About This Report
The Party Watch Initiative Quarterly Report 2 provides a comprehensive overview of the most important Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-related developments and trends for the period covering January 2018 to April 2018 and offers near-term estimates of their future direction. It includes analysis of the 2018 National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Xi Jinping’s ongoing accrual of power, the new National Supervision Commission apparatus and its effect on the anti-corruption campaign, and united front work following bureaucratic reforms aimed at enhancing CCP control. The report is heavily based on Chinese language publications analyzed during the Initiative’s daily monitoring of authoritative CCP-regime sources.
Executive Summary: Trends and Near-Term Estimates
● General Secretary Xi Jinping oversaw the institutionalization of his personal authority through amendments to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Constitution and the appointment of his allies to positions of power. Most notably, these changes included the enshrinement of Xi’s ideology into the PRC Constitution and the appointment of Wang Qishan and Yang Xiaodu as PRC vice president and National Supervision Commission director, respectively. Amendments to the PRC Constitution that institutionalize the CCP’s leadership and its value system similarly serve to strengthen Xi’s control and solidify the CCP’s pervasiveness in society. It is highly unlikely that Xi’s personal authority will be challenged in the foreseeable future barring serious policy failures or other unforeseen events.
● The creation of the National Supervision Commission apparatus increases the CCP’s coercive control over the Chinese state by extending and proceduralizing the CCP’s investigative and detention powers over non-CCP elements of China’s bureaucracy, which now supersede the judicial authority of China’s top courts. Central Commission for Discipline Inspection control over the National Supervision Commission is secured through the joint sharing of resources and the appointment of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Deputy Secretary Yang Xiaodu as director of the National Supervision Commission. Central Commission for Discipline Inspection meetings indicate that it will continue to prioritize enforcing political conformity with Xi Jinping in 2018.
● Direct CCP control over religious, overseas Chinese, and ethnic affairs was enhanced through the CCP United Front Work Department’s displacement of state bodies that had previously managed those portfolios, further confirming the centrality of united front work to CCP objectives in the Xi Jinping era. United front sinicization policies aimed at solidifying CCP control over organized religion through cooptation will continue. Prominent united front speeches and events indicate that the United Front Work Department remains undeterred by growing foreign scrutiny of and opposition to its influence activities outside of China, including those targeting Chinese living abroad.
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