice-mayor from Shanxi Province was sentenced to death for accepting bribes.
Wang Yang: Adhere to and Develop China’s New Type of Party System
3.22-3.24 Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang (汪洋) visited the central committees of the eight democratic parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and held talks with their leaders. United Front Work Department Head You Quan (尤权) also joined the visits. Wang called for the deep study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th Party Congress, unwaveringly consolidating and developing the CCP-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation system, and giving full play to the unique advantages of the “new type of party system” (新型政党制度). He urged the democratic parties to continuously consolidate their common ideological and political foundation, and urged ACFIC to guarantee its comprehensive and effective coverage of the non-public economy and advance the creation of a “new type of government-business relations” (新型政商关系).
Xi Jinping Meets with Kim Jong Un
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Portal
3.25-3.28 At the invitation of General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Jong Un paid an unofficial visit to China from 25-28 March. Upon his arrival, Xi thanked Kim for congratulating him on Xi’s recent reelection as General Secretary of the CCP, and said that the timing of Kim’s visit was special and significant in demonstrating the great importance the DPRK Central Committee attached to the relationship between their two countries. Xi elaborated that the China-DPRK relationship was nurtured under a previous generation of leaders and was an important long-term tradition that “should not and will not change because of any single event at a particular time” (不应也不会因一时一事而变化). Xi expressed his desire for strengthened communication between China and the DPRK leadership. He later hosted a lunch at the Diaoyu State Guesthouse and welcomed Kim and his wife to visit China regularly.
Kim Jong Un stated that given the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK and the successful accomplishments of the 19th Party Congress and the Two Sessions, he thought it important to congratulate Xi personally. Kim also thought it important to brief Xi Jinping in person on the rapid developments on the Korean Peninsula. Kim echoed Xi’s sentiments that the China-DPRK relationship is a valued tradition born by the efforts of previous generations, and that their friendship will not change under any circumstances. Kim expressed his hope that the two would “maintain close communication through special envoys and personal letters” (并通过互派特使、致亲笔信等方式保持密切沟通).
When speaking of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Xi Jinping stated that since the beginning of this year the situation has undergone positive changes, and that the DPRK has made important efforts towards this end. He insisted on the goal of denuclearization, maintaining peace and stability, and solving problems through dialogue. Kim Jong Un also said that the situation is making positive developments, and that the DPRK has taken the initiative to ease tension. In the tradition of President Kim Il Sung and General Secretary Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un said he too is committed to denuclearization, and that he is determined to push North-South relations towards reconciliation and cooperation. If South Korea and the United States respond to good faith efforts made by the DPRK and adopt simultaneous measures for peace, denuclearization can be achieved.
Among China’s leadership, Li Keqiang (李克强), Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Wang Qishan (王岐山) as well as Director of the Central General Office Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥), Politburo Member Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪), Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Committee Guo Shengkun (郭声琨), Central Propaganda Department Head Huang Kunming (黄坤明), Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee Cai Qi (蔡奇), and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) participated in events related to Kim Jong Un’s visit.
Among North Korea’s leadership, Director of the Organization and Guidance Department Choe Ryong Hae (崔龙海), Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department Park Kwang Ho (朴光浩), Director of the International Department Ri Su Yong (李洙墉), Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party and Director of the United Front Department Kim Yong Chul (金英哲), and North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Young Ho (李勇浩) accompanied Kim Jong Un on his visit to China.
Li Keqiang Meets with China Development Forum’s Foreign Attendees
3.26 Li Keqiang met with the 2018 China Development Forum’s foreign attendees in Beijing. The forum attracted nearly 100 attendees from Fortune 500 companies, research institutes, and international organizations, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. Li told the attendees opening up is China’s fundamental national policy and said it would continue to deepen reform and expand opening up. He also stated trade wars have no winners and called on the international community to jointly safeguard the multilateral trading system with free trade as its cornerstone. Li emphasized the “Made in China 2025” (中国制造2025) initiative will treat domestic and foreign companies equally. He also claimed China would not force companies to transfer technology and would strengthen intellectual property rights and crackdown on infringement.
Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu Meet with US Congressional Delegation
3.27-28 Li Keqiang met with a US congressional delegation led by Senator Steve Daines in Beijing. He stated that, while US-China relations have faced trials and hardships since their establishment, they have experienced an overall progression toward further development. He also expressed his hope that the US Congress will play an active and constructive role in safeguarding the political and popular foundation of relations as well as work with China to do so. Li noted trade problems in China-US relations are long-standing and thus cannot be resolved overnight. He also claimed fighting a trade war would not only fail to solve these problems but also run counter to the fundamental principles of trade. The US congressional delegation indicated that there is no reason for the US and China to have conflict and that the US Congress is willing to push for solving bilateral trade frictions in a mutually beneficial manner.
The next day, Politburo Standing Committee member Li Zhanshu (栗战书) met with the delegation. He quoted Xi Jinping during the meeting, declaring cooperation is the only right option in China-US relations and win-win cooperation can lead to a better future. He also expressed his hope both sides can strengthen strategic communication, focus on dialogue and cooperation, and manage differences and sensitive issues to ensure bilateral relations stay on the right track. Li praised the good cooperation between China and the US’s legislative bodies and indicated the National People’s Congress is willing to work with the US Congress on a variety of issues. The US congressional delegation expressed its willingness to work harder to advance mutual trust and bilateral cooperation.
Yang Jiechi Meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in
3.30 Xi Jinping’s special representative, Politburo member, and General Office of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs Head Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) met with Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, South Korea. The South China Morning Post noted that Yang’s visit highlights the Party’s growing role in diplomacy, as he visited not only as a representative of the PRC government but also in his capacity as a Party leader.
Yang briefed Moon on Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un’s visit to China earlier in the week. He added China has long supported denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining the peninsula’s peace and stability, and using dialogue to resolve problems. Yang stressed the situation on the Korean Peninsula has reached a critical period of easing tensions and called for all parties to work together to promote smooth talks between leaders from the ROK and DPRK as well as the US and DPRK. Moon positively evaluated China’s talks with Kim, praised China for playing a constructive role on the Korean Peninsula, and thanked China for its contribution to the recent easing of tensions. While in Seoul, Yang also held talks with the National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha.
Zhong Sheng: America Must Take Responsibility for Unreasonable and Rash Actions
3.24 The commentary pen name Zhong Sheng (钟声), which stands for “Voice of China” and authoritatively transmits the official positions of the People's Daily on matters of international affairs, condemned the Trump administration’s recently issued Presidential Memorandum related to the Section 301 investigation. The article cautioned that China planned to respond in kind to any American actions that clearly harm its legitimate interests, adding that, although the country does not seek a trade war, it is not at all afraid to fight one. The article also noted that, from the perspectives of both US-China trade relations and the world economy, American trade protectionism has no advantages whatsoever and does not enjoy popular support. It concluded with a notable warning for the US to “rein in the horse before the precipice” (悬崖勒马) and not underestimate China’s determination and ability to defend its legitimate interests.
Zhong Sheng: Opening up Is Truly Impressive
3.26 The commentary pen name Zhong Sheng commented on growing anti-globalization sentiment in the world economy. It cautioned against reverting to protectionism, unilateralism, and egoism simply because development in one’s own country has encountered difficulties. The article argued in favor of opening up instead, noting China’s commitment to opening up reached a new milestone recently when “adhering to the mutually beneficial, win-win strategy of opening up” (坚持互利共赢开放战略) was written into its constitution. It also stated that China’s opening up benefited both China and the rest of the world through common development opportunities. According to Zhong Sheng, China’s emergence on the world stage is not only a success story demonstrating the wisdom of opening up but also a revelation for any country aspiring to greatness or a return to greatness.
Zhong Sheng: Against International Rules and Out of Place in this Era
3.27 The pen name Zhong Sheng criticized the US for threatening to raise tariffs and unreasonably demanding other countries act according to its will. It said that the US has raised the flag of protectionism, but underneath the flag it will only find itself. It pointed out that even traditional allies of the US will not stand by it on this issue. US actions go against international rules, are out of place in this era, and are condemned by the world. People have started to realize that the “fair trade” that the US is looking for is “beneficial to the US and not necessarily fair to other countries.” In the era of economic globalization, practicing protectionism will only squeeze one’s own developmental space and increase the opportunities of others.
US 301 Investigation Ignores China’s Achievements in Protecting Intellectual Property Rights
3.29 Ministry of Commerce Department of Treaty and Law Director-general Chen Fuli (陈福利) said that the Section 301 investigation launched by the US ignored the actual situation in China as well as the efforts made by China and the US for many years to reinforce cooperation on economics and trade and dialogue on intellectual property rights. The China Chamber of International Commerce released a statement recently saying that the Chinese government did not force or intervene with the technology transfer between Chinese and American industries. Chinese industries’ investments and mergers in the US are conducted according to the US law, and have created considerable job opportunities for the US. To conclude, the article highlighted that China has made improvements in perfecting its legal system for intellectual property rights.
UNITED FRONT WORK
Ethnic Work in the New Era has a Clearer Direction
China Ethnic News
3.26 A China Ethnic News article that was reprinted on the United Front Work Department website discussed important developments in ethnic work at this year’s Two Sessions, which created “a clearer direction for ethnic work in the new era.” The article pointed out that the recent constitutional amendments wrote “harmony” into the constitution as a feature of “socialist ethnic relations.” For example, a paragraph in the Preamble that read, “Socialist ethnic relations of equality, unity and mutual assistance have been established among the nationalities and will continue to be strengthened,” was changed to “socialist ethnic relations of equality, unity, and harmony.” Furthermore, Article Four of the General Principles was changed from “The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the minority nationalities and upholds and develops a relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China’s nationalities,” to “develops a relationship of equality, unity, mutual assistance, and harmonious relations among all of China’s nationalities.” In an interview with the newspaper, Shandong Ethnic Affairs Commission head Ma Chuankai (马传凯) insisted that Shandong will pursue innovative ways to promote ethnic unity in the aftermath of the constitutional amendment, including an “Ethnic Unity and Progress Awareness Month.”
Violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines in February 2018
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
3.26 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released figures for violations of the eight-point guidelines (中央八项规定) in February 2018. The month saw 2,516 investigations, 3,590 punished individuals, and 2,455 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions. The most common violations were related to granting subsidies and benefits, sending and receiving gifts and money, and misusing cars provided for official business. The cumulative figures for the first two months of 2018 were 6,574 investigations, 9,231 punished individuals, and 6,782 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions.
Zhang Zhongsheng Sentenced to Death for the Crime of Receiving Bribes
3.28 Former Vice Mayor of Luliang City in Shanxi Province Zhang Zhongsheng (张中生) was given a death sentence on his first trial for the crimes of bribery and holding a great amount of property acquired with ambiguous resources. In addition, his political rights were deprived and his private property was forfeited. The article stated that investigation had shown that Zhang had used his past positions to illegally provide help to others on the work of integrating coal resources and reviewing projects and accepted money or property through them. Over 130 million RMB of Zhang’s assets had been acquired with ambiguous sources. The article said that Zhang had ignored the law and acted with extreme greed and that his crimes had caused significant damage to the interests of the nation and the people.
CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (CMC)
Central Military Commission Issues Notification Requiring Military to Conscientiously Study and Spread the Spirit of the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress
3.26 The General Office of the Central Military Commission issued a notification requiring the military to conscientiously study and spread the spirit of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), especially Xi Jinping’s speech to the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police delegations and closing speech to the NPC. The notification emphasized officers and men must clearly understand Xi Jinping is the fully deserving core of the Party, commander of the military, and leader of the people who has the endorsement of the whole Party and love and respect of the people. It called for pushing forward national defense and military modernization, working hard to realize the Party’s strong military goal for a new era, and establishing a world-class military. It also stressed the military must recognize the importance of strengthening scientific and technological innovation for national defense and accelerate the creation of an innovation system for civil-military integration.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
3.27 International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with a Cambodian People’s Party study group for young politicians in Beijing. The two sides expressed their hope Sino-Cambodian friendship can be passed on to and further developed by the next generation.
3.27 International Department Vice Minister Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with InterAction Council Co-Chair and former Prime Minister of Ireland (Taoiseach) Bertie Ahern in Beijing.
3.30 Li Jun visited the Russian Embassy in China to express his condolences to the victims of the Kemerovo fire accident.
3.30 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with a Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) mid- and high-level leading cadre study group in Beijing. He positively assessed the MPP’s long-standing pursuit of friendly policies toward China. Both sides called for enhancing cooperation between their countries and exchanges between the CCP and MPP. They also exchanged views on inter-party activities marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of both the CCP and MPP in 2021.
3.30 Song Tao met with the President of Namibia and South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) Party President Hage Geingob in Beijing during his state visit to China. Geingob observed the SWAPO Party has long enjoyed friendly, cooperative relations with the CCP, remembers the CCP’s support during the Namibian people’s struggle for independence, and hopes to learn from the CCP’s experience in managing and governing itself. Song noted Xi Jinping and Geingob’s decision to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership between their countries provides a blueprint for China-Namibia relations for a new era. He also called for upgrading cooperation and exchanges between the CCP and SWAPO. International Department Vice Minister Xu Luping (徐绿平) and Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming (张益明) also participated in the meeting.
3.26 Economic Daily Editor-in-chief Fu Hua (傅华) was appointed head of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department.
3.29 The Ministry of Public Security added two new deputy heads: Xu Ganlu (许甘露) and Sun Lijun (孙力军).
3.29 Chen Chaoying (陈超英) became head of the discipline inspection team of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC).
3.29 Weng Jieming (翁杰明) became Deputy Director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC).
Special thanks to Eric Anderson for his help with the romanization of Korean names.