Xi Jinping called for China’s technological self-sufficiency at a national work conference on cybersecurity and informatization, at a visit to the Three Gorges Dam, and at a visit to a telecommunications company in Wuhan.
A draft amendment to China’s criminal law will establish a trial in absentia in which graft suspects can be convicted in absentia, strengthening the effort to extend the anti-corruption campaign overseas.
A Politburo meeting was held to review economic work and discuss border defense. According to Xinhua, participants concluded that the economy is growing stably in accordance with the requirements of high-quality development.
The National People’s Congress adopted a new law on the protection of heroes and martyrs that criminalizes the defamation of China’s revolutionary heroes and outlaws acts that “glorify invasions.”
Xi Jinping: Building a Strong Internet Nation with Independent Innovation
4.20-21 Xi Jinping, head of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, attended the national work conference on cybersecurity and informatization that was held in Beijing and emphasized promoting the construction of a strong Internet nation with independent innovation. Xi said that informatization has brought the Chinese nation an opportunity. China has to grasp it to reinforce positive online propaganda, defend cybersecurity, push for breakthroughs in core technologies, enhance civil-military integration in this field, and proactively participate in the global governance of cyberspace. He also stressed that, without cybersecurity, there is no national security or a stable economy and society. The Party should reinforce its centralized and unified leadership over the work in this field to organize, lead, and serve the people. Deputy head of the commission Li Keqiang presided over the meeting. Politburo standing committee members Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Wang Yang (汪洋), Zhao Leji (赵乐际), Han Zheng (韩正), and Wang Huning (王沪宁) who also serves as the deputy head of the commission, attended the meeting.
Xi Jinping Presides over Politburo Meeting and Analyzes the Current Economic Situation
4.23 The Politburo held a meeting to review current economic work as well as a document entitled “Opinions on Reinforcing the Cooperation Between the Party, State, Military, Police, and Civilians on Stabilizing Border Areas and Consolidating Border Defense in the New Era” (关于新时代加强党政军警民合力强边固防的意见). The participants concluded that the economy is growing stably in accordance with the requirements of high-quality development and deepening supply-side structural reforms. They also stressed that the Central Committee has decided to support Hainan in building a free-trade zone and a free-trade port with Chinese characteristics, which signals China’s decision to deepen reform and opening up.
As for border security, the meeting emphasized that reinforcement of the Party’s centralized and unified leadership is necessary to further improve the border defense system and coordinate the work of border security, the Belt and Road Initiative, and poverty alleviation.
Xi Jinping Meets with Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers Delegations
4.23 Prior to a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, Xi Jinping met with the foreign ministers of Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as the SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Executive Committee Director Yevgen Sysoyev in Beijing. Politburo member and Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office Director Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) were also in attendance. Xi stated that, since its founding 17 years ago, the SCO has become a comprehensive regional organization with far-reaching influence. He told the ministers China will work with every SCO member country to continue mutual support and making contributions to “SCO wisdom” (上合智慧) and the “SCO plan” (上合方案), maintain regional security and stability, deepen Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, and expand personnel and cultural exchange.
14th Meeting of the China-Japan Intergovernmental Consultation Mechanism on Cultural Exchange Held in Tokyo
4.24 The 14th Meeting of the China-Japan Intergovernmental Consultation Mechanism on Cultural Exchange was held for the first time in nine years. The meeting discussed the current situation of China-Japan cultural exchange and cooperation and the existing problems. A plan to promote a mechanism for officials from both sides to conduct exchanges in the next ten years was proposed during the meeting. Issues such as establishing information sharing mechanisms and platforms and conducting cultural cooperation were also discussed during the meeting.
Xi Jinping Gives Speeches Emphasizing Technological Self-Sufficiency
4.26 Xi Jinping presided over a forum in Wuhan to promote the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, where he visited the Three Gorges Dam, pointing to it as a model of China’s technological self-sufficiency： “This is a superior model of what our country’s socialist system is capable of producing, it is a model of the Chinese people’s wisdom and creativity, it is a model of the Chinese people’s progress toward prosperity… The core technologies, the key technologies, cannot be panhandled; we must rely on our own efforts. 1.3 billion Chinese people must work as one, hone their struggle, and achieve the Chinese dream!”
Later, he visited the site of Fiberhome Technology Group, an information technology and telecommunications company in Wuhan. He pointed to the success of the company as an example of the superiority of the socialist system, which concentrates resources to accomplish major undertakings. The next step in tackling key scientific and technological problems, Xi said, “is abandoning delusions and relying on one’s self.”
NPC Passes Law Protecting the Reputation of Heroes and Martyrs
4.26 The National People’s Congress adopted a new law on the protection of heroes and martyrs that criminalizes the defamation of China’s revolutionary heroes and outlaws acts that “glorify invasions.”
Xi Jinping Meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
4.27 Xi Jinping held an informal meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan. Xi told Modi that, as emerging economies have a strong desire for mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, and as cooperation between the two countries has the potential to influence the world, he hopes this meeting will open a new chapter in China-India relations. China, he stressed, is ready to establish a closer development partnership with India and promote progress between the two countries in various areas.
In return, Modi reportedly told Xi that the Indian side is willing to work with China to enhance mutual understanding and deepen cooperation. As ancient civilizations, the relationship between the two countries goes back to ancient times. The two countries should increase mutual understanding in order to work together to deal with global issues and challenges.
Minister Zhong Shan: Initiate a New Era of Openness
4.23 Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (钟山) penned an article in the People’s Daily interpreting Xi Jinping’s recent address to the Boao Forum for Asia. His article said that, drawing inspiration from Xi’s speech, China will “unswervingly promote a higher level of openness to the outside world,” and “unswervingly promote the construction of an open world economy.” Among numerous assurances, he promised that China would ease market access, relax restrictions on foreign investment, and fully liberalize the manufacturing industry. He promised that China would work to safeguard the multilateral trading system, promote regional economic integration, and promote the Belt and Road Initiative to pursue economic globalization. He ended with a promise to “unswervingly strengthen the Party’s leadership over the work of opening up,” which is critical to the continued success of reform and opening up.
ZTE: We Will Do Our Best to Protect Our Global Users’ Interests
4.24 Regarding the US Department of Commerce’s decision to ban ZTE (中兴通讯) from purchasing, selling, or engaging in any transactions that involve items, software, or technology regulated by the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for seven years, ZTE Chairman Yin Yimin (殷一民) said the company will do its best to fulfill its responsibilities to its users, cooperative partners, and suppliers, including the ones in the US. ZTE strongly opposed the decision, describing it as an unfair and unreasonable punishment. The company emphasized that it will continue to communicate with openness, transparency, and honesty to resolve this issue and will take legal action to defend its interests. Yin also stressed that ZTE will devote more resources to research and development to make itself stronger.
Wang Hailou: The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting Should Not Tell Bald Lies
People’s Daily Foreign Edition
4.26 A commentary published under the “Wang Hailou” (望海楼) column, an important column directed at Chinese/foreign Chinese living abroad, criticized a joint communiqué issued by the foreign ministers of the Group of 7 (G7) earlier during the week. It claimed the communiqué used international law as a pretext to make indiscreet criticisms of the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) disputes and made inappropriate comments on China’s human rights situation. The commentary insisted that, if the G7 countries abandoned ideological prejudice and objectively and fairly assessed China, they would not issue such baseless, irresponsible remarks and no longer make futile attempts at using human rights to interfere in China’s internal affairs. It argued the G7 has no authority to use international law to make charges against China since several of its members pursued a military strike against Syria without UN Security Council approval earlier in the month and urged the G7 countries, none of which have SCS claims and only one of which is implicated in the ECS dispute, to stay out of problems that do not involve them.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: China Has a Heartfelt Wish the Meeting Between North and South Korea’s Leaders Will Lead to a Positive Result
4.27 During a regular press conference, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hua Chunying (华春莹) responded to a reporter’s question on the then still ongoing meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. She expressed China’s heartfelt wish the meeting would led to a positive result, adding China applauds the Korean leaders for taking the historic step of meeting with one another and admires the political resolve and courage they have shown. Hua stated China expects the meeting will be a turning point and a step toward long-term peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
UNITED FRONT WORK
United Front Work Department Convenes the 14th New Social Classes Theoretical Research Group
United Front Work Department
4.16-25 The United Front Work Department convened the 14th new social classes theoretical research group, which met this week to discuss political developments at the 19th Party Congress and Two Sessions. Most attendees were representatives of new social classes (entrepreneurs, private sector and non-profit employees, and people who work in “new media”) from the NPC and the national committee of the CPPCC. Participants focused on studying socialism with Chinese characteristics and the spirit of the 19th Party Congress.
All-China Women’s Federation Takes Responsibility for Building a Strong Internet Nation
4.23 The All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) convened a meeting to discuss Xi’s recent speech on building a strong internet nation (网络强国) (see above). The meeting’s participants concluded that the ACWF must take a more active role and enthusiastic attitude in pushing forward the construction of a strong internet nation. ACFW Vice President Song Xiuyan (宋秀岩) called for advancing the online work of the ACWF and promoting a “digital women’s federation” (数字妇联). She said that in recent years, the ACWF’s work online and in new media has made significant headway, and that “Women Voice” (女性之声) is a matrix of the development of new media platforms. She called on the ACFW to play a greater role in carrying out online propaganda and guidance, fighting for women’s hearts and minds on the Internet, and strengthening online monitoring.
Violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines in March 2018
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
4.23 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released figures for violations of the eight-point guidelines (中央八项规定) in March 2018. The month saw 3,516 investigations, 4,910 punished individuals, and 3,473 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions. The most common violation in all three categories was granting subsidies and benefits, which was followed by sending and receiving gifts and money. The cumulative figures for the first three months of 2018 were 10,090 investigations, 14,141 punished individuals, and 10,255 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions.
Guo Wengui Accused of Forging Government Official Documents
4.23 During a case briefing attended by the Chinese and foreign press, the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau accused fugitive real estate tycoon Guo Wengui (郭文贵) of paying twin brothers Chen Zhiyu (陈志煜), who is a Canadian citizen, and Chen Zhiheng (陈志恒) to forge more than 30 secret documents from the Central Committee, State Council, and related ministries and commissions. Topics covered in the documents included North Korea, United Front work, foreign intelligence, and scientific research projects. The bureau said the investigation also discovered Guo and the others fabricating information of corruption among the leaders in the Central Committee and provincial-level departments.The bureau stated the content of the documents had been distributed abroad, misled the public, and created an evil influence and claimed Guo and the Chen brothers had seriously harmed national security. The bureau noted it will work with US law enforcement on its investigation.
Strengthen Efforts to Pursue Overseas Fugitives; Draft Amendment to Establish a Trial in Absentia System
4.25 A draft amendment to China’s criminal law was submitted to the National People’s Congress. The proposed amendment would establish a “trial in absentia” system, in which a defendant accused of graft could be charged even if they were absent in court. The point of the amendment is to strengthen the CCP’s efforts to extend the anti-corruption campaign to overseas fugitives.
CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (CMC)
Commentary: There is No National Security without Cybersecurity
4.23 A PLA Daily commentator published an article saying that Xi’s speech at the national work conference on cybersecurity and informatization elevated cybersecurity issues to the national security level. The commentary stressed that cyberspace has become a new platform for strategic deterrence and control, ideological struggles, economic and social stabilization, and informatized local war. Whoever controls the Internet controls the lifeline of a country’s security and development in the informatized era. At its end, the commentary urged the military to be prepared for cyber military conflict, promote innovative technology, and reinforce cyber civil-military integration.
Xu Qiliang Meets Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu
4.24 Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang (许其亮) met with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and said that the China-Russia relationship is the major-country relationship that is developing most successfully in the modern world. Mutual strategic trust has deepened and military cooperation has become more frequent. China is willing to reinforce mutual support and cooperation between the two countries. Shoigu said that reinforcing its comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is a priority of Russian diplomacy. Russia will continue working with China and facing new security threats with it.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Defense Ministers’ Meeting Held in Beijing
4.24 Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) presided over the 15th Defense Ministers’ Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing. Leaders of the military and defense departments from Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan attended the meeting. The Belarusian Minister of Defense also attended the meeting as a special guest. Wei said in his keynote speech that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the “China wisdom” and “China plan” for contributing to resolving the developmental problems that humanity is facing and improving the environment of global governance. Wei urged for further cooperation in conducting high-level exchanges, joint exercises, and educational training and especially in establishing a united front for combating terrorism. Wei also met with the ministers of defense from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and India respectively to exchange ideas on deepening military exchanges and cooperation during the meeting.
PLA Daily Commentator: Assiduously Push Forward Cyber Civil-Military Integration
4.25 PLA Daily published a commentator article arguing that the cyber industry represents a new direction for development and a great deal of its technology and products can be dual-use. Warfare has started to evolve toward informatized warfare. The establishment of a military information system, a informatized weapon and equipment system, and a supporting environment for informatization requires strategic resources from the whole country, which, in turn, requires a deep integration between the economy and military. The commentary said that cyber civil-military integration is not only a critical strategic project but also an arduous long-term mission. However, only with cyber civil-military integration can China comprehensively increase its ability to fight wars in a new era.
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
China Welcomes the Possibility of a Visit from US Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Ministry of Commerce
4.22 After US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about a possible visit to China, the Ministry of Commerce issued a one sentence response stating the Chinese government would welcome this visit as a chance to discuss trade and economic issues.
Wang Dongming: Advancing the Comprehensive Implementation of the Statistics Law
4.23 The First Plenary Session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress’ Statistics Law Implementation Inspection Group convened in Beijing to initiate inspections of the law’s implementation. NPC Standing Committee vice-charpersons Ji Bingxuan (吉炳轩), Chen Zhu (陈竺), and Wang Dongming (王东明) were in attendance. The group listened to reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (国家统计局), National Development and Reform Commission (国家发展改革委), and five other departments. Wang Dongming (王东明), who is also the chair of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, noted the importance of statistics to economic and social development and how the statistics law fundamentally complies with statistical activity. This inspection is the first carried out by the 13th NPC Standing Committee and the first inspection of the statistical law since its revision in 2009. The group endorsed “prescribing the right medicine” (对症下药) to supplement the shortcomings of law enforcement and promoting the full implementation of the Statistics Law.
Hainan Free Trade Port Construction Must Take the Road to Innovation
4.26 Recently, the "Guiding Opinions of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council on Supporting Hainan's Deepening of Reform and Opening-up" (中共中央国务院关于支持海南全面深化改革开放的指导意见) was released, giving insight into the future of the “Hainan Special Economic Zone” (海南经济特区). An article in Guangming Daily on this document drew heavily on an interview with Zhao Zhongxiu (赵忠秀), vice president of the University of International Business and Economics (对外经济贸易大学), in which Zhao endorsed the zone as a practical action for China to promote economic globalization and create a community with a shared future for mankind. Zhao said the support from the Central Committee is unprecedented and this action is the first move in deploying the 19th Party Congress directive on “exploring the opening of free trade ports.” Zhao noted Hainan’s strategic location and recommended that Hainan not simply replicate export-oriented trade-hubs like Singapore or Dubai. Instead, through the development of human capital, Hainan’s potential for self-sustaining growth will be released. Hainan’s advantages will include the free flow of domestic and foreign funds, low threshold access to the market, and the free flow of people, talent, and labor. Hainan’s opening, Zhao concluded, will be a defining touchstone in China’s promotion of reform, opening, and globalization in the new era.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
4.23 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic Erlan Abdyldaev in Beijing.
4.23 International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with a Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity party cadre study group from Ukraine led by the head of the party’s secretariat Maksym Savrasov in Beijing.
4.23-4.24 Song Tao met with the head of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Sounthone Xayachack for talks in Beijing. International Department Vice Minister Wang Yajun (王亚军) was also in attendance. Politburo member and Propaganda Department head Huang Kunming (黄坤明) met with Sounthone the following day.
4.23 Li Jun met with a Parliament of Albania multiparty alliance delegation led by Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Vasilika Hysi in Beijing.
4.23 International Department Vice Minister Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with a French young parliamentarians study group in Beijing.
4.24 International Department Vice Minister Xu Luping (徐绿平) met with a Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front delegation in Beijing.
4.24-4.25 Song Tao met with State Counsellor and National League for Democracy (NLD) Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi and Union Minister of the State Counsellor’s Office Kyaw Tint Swe in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on 24 April. He met with President and First Vice Chairperson of the NLD Win Myint, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Min Aung Hlaing, and Union Solidarity and Development Party Chairperson Than Htay in Naypyidaw as well as Chief Minister of Mandalay Region and Second Vice Chairperson of the NLD Zaw Myint Maung and several other NLD and government leaders in Yangon on 25 April.
4.26 Wang Yajun met with former Egyptian Prime Minister and Sharaf Foundation for Sustainable Development Chairperson Essam Sharaf in Beijing.
4.27 International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业州) met with a Samoan parliamentary study group led by the Social Sector Parliamentary Select Committee Chairperson Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana-Gidlow in Beijing.
4.24 The State Council announced several appointments:
Zhou Liujun (周柳军) and Deng Boqing (邓波清) were appointed deputy heads of the International Development Cooperation Agency.
Qu Yunhai (曲云海) was appointed deputy head of the State Immigration Administration.
4.24 Hou Jianguo (侯建国) was appointed president of the China Academy of Sciences’ Party School.