Xi Jinping gave a speech on constructing an “ecological civilization,” which was widely discussed in Party media throughout the week. The speech put increased pressure on top Party and government leaders to ensure the success of environmental work. After his speech, the CCDI released a report detailing six instances of environmental damage carried out by Communist Party officials, stating that ensuring the implementation of Xi Jinping’s environmental policies will be a major task of the CCDI.
Party media issued commentaries on the occasion of the China-US Joint Statement, describing the situation as both nations averting a trade war and a “win-win” (双赢) outcome for both countries.
Xi Jinping called for reform of China’s auditing system and for a national auditing commission in order to improve discipline and supervision work.
The Islamic Association of China launched a “Four Enters” Campaign that promotes the entrance of the Chinese flag, the Constitution and national laws and regulations, socialist core values, and excellent Chinese traditional culture into mosques.
Xi Jinping: Resolutely Fight the Tough Battle against Pollution and Push Ecological Civilization Building to a New Level
5.19 During a speech at a two-day meeting on environmental protection in Beijing, Xi Jinping emphasized that ecological civilization building is a project of fundamental importance to China’s sustainable development. He noted that, while the quality of China’s environment has improved, these results are not at all stable. Xi enumerated six important principles necessary for pushing forward ecological civilization building in a new era, namely: 1. Harmony between people and nature, 2. Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets (绿水青山就是金山银山), 3. A good environment is the most universal benefit to the people’s well-being, 4. Mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes, and grasslands are communities of life, 5. Environmental protection via strict institutions and rule of law, and 6. A joint plan for global ecological civilization building. He stressed China must ensure there is a fundamental improvement in its environment and the beautiful China (美丽中国) goal is basically realized by 2035. Xi called for comprehensively pushing forward green development, including adjusting economic and energy structures, nurturing and expanding industries involved in energy conservation, environmental protection, and clean production and energy, and other key points. He indicated China must resolve the most prominent environmental problems first and singled out air pollution as the top priority. He also advocated strengthening the Party’s leadership in the tough battle against pollution. Premier Li Keqiang and Politburo Standing Committee Member Han Zheng (韩正) delivered speeches and Politburo Standing Committee Members Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Zhao Leji (赵乐际) attended the meeting.
China and the United States Issue Joint Statement on Economic and Trade Dialogue
5.19 China and the United States issued a joint statement in Washington DC which stated both the sides will take effective measures to substantially reduce the US trade deficit with China. In order to meet the growing consumer demand of the Chinese people and promote high quality development, China will greatly increase purchases of goods and services which will in turn help US growth and employment. Both sides agreed to increase the export of US agricultural products and energy. The US will send a delegation to China to discuss the details. Both sides place high importance on intellectual property rights, and the China side agreed to encourage the revision of relevant laws and regulations including the ‘Patent Law’ (专利法). Both sides agreed to encourage bilateral investment, and to continue high-level communication and to actively seek solutions to economic and trade issues.
Xi Jinping Attends Shanghai Cooperation Organization Security Council Secretary Meeting alongside Foreign Delegates
5.22 Xi Jinping attended the 13th meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) security council secretaries in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The preservation of regional security and stability took a prominent role in discussions. Xi praised the multilateral cooperation that has taken place by SCO members since the group’s creation and noted its role in “striking hard” the East Turkestan Liberation Organization. Xi emphasized that while the security environment of SCO territories is generally secure, member states still confront the “three evils” (terrorism, national separatism, and religious extremism), drug smuggling, and international organized crime. Xi called for increased coordination in combating such issues and increased collaboration in resolving international crises, and called for mutual respect between member states and a new type of mutually beneficial international relations.
Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commision Guo Shengkun (郭声琨) and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi (赵克志) also attended the meeting.
Xi Jinping Meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel
5.24 Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing. At their meeting, Xi said that he appreciates the healthy development of the Sino-German Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (全方位战略伙伴关系) since its establishment in 2014. Xi emphasized that China and Germany need to be an example of win-win cooperation, leading figures in the Sino-European relationship, and seek cooperation that goes beyond ideological differences. Additionally, he said that China welcomes Germany to grasp the opportunity of China’s new round of opening up, and that China appreciates Germany’s support of the Belt and Road Initiative and welcomes Germany’s participation. He told Merkel that China and Germany will need to expand the third party market together, and shore up public opinion of the friendly relationship between the two countries (夯实兩国友好的民意基础).
Commentator Articles on Xi Jinping’s Speech on Fighting the Tough Battle against Pollution and Building an Ecological Civilization
5.20-5.23 The People’s Daily published a series of commentator articles supporting Xi Jinping’s 19 May speech on fighting the tough battle against pollution and building an ecological civilization (above).
The first article maintained China must bite the bullet (咬紧牙关) and improve its environmental quality now since doing so later will be more difficult and costly and result in more serious consequences. It contended the country must build an ecological civilization and a “Beautiful China” to realize the dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and claimed the tough battle against pollution and, by extension, the people’s approval for comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society can only be won by having “the bravery to fight with one’s back to the river” (背水一战的勇气).
The second article argued the people’s need for a good environment has become an important aspect of Chinese society’s principal contradiction and the Party’s mission is to meet the needs of the people and resolve prominent contradictions and problems. It described the six important principles articulated in Xi’s speech as an ideological and operational guide to pushing ecological civilization building to a new level and stated conscientiously studying Xi Jinping thought on ecological civilization will increase the sense of responsibility and mission among all levels of Party committees and the government.
The third article pointed out the importance of Xi’s speech in completing the two centenary goals and building a “Beautiful China.” It said that Xi’s leadership is fundamental and groundbreaking in the long run. At the same time, it is noted that there are many “hard bones to bite” (硬骨头要啃) in the building of China’s ecological civilization. The people will not acknowledge a “moderately prosperous society” if the ecological environment is still poor. It asked the party branches at each level to work on “building an ecological cultural system (健全生态文化), ecological economic system (生态经济体系), a goal and responsibility system (目标责任体系), ecological civilization institution system (生态文明制度体系), and ecological security system (生态安全体系).
The fourth article asserted the importance of the Party taking “political responsibility” for the construction of ecological civilization. The article made clear that the main leaders of local Party branches and local governments must assume “total responsibility” for local environmental work. In order to ensure government officials assume this responsibility, the article called for the creation of an assessment system (考核评价体系) to supervise local officials’ performance and wrongdoings in environmental work.
Trade War Averted, Win-win Situation for China and US
People’s Daily Foreign Edition/Economic Daily
5.21 Both the People’s Daily and Economic Daily issued commentaries on the occasion of the China-US Joint Statement, describing the situation as both nations averting a trade war and a “win-win” (双赢) outcome for both countries.
Economic Daily stated the agreement was reached with consideration for the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, and that this development benefits a stable and prosperous global economy. Economic Daily described the costs a trade war would have on both nations, including factories being shut down, employees losing their jobs, and a rise in consumer prices. The article further stated that China’s expanded imports from the US will help improve supply and meet the people’s needs for a better life. The US will benefit from this agreement by enjoying economic growth and employment. Furthermore, rather than China reducing the trade deficit by reducing exports, the Chinese negotiators chose to rebalance the trade deficit by purchasing more from the US. The article further stressed that China and the US are at different stages of development, and that resolving economic and trade disputes will be a long and arduous process.
The People’s Daily Foreign Edition noted that in future consultations, China and the US will focus on improving trade cooperation in energy, agriculture, medical products and finance. The article noted analysts say this will help China’s high quality development and reduct the US trade deficit. The article quoted deputy director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (国家发改委能源研究所副) Wang Zhongying (王仲颖) as saying that expanding energy imports from the US will not only help bilateral relations but also increase China’s energy security. The article also looked at agriculture, highlighting the popularity of American oranges, pistachios and beef among Chinese consumers, and that Chinese imports of soybeans and other products supplements domestic supplies, gives consumers more choices, and employs American business and farmers. It pointed out that import tariffs for medication including anti-cancer drugs have been reduced to zero, and noted the possibility of further cooperation over medical products. The article concluded, “In the short term, the great China-US trade relations ship has avoided the rocks” (短期来看，中美经贸关系这艘大船避开了礁石).
Zhong Sheng: Stick to the Main Channel of Mutually Beneficial Cooperation
5.21 The commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng” (钟声), which stands for “Voice of China” and/or “Sounding the Alarm Bell” and authoritatively transmits the official positions of People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, praised the latest round of trade negotiations between the US and China, describing it as good news for both countries as well as the global economy. The article stressed mutual benefit is the ballast (压舱石) and win-win cooperation is the essence of China-US trade relations. It pointed out China has a strong need for energy, high-tech products, agricultural produce, and other goods the US has an advantage in producing, highlighting the complementary nature of the two countries’ economies. The article noted China’s expanded imports are not stop-gap measures (权宜之计) meant to respond to trade frictions or external pressure. Rather they are meant to push forward China’s long-term development and satisfy the people’s need for a good life. The article concluded by declaring domestic reform and economic development important magic weapons (法宝) for China’s past 40 years of success and vowing China will continue to use them in the future.
Wang Hailou: Three Keywords from China’s Foreign Minister
People's Daily Foreign Edition
5.23 A commentary published under the “Wang Hailou” (望海楼) column, an important column directed at Chinese/foreign Chinese living abroad, praised Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s (王毅) recent official visits to France, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina and participation in the G20 Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers. The article argued three keywords were especially prominent in Wang’s diplomacy, namely development, cooperation, and openness. It claimed other countries view unilateralism and trade protectionism as being inconsistent with historical trends. The article also commented on Wang’s meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. It maintained Wang’s statement urging Australia to break free of traditional thinking and stop looking at China through colored glasses clearly indicated China’s development path is not the same as that of other great powers.
Will the Ban on ZTE Be Lifted? Domestic Suppliers Receive Supply Signals
China Securities Journal
5.23 China and the US announced on 22 May that they agreed on a path to resolve the ZTE Co. (中兴通讯) issue, though details are still being finalized. A-share stocks in communications and 5G related stocks saw a large increase after the announcement. Once finalized, the Trump administration will lift the ban on ZTE procurement of US products. After the initial seven year ban was announced, ZTE representatives told Shanghai Securities Journal reporters that the company has “one red heart and two ready hands,” (一颗红心、两手准备) to solve the issue. Shanghai Securities Journal reported that ZTE was optimistic about the sanctions being lifted, but the company has also accelerated its plan for “domestic substitution” (国产替代) of its chip supply and that some domestic suppliers are already substituting some components previously imported from the US. Under normal circumstances, the lead-in period for a chip takes about one year. However, Shanghai Securities Journal reporters found that ZTE the lead-in period for new domestically supplied chips was shortened to three to five months. A source noted that ZTE’s current review process is particularly strict.
UNITED FRONT WORK
"Four Enters" Mosque Campaign Opening Ceremony
5.18 The Islamic Association of China held an opening ceremony for their "Four Enters" campaign, which gives recommendations to mosques and Islamic associations across the country. The campaign proposals suggest that mosques “allow the Chinese flag, the Constitution and national laws and regulations, socialist core values, and excellent Chinese traditional culture to enter.”
The article notes that the campaign has received the approval from a broad range of representatives at the meeting. Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Xinjiang will also all start interrelated campaigns.
Changzhou Launches Three Year Plan for Ethnic Minorities to Achieve “Moderate Prosperity”
China Ethnic News
5.21 Changzhou City in Jiangsu Province convened a mobilization meeting for ethnic minorities in the city to achieve 'moderate prosperity' by 2020. City government initiatives include business subsidies, educational programs, and medical assistance for the poor. By 2020, the Changzhou City government hopes that the per capita income for struggling ethnic minority households will reach 10,000RMB.
You Quan Meets with the 14th Class of Tibetan Buddhist Tuoranba Senior Title Recipients
United Front Work Department
5.19 United Front Work Department Head You Quan (尤权) met with the 14th class of Tuoranba in Beijing on 19 May. Tuoranba is a senior title in Tibetan Buddhism. According to the article, You Quan emphasized that Tibetan Buddhists must thoroughly study and comprehend Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, from the beginning insist on correct political orientation, and resolutely defend national unity. You Quan also emphasized that they take the initiative in conforming to the era's developmental trends and vigorously carry forward religious doctrinal interpretation. You Quan advocated for all of these efforts in order for Tibetan Buddhism to pass on its traditions and develop new contributions in the new era.
Tan Tianxing: Macao plays a Unique Role in Advancing a Good China Story to the World
United Front Work Department
5.20 A delegation led by United Front Work Department Deputy Head Tan Tianxing (谭天星) paid a visit to the Macao Daily Newspaper Group and interacted with the newspaper's president, Lu Bo (陆波). The delegation included former State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office Propaganda Bureau Deputy Chief Li Guohong (李国红) and China News Service Chief Editor Wang Xiaohui (王晓晖). According to the article, Tan noted that Macao has great potential for further integrating into China's overall national development, specifically around the development of the Pearl River Delta and the construction of the Belt and Road. Tan also noted the role China News Service plays in reinforcing the exchange of views between Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan and the rest of the world.
Hao Mingjin Attends Democratic National Construction Association “Central Patriotic Education Center” Opening Ceremony in Shanghai
China Democratic National Construction Association Wechat
5.23 Democratic National Construction Association (CDNCA) Chairperson Hao Mingjin (郝明金) attended an opening ceremony for a “Central Patriotic Education Center” in Shanghai’s Huangpu district organized by the CDNCA’s Shanghai vocational training group. The site is the former assembly building for the party; the article noted that the ceremony coincided with the 70th anniversary of the CDNCA recognizing CCP leadership in 1948. More than 50 officials from the Shanghai municipal government and CDNCA attended the opening ceremony.
Wang Zhengwei Leads National CPPCC Delegation To Visit Bangladesh, Laos, and Myanmar
The People's Political Consultative Daily
5.22 Vice-Chairman Wang Zhengwei (王正伟) of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) led a delegation to Bangladesh, Laos, and Myanmar from 13-22 May.
Wang’s delegation separately met with leaders of Bangladesh’s parliament; Lao’s Vice-Premier, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Front for National Construction Central Committee; the President of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Speaker of Myanmar’s Assembly of the Union & House of Nationalities, Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Representatives; and members of the overseas Chinese community.
Wang discussed joint collaboration over the Belt and Road and introduced Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, alongside China’s multiparty system led by the CCP, among other topics.
In Ending Use of the Term “Overseas Chinese,” the Democratic Progressive Party has Unclear Motives
5.24 In the “Cross-Strait” section of Tuanjie Bao, Journalist Chen Xiaoxing (陈晓星) criticised Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for recently releasing a document calling for the end of usage of ‘overseas Chinese’ as a term. According to the article, the Taiwanese Overseas Community Affairs Council confirmed that they will cease using “overseas Chinese” in favor of “expatriates” as “overseas Chinese” does not capture the Taiwanese identity.
Chen argued that even school children correctly understand that, regardless if you were born in Taiwan or the mainland, if you live abroad but have not given up your original identity, you can be called “overseas Chinese” by those at home; Chen argued that while Taiwan and the mainland have changed substantially over the years, their shared bloodline, history, culture, and affection have not. Chen also stated that this significant change is untimely, suggesting that Taiwan’s government should instead focus on economic issues confronting the island.
Wang Yang: Effectively Conducting Poverty Alleviation for Ethnic and Religious Minorities is the Foundation for Long-Term Peace and Stability in Tibetan Areas
5.24 Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Yang (汪洋) recently travelled to Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu province to “investigate and research.” From 21-23 May, Wang visited rural areas, pastures, companies, schools, and religious locations in order to understand the area’s developmental situation. Wang emphasized the promotion of intermixing and interrelating every ethnic group in China, in order to jointly ‘keep watch and defend each other.’ Wang also noted that it is important to continue the sinicization of religion in China in order to actively adapt religion to socialist society; Wang wished to reinforce the CCP’s leadership in religious work and guide religion in promoting excellent patriotic traditions. Among other points, Wang noted that given the mountainous terrain in which many Tibetans live and high levels of poverty, the task of poverty alleviation is incredibly difficult. Wang hoped to reinforce organizational leadership, fiercely carry out policies, and consolidate previous achievements in lifting people out of poverty. He also noted the importance of environmentally sustainable development and the importance of protecting Tibetan areas’ blue skies.
Strengthen Party Leadership over Auditing Work, Give Full Play to Auditing’s Important Role in the Party and National Supervision System
5.23 Xi Jinping presided over the first meeting of the Central Auditing Committee. While delivering a speech, Xi emphasized reform of the auditing system and the establishment of a central auditing committee are both important measures for strengthening the Party’s leadership over auditing work. He stated the committee will fortify its top-level design and overall coordination as well as expand the breadth and depth of auditing supervision and eliminate blind spots in supervision. Xi stressed all regions, departments, and especially levels of leading cadres must actively support and cooperate with auditing work, voluntarily accept auditing supervision in accordance with the law, conscientiously rectify problems discovered during audits, and thoroughly study and accept the suggestions issued following audits. Li Keqiang and Zhao Leji also attended the meeting.
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Issues Report Exposing Those Responsible for Six Typical Instances of Environmental Damage
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Website
05.23 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released a report detailing six instances of environmental damage carried out by lower level CCP officials. An article about the development posted on the CCDI website notes that officials in Jinnan District in Tianjin Municipality, Ningjin County in Hebei Province, Lianyungang City in Jiangsu Province, Tongling Economic and Technology Development Zone of Anhui Province, Chengkou County of Chongqing Municipality, and the branch office of Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco) in Lanzhou, Gansu Province all failed to properly investigate issues such as improper storage of hazardous material or dumping of contaminated sewage in their districts. Multiple officials in each of the six instances have either been disciplined, publicially admonished, or removed from office. The article noted the importance that the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core places on sustainable development and environmental protection since the 18th Party Congress; according to the author, those party officials who were reprimanded are not serious enough, dishonest, and lack a strong grasp of environmentalism. It concluded that ensuring discipline in implementing Xi’s policies is the major political task of the CCDI now and in the future.
Violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines in April 2018
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
5.24 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) released figures for violations of the eight-point guidelines (中央八项规定) in April 2018. The month saw 3,922 investigations, 5,759 punished individuals, and 3,991 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions. The most common violations in all three categories were granting subsidies and benefits, sending and receiving gifts and money, and misuse of public vehicles. The cumulative figures for the first four months of 2018 were 14,012 investigations, 19,900 punished individuals, and 14,246 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions.
CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (CMC)
Ministry of Defense Spokesman on the US Cancellation of China’s Participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise
5.24 Ministry of Defense Spokesman Ren Guoqiang (任国强) addressed the US’ revocation of China’s invitation to its annual Rim of the Pacific Exercise. Ren said that the US was sensationalising the “so-called South China Sea militarization,” and simply using it as an excuse to cancel the invitation of China’s participation of the exercise. Ren also said that “whether or not the US invites China, it will not change China’s will to play a role in maintaining the peace and stability of the Asia Pacific region, nor can it shatter China’s determination to defend its sovereignty and security interest.” He said that China hopes the US will give up “zero-sum” thinking, properly handle the two military's differences in opinions, and make the relationship between the two militaries a stable element of China-US relations.
Wei Fenghe Meets with Tanzania’s People’s Defense Force Commander
5.23 Minister of Defense and CMC member Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) met with the commander of Tanzania’s People’s Defense Force at the Central Military Commission’s August 1st Building (八一大樓). Wei said that China and Tanzania have an unbreakable traditional friendship, and that they are “all-weather friends.” In the development of the Sino-Tanzania relationship, China will actively push for the building of a “community of common destiny”(人類命運共同體) and the Belt and Road Initiative, both concepts that were endorsed by the Tanzanian side. He also promised that the Chinese military will continue concrete cooperation on military affairs.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
5.22 International Department Vice Minister Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with a Portuguese Social Democratic Party (SDP) cadre study group led by SDP Vice President José David Justino.
5.22 International Department Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with a Sudan People's Liberation Movement cadre study group led by the South Sudanese Minister of General Education and Instruction Deng Deng Hoc Yai.
5.22 Li Jun met with the Egyptian Ambassador to China Osama Elmagdoub.
5.23 Li Jun met with an Iranian Islamic Coalition Party (ICP) cadre study group led by ICP Deputy Secretary Mehdi Soli.
5.23 International Department Assistant Minister Shen Beili (沈蓓莉) met with the Romanian Ambassador to China Constantinescu Vasilica.
5.23 Qian Hongshan met with a German Left Party cadre study group led by the party’s vice Chairman Axel Troost.
5.25 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters.
5.21 The State Council Leading Small Group on Poverty Alleviation and Development announced a reshuffling of its membership. Most importantly, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua (胡春华) was appointed group leader.
5.22 Chen Guoying (陈国瑛) was appointed deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
5.22 The State Council's Work Committee for the Disabled announced a reshuffling of its membership. Most importantly, State Council member Wang Yong (王勇) was appointed head of the committee.
5.22 & 5.24 Zhang Kejian (张克俭) was appointed secretary of the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense’s Party leadership group. Two days later, he was appointed deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
5.24 Ren Hongbin (任鸿斌) was appointed Assistant Minister of Commerce and member of the Ministry of Commerce’s Party leadership group.
5.24 Jiang Yi (江毅) was appointed director of the State Power Investment Corporation and deputy secretary of its Party leadership group.
5.24 Liang Yan (梁彦) was appointed deputy head of the State Grain and Reserves Administration.
5.25 Wang Xiaohui (王晓晖), the deputy head of the Propaganda Department, was appointed head of the National Film Bureau.
5.25 Zhuang Rongwen (庄荣文) was appointed head of the General Administration of Press and Publication’s National Copyright Administration.
5.25 Xie Chuntao (谢春涛) was appointed vice president of the Central Party School’s Chinese Academy of Governance.