Xi Jinping delivered the opening address at the Boao Forum, in which he cast China as defender of globalization, saying “China’s open door will never close, it will only open wider!” State media reported that China is now a stabilizing force in the global economy in the face of “western anti-globalization sentiment.”
Former Politburo member and Party Secretary of Chongqing Sun Zhengcai (孙政才) pled guilty to bribery at his trial at Tianjin’s First Intermediate People’s Court.
Xi Jinping Meets Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen; China and Austria Establish Friendly Strategic Partnership
4.9 Xi Jinping met with the President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen. The two leaders agreed to bring China-Austria cooperation to a new stage by establishing a “friendly strategic partnership” (友好战略伙伴关系) with each other. Xi welcomed President Van der Bellen for his first state visit to China and his participation in the Boao Forum for Asia (博鳌亚洲论坛). He stressed that Austria is an important cooperative partner of China in Europe and that China is willing to work with Austria to explore the potential for bilateral cooperation. President Van der Bellen said that Austria is devoted to deepening its exchanges and cooperation with China in the fields such as trade, investment, scientific research, clean energy, and culture. After the meeting, a joint statement on the establishment of a “friendly strategic partnership” was released. The statement laid out how China and Austria will strengthen high-level visits and cooperate under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and on issues like anti-terrorism and promoting a multilateral trade system.
Xi Jinping Delivers Keynote Speech at Opening of the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia
4.10 Xi welcomed attendees to this year’s Boao Forum in Hainan and introduced this year’s theme, “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” (开放创新的亚洲，繁荣发展的世界). He noted that 2018 is the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Hainan’s special economic zone. Xi highlighted the incredible growth China experienced for the past 40 years, moving more than 700 million people out of poverty and becoming the 2nd largest economy in the world. Xi also noted China’s contributions to global economic growth, and credited China’s economy as a stabilizing force which assisted in coping with both the Asian and Global Financial Crises.
Xi used the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of China’s economy, emphasizing the importance of socialism with Chinese characteristics and naming the people as the true heroes advancing the nation’s history. He included the need for “re-liberating thought” (解放思想) and “self revolution and self reform” (自我革命、自我革新). He also stated China’s reform and opening is not only in keeping with both the historic requirements of the Chinese people’s needs for a better life, but also the peaceful development needs of the people across the world. Xi also emphasized the importance of innovation, saying that those who refuse to innovate will be eliminated by history.
Xi asserted China’s place as defender of globalization. During the speech, Xi expressed China’s support for working through the G20 and APEC and defending the principles of the UN Charter. He noted that the initiative of “a community of shared future for mankind” (人类命运共同体) has now been written in UN documents. Cold War zero-sum thinking has become increasingly obsolete, Xi declared. Countries should adhere to the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” (和平共处五项原则) and respect rather than confront other countries’ development paths or core interests. He added that China’s development does not seek to subvert the international world order, China does not seek spheres of influence, and China will not intimidate neighboring countries.
Xi laid out plans for the further opening-up of China’s markets, saying “China’s open door will never close, it will only open wider!” (中国开放的大门不会关闭，只会越开越大！) and that China is looking to build “free trade ports with Chinese Characteristics” (中国特色自由贸易港). Measures included in his speech focused on four key areas: 1) expand market access to foreign investors, including in the financial sector 2) create a more attractive investment environment through strengthened property rights, contract law, as well as regulatory transparency and enforcement 3) strengthen intellectual property rights, 4) expand imports and not set reducing China’s trade surplus as the goal.
Xi closed by noting the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi said China does not engage in private geopolitical calculations and does not call on people to deliver beyond their abilities. There will be some disagreements, Xi stated, but so long as everyone believes in the principle of common development they can resolve their differences and increase cooperation.
Huang Kunming: Use Institutional Reform as an Opportunity to Push for a New Landscape for Cultural Construction and Tourism Development
4.8 Central Propaganda Department Head Huang Kunming (黄坤明) attended the opening ceremony for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and emphasized that setting up the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a critical decision made by the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. It is important for reinforcing the Party’s comprehensive leadership over culture and tourism and pushing forward the modernization of China’s governance system. Huang stressed that Xi’s important thought on deepening institutional reforms for the Party and state should be deeply studied and implemented to steadily push forward various reforms.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia Releases Three Reports, “China Becomes a Stabilizing Force for Global Trade”
4.9 On 8 April the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference released three reports. “The BFA Development of Emerging Economies Annual Report 2018” (新兴经济体发展2018年度报告), “The BFA Progress of Asian Economic Integration Annual Report 2018” (经济一体化进程2018年度报告), and “The BFA Asian Competitiveness Annual Report 2018” (亚洲竞争力2018年度报告) each demonstrated positive progress for emerging economies and Asian economies in 2017. Experts attending the forum stated that China and emerging economies are playing a vital role in opposing the rise in protectionism and that Asian countries should accelerate the negotiation of the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).”
Among the attending experts quoted in the article, Professor Kent Calder, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), is quoted as saying that China has always advocated for global free trade and promoting trade liberalization, and that China is becoming a stabilizer for the global economy. Zhang Yansheng (张燕生), a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (中国国际经济交流中心研究), was quoted as saying that, historically, globalization was interrupted twice due to protectionism and that the United States suffered the Great Depression and Oil Crisis as a result, and that the recurrence of trade protectionism now is very troubling for the world economy.
The article describes the threat of “western anti-globalization sentiment,” (西方反全球化情绪) and quotes Secretary-General of the Boao Forum Zhou Wenzhong (周文重), who stressed the importance of Asian countries setting up clear policies to deal with structural changes in global value chains, working together to resist protectionist pressure from Western developed countries, and establishing a strong sense of community to proactively participate in conflict management.
Asia Cannot Develop without the Participation of Asian Media
4.10 The Media Leaders Summit for Asia (亚洲媒体高峰会议) was held in Sanya, Hainan province, on 9 April. 59 media organizations from 32 countries, including China, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, gathered together to discuss how to cooperate, push forward Asia’s development, and “tell Asian stories well.” Attendants reached a consensus to establish a cooperative coalition on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) news (“一带一路”新闻合作联盟). They also released a declaration saying that they support members of the coalition in conducting joint interviews to “tell the BRI story well,” establish a platform for information sharing, and hold dialogues and exchange programs to promote training in media development and new media technology.
UNITED FRONT WORK
You Quan: Increase Theoretical Research on Multi-Party Cooperation and Push Forward China’s New Type of Party System
4.12 The United Front Work Department (UFWD) convened a multi-party cooperation theoretical seminar commemorating the 70th anniversary of the “May Day Slogan” (五一口号) in Beijing. It was attended by members of every democratic party, non-Party representatives, and relevant scholars. UFWD head You Quan (尤权) delivered a speech emphasizing the importance of the “May Day Slogan” to China’s party system and called for increased research on this system’s implications and building a “new type of party system” (新型政党制度). You also stressed the need for deepened understanding of the system’s creative use of Marxism, assimilation of Chinese traditional culture, and development of what is useful and discarding of what is not from capitalism in multi-party cooperation.
“Three Transformations” - The Changes in the Functions of Discipline Inspection and Supervision Institutions since Working Together
China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Magazine
4.10 The CCDI and the new National Supervisory Commission portal posted an article discussing the changing roles and functions of the discipline inspection and supervision system after the Supervision Law passed. The “three transformations” (三转) includes changes in the function, method, and style of work. The article pointed out that the new supervision reform aimed to resolve the issues of limited coverage of administrative supervision and the disconnect between disciplinary inspection and law. The newly-established National Supervisory Commission will work together and share offices (合署办公) with the CCDI to fulfill the duties of discipline inspection and supervision under two institutional names but with one working system (一套工作机构).
On the surface, it seems highly similar to the reform of 1993 when CCDI and the Ministry of Supervision decided to work together and share offices. However, head of the CCDI unit at the Propaganda Department Jia Yulin (贾育林) thinks that there is a difference in essence between the two reforms. He said that, compared to the 1993 reform, which only focused on resolving the problems of overlapping functions between organization, the current reform had clear goals, which are to reinforce the Party’s centralized and unified leadership on anti-corruption work and to build a effective supervisory system that follows the Party’s unified leadership and contains full-scale coverage.
Sun Zhengcai Stands Trial for Bribery
4.12 Former Politburo member and Party Secretary of Chongqing Sun Zhengcai (孙政才) stood trial for bribery at Tianjin’s First Intermediate People’s Court. Prosecutors charged Sun with using the various posts he held between 2002 and 2017 to help certain units and individuals in project procurement, corporate operations, and position adjustment and illegally accepting money and gifts worth more than 170 million RMB either by himself or with others. Sun pled guilty, adding he deserves to be punished and only has himself to blame. He also stated he would submit to the court’s ruling.
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
New Era Reforms Brings Benefits (Op-ed)
4.12 Reflecting on Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the Boao Forum, Economic Daily author Dong Shaopeng (董少鹏) discussed how opening China’s markets to international investment and strengthening property rights are a symbolic actions towards “reform and opening up in the new era” (新时代改革开放) and will bring greater prosperity to China, Asia, and the world. Financial institutions, enterprises and individuals can benefit from investments driven by the market. This new round of development in the 40th year of reform and opening up also will have a profound impact on strengthening China’s institutions. China’s financial markets will be more diverse and inclusive, which will promote and strengthen the competitiveness and creativity of local institutions. Chinese manufacturing will be more innovative and focus more on quality and global competitiveness. Local innovation-driven companies will be bolstered by improvements in intellectual property rights, and the business environment will be better optimized through the creation of a stable, fair, transparent, and predictable business environment. These gains will create a new situation that will benefit China and the world.
Let Finance Empower the Real Economy (Op-ed)
4.12 Reflecting on the Boao Forum as a whole, Economic Daily Author Niu Jin (牛瑾) published an op-ed in which he wrote that the real economy is the foundation of finance, and finance is the lifeblood of the real economy. He also wrote of the importance of taking measures to reduce financial risks and improve the financial service real economy.
Niu called on deepening and accelerating financial and structural reforms. According to Niu, China’s demand structure is now more efficient, but its supply-side structure is still behind the times and is creating a structural imbalance in the real economy. Particularly, difficulties in financing small, medium, and micro enterprises stifle the economy. Niu said it will be necessary to reform multi-level capital markets, develop bond and futures markets, and promote direct financing. Niu further stated that financial innovation needs to serve the real economy and the needs of the people, which means high standards and strict financial supervision will be imperative. To this end, the establishment of the Financial Stability and Development Committee (金融稳定发展委员会), the formation of the “one bank two commissions” (一行两会架构), and the new financial regulatory framework aimed at China’s national conditions will provide a stable basis for the development of the financial system. Niu concluded by saying greater access to China’s market and finance industry will benefit China’s real economy.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
Song Tao Leads Art Troupe to North Korea
4.13 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) led an art troupe to North Korea to attend the April Spring Friendship Art Festival. China has sent art troupes to participate in the festival many times since it started in 1982. Xinhua stated that sending an art troupe to this year’s festival helps to implement the important consensus recently reached by Xi Jinping and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in Beijing and makes a significant contribution to strengthening and developing the traditional friendship between China and North Korea. It also claimed sending Song as the troupe’s leader embodied inter-party exchange’s important political role in guiding China-North Korea relations.
4.8 A CCP delegation led by International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with Israel’s Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein in Tel Aviv. Both sides expressed an interest in strengthening bilateral and inter-party relations.
4.9 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with a Union for the Republic (UNIR) delegation led by cabinet director of the Togolese president Victoire Tomégah-Dogbé in Beijing. International Department Vice Minister Xu Luping (徐绿平) also participated in the meeting. Both sides expressed an interest in strengthening bilateral and inter-party relations. Dogbé also indicated President of Togo Faure Gnassingbé and the UNIR both hope to learn from China’s development model and the CCP’s experience in comprehensive leadership reform, development, and stability. Xu separately met with the delegation on the same day.
4.9 Xu Luping met with First Vice President of the Panameñista Party and Mayor of Panama City José Isabel Blandón Figueroa in Beijing. Both sides indicated they look forward to exchange and cooperation in a variety of fields.
4.9 International Department Vice Minister Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with the former prime minister of Nepal and central standing committee member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) Madhav Kumar Nepal in Xi’an, where the first Shanghai Cooperation Organization People’s Forum was held. The two sides discussed bilateral and inter-party relations, party development, and person-to-person exchanges.
4.10 Xu Luping met with a German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) delegation led by Secretary General of the CDU and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) parliamentary group Manfred Grund in Beijing. Both sides expressed an interest in strengthening inter-party exchange.
4.10-11 The 10th China-UK Leadership Forum was held in Beijing. During a speech, Song Tao said China and the UK are increasingly becoming partners in realizing one another’s development goals, assuming global responsibilities, and promoting harmony between Eastern and Western cultures. British Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington stated that, as the UK proceeds with withdrawing from the European Union, its government regards China has an ever more important partner. Great Britain-China Centre President Lord Mandelson noted that, even against the current backdrop of challenges to global trade liberalization, the two sides have extensive common interests and spheres of cooperation. Before the forum opened, Song and International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业州) held a separate meeting with Lidington. Both sides noted the importance of the Golden Era in China-UK relations.
The following day Politburo member and Party Secretary of Beijing Cai Qi (蔡奇) met with Lidington. Both sides commented on the importance of inter-party dialogue and exchange to China-UK relations. A separate meeting between Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山) and Lidington and the rest of the British delegation was also held. Wang vowed China will provide bigger opportunities for the world through its development. Lidington described Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia as heartening.
4.11 Wang Yajun met with the Director-General of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party’s International Bureau Ryuji Koizumi in Beijing. Both sides exchanges views on China-Japan relations and inter-party exchange.
4.11 Song Tao met with a Filipino delegation led by the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce (PSRICC) Chairman Francis Chua (蔡聪妙) in Beijing. Song positively assessed the hard work of Chua and other Chinese Filipinos in advancing China-Philippines relations and encouraged the PSRICC to continue actively contributing to the realization of the Belt and Road Initiative.
4.11 Song Tao met with the Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaa Khurelsukh in Beijing. Wang Yajun also participated in the meeting. Ukhnaa Khurelsukh noted 1921 will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP and Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) and called for inter-party relations to continue playing a leading role in Mongolia-China relations. Song expressed the CCP’s interest in working with the MPP to implement and augment inter-party exchange and cooperation.
4.12 Li Jun met with Turkish Ambassador to China Abdulkadir Emin Önen in Beijing. Both sides expressed a willingness to improve bilateral and inter-party relations.
4.13 Li Jun met with Ecuadorian Ambassador to China Carlos Larrea in Beijing. Li indicated the CCP is interested in strengthening its relations with the PAIS Alliance and other major Ecuadorian political parties and promoting the healthy development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Ecuador. Larrea stated Ecuador is willing to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and promote mutually beneficial cooperation on trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism.
4.13 Li Jun met with a Cuban new energy resources study group. Li positively evaluated bilateral and inter-party relations and stated China is willing to help build Cuban socialism. The study group thanked China for providing the funds and technology to develop Cuba’s renewable energy industry.
4.10 The Ministry of Finance appointed its new leadership committee:
Liu Kun (刘昆) was appointed head of the ministry and secretary of its Party committee.
Zhu Guangyao (朱光耀), Cheng Lihua (程丽华), Liu Wei (刘伟), Hu Jinglin (胡静林), and Yu Weiping (余蔚平) were appointed deputy heads of the ministry and members of its Party committee.
Zhao Huiling (赵惠令) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s discipline inspection committee in the ministry and a member of the ministry’s Party committee.
Wang Ercheng (王尔乘) was appointed member of the ministry’s Party committee, secretary of the National Council for Social Security Fund’s (SSF) Party committee, and deputy chair of the NSSF.
Xu Hongcai (许宏才) was appointed assistant to the head of the ministry and a member of its Party committee.
Image Source: South China Morning Post