Beidaihe Beach (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)
State media contained hints that the annual Beidaihe meeting was underway, including reports on Central Organization Department Head Chen Xi visiting with a group of experts and Li Keqiang meeting with the United Nations General Assembly President at this location. During the meeting, prominent commentaries issued under pen names in Party media sought to demonstrate the leadership’s unity over Xi’s approach to the trade conflict with the United States.
The People’s Daily issued a commentary addressing critics of the Xi administration’s response to the escalating China-US trade war. The commentary was issued by the rarely-used Ren Ping (任平), a likely homophonous pen name that has been utilized in the past to comment on highly sensitive issues.
Another prominent commentary published under the name Xuan Yan discussed the challenges China is facing and the country’s determination to develop, declaring “no wind and rain can stop the Chinese people from pursuing a beautiful life.”
The Central Spiritual Civilization Development Steering Commission published a work plan for the centralized management of the prominent problem of lack of integrity and improvement of the integrity level of the whole of society.
Chen Xi Visits Vacationing Experts in Beidaihe, Emphasizes Promoting the Spirit of Patriotic Struggle
8.4 Xinhua reported that Central Organization Department Head Chen Xi (陈希) visited with a group of experts mainly from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering (两院) in Beidaihe. The Central Organization Department and Propaganda Department jointly announced a campaign to “Promote the Spirit of Patriotic Struggle” among intellectuals last week.
The report of Chen’s visit was viewed as a hint that the annual Beidaihe meeting in which senior officials meet to discuss personnel and policy was underway.
Central Spiritual Civilization Development Steering Commission Publishes Work Plan for Centralized Management of Lack of Integrity Problem
8.6 The Central Spiritual Civilization Development Steering Commission recently published a work plan for the centralized management of the prominent problem of lack of integrity and improvement of the integrity level of the whole of society. The plan is focused on carrying out 19 forms of specialized management. These encompass the management of:
Telecommunications network fraud,
False information and rumors online,
Problems involving loss of trust in the financial sphere,
Dishonest actions in ecological environmental protection,
Problems involving loss of trust in poverty alleviation,
Practicing medicine without a license and illegal medical treatments,
Wages in arrears,
Unreasonably low-priced vacations,
Tax evasion, tax fraud, and fake invoices,
Failure to carry out court judgments,
Problems involving loss of trust in transportation,
Cheating on theses and during exams,
Illegal social organizations,
Problems involving loss of trust in charitable donations,
Dissemination of false information about commercial performance and ticket scalping,
Fake lottery tickets, and
Rigged sports matches, corrupt refereeing, and doping.
According to Xinhua, the commission proposed “accelerating the creation of a credit report system, comprehensively establishing credit reports for every sphere, establishing a credit information system that covers the whole of society, and improving the mechanism for publicly revealing credit information” as a part of the work plan. It also called for “strengthening integrity propaganda and education.”
Li Keqiang Meets with 73rd President of United Nations General Assembly in Beidaihe
8.8 Li Keqiang met with the 73rd President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés in Beidaihe. According to Xinhua, he used the occasion to declare that “Every country should defend the rules-based international order, scrupulously abide by the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, and insist on using dialogue and consultation to resolve disagreements.” He also stressed that “the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and other international organizations need to carry out improvements and reform, but reform does not require going back to square one. It must be carried out on the basis of defending the post-World War II international order.”
The report on the meeting was viewed as another hint that the annual Beidaihe meeting was underway.
State Council General Office’s Notice on Establishing National Science and Technology Leading Group
State Council Portal
8.8 The General Office of the State Council released a notice on the decision to convert the National Science and Technology Education Leading Group (国家科技教育领导小组) into the National Science and Technology Leading Group (国家科技领导小组) as a part of the deepening of Party and state institutional reform. Its main duties are to research and review the strategies, plans, and policies for national science and technology development, and coordinate between departments within the State Council and between the State Council and local governments. The leading group head is Li Keqiang (李克强) and deputy head is Liu He (刘鹤).
Comment on the Unswerving Advance of the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform under the Central Committee with Xi at Its Core since the 19th Party Congress
8.5 Xinhua published an overview of comprehensive deepening of reform work since the 19th Party Congress. It noted that the Party Central Committee has set 158 reform measures for the comprehensive deepening of reform, including building a modernized economic system and innovative country, deepening the reform of state-owned capital and enterprises, building a beautiful China, and pursuing comprehensive strict governance of the Party. It stated that “the blueprint must be turned into reality.”
The overview highlighted a series of critical reforms that have been launched, including constitutional amendments, Party and state institutional reform, the comprehensive deepening of the reform and opening of Hainan, construction of the Xiongan New Area, expansion of opening up to the world, rural vitalization, and other reforms involving pension insurance funds and pilot free trade zones. It said that “the strategic deployment of the comprehensive deepening of reform… that General Secretary Xi Jinping made during the 19th Party Congress has opened a colorful new chapter for China’s reform” and that “the undertaking of reform will brave the wind and waves… under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.”
PD Commentator: Write the Green Legend about Preventing Desertification
8.6 A People’s Daily commentator article discussed Party and government-led efforts to combat desertification in the area surrounding the Kubuqi Desert near the Yellow River. After referring to desertification as “a cancer of the earth,” it offered China’s experience in preventing and curing desertification as a model for the world. The article also noted that “the marketization of desertification prevention is the key to the success of the Kubuqi Desert.”
Zhong Sheng: Together the Fire of Regional Cooperation Burns More Brightly
8.6 The People’s Daily used its Zhong Sheng (钟声) column, which authoritatively transmits the opinions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, to criticize US cooperation with the five Lower Mekong countries. It argued that “The US would like to both engage in regional cooperation and make groundless criticisms of China’s cooperation with the Mekong drainage basin countries due to ulterior motives. This self-contradictory way of thinking is not in the least constructive and does not benefit regional development and cooperation.”
In contrast, the column applauded China’s efforts, stating “China’s genuinely cooperative attitude and responsible actions have won high praise from the Lower Mekong countries.” It cited the Lancang-Mekong Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism proposed by China in 2014, decision to discharge additional water to the Lower Mekong during an emergency in 2016, issuance of the Five-Year Action Plan of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (2018-2022) earlier this year, and sharing of hydrological data on the Lancang River during flood season for 15 consecutive years as evidence to support this point.
Wang Hailou: Can This “Make America Great Again”?
People’s Daily Foreign Edition
8.6 The People’s Daily Foreign Edition launched an attack against US President Donald Trump’s trade policy using a Wang Hailou (望海楼) column, an important column directed at members of the Chinese diaspora, written by a senior editor for the newspaper, Hu Jihong (胡继鸿). The article criticized the logic of Trump’s foreign policy, which Hu summarized as being based on the belief that “the US has taken on too many responsibilities and all countries across the world are taking advantage of the US.” He explained that Trump has chosen the most “simple and crude” (简单粗暴) way to revitalize the US economy: bypassing the WTO, unilaterally provoking trade frictions, and “forcing other countries (even traditional allies) to ‘fleece’ the whole world in the interest of the United States.”
Hu said that Trump has aimed to “force China to make major concessions at the negotiating table,” but that “if Mr. Trump is familiar with modern and contemporary Chinese history, then he cannot be unaware: in matters of national interest and national dignity, China will absolutely not accept blackmail. It will stand upright and respond.” He described Trump’s “carefully arranged…deceitful street fighter-style drama of extortion and intimidation, expecting others to sing along according to their scripts” as “wishful thinking.”
Xuan Yan: Create a Beautiful Life Regardless of the Wind and Rain
8.7 Xinhua published an article under the byline Xuan Yan (宣言) discussing the challenges China is facing and the country’s determination to develop. It stated that “In order to create a beautiful life, the problems left by ‘rapid development’ must be solved” by measures including realizing high-quality development and rural vitalization, reducing the gap between urban and rural areas and Eastern and Western China, improving public security, modernizing the country’s governance system and capabilities, and building a beautiful China. It also pointed out that China has to address Chinese people’s higher demands in material and cultural life and other new problems now that China has developed, and fight the “three tough battles” in order to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The article also stressed that China has “insisted on peaceful development, win-win cooperation, the development of a higher-level open economy, and promotion of the construction of an open world economy. However, some people are not willing to see the high spirits of a woken lion, rapid ascent of a great dragon, and more than 1.3 billion people’s beautiful life. [They] pursue unilateralism, protectionism, and trade bullying. This is a challenge that [China] cannot avoid and must face.” In the end, the article stated that “no wind and rain can stop the Chinese people from pursuing a beautiful life.”
Ren Ping: What Is the Essence of the US-Provoked Trade War?
8.10 The People’s Daily issued a commentary authored by Ren Ping (任平), which is likely a homophonous pen name standing for “People’s Daily Commentary” (人民日报评论), to address critics of the Xi administration’s response to the escalating China-US trade war. Notably, this pen name has been used sparingly to comment on similarly sensitive issues. In 2016, Ren Ping was used to discuss the Cultural Revolution on the movement’s 50th anniversary, a time when Xi’s own blossoming cult of personality faced increasing criticism for being reminiscent of Mao's.
The 10 August Ren Ping commentary aimed to refute two “specious viewpoints” on the trade war. It stated that “One fixes blame on China, saying ‘China’s strategy has been “excessively self-confident and high profile,” which has led to a one-two punch from the US.’ The other criticizes China for fighting back, saying ‘If China compromises and concedes as soon as possible, the trade war will not grow ever more critical.’”
The commentary argued a historical perspective is necessary to understand the trade war. More specifically, it contended that since the US became the world’s largest economy in 1894, the US has regarded whatever country is in second place as its “most important adversary” and sought to contain that country. Consequently, “No matter what China does, its development has already ‘jeopardized the US’ first place position’ from the American perspective.” This leaves the US with two methods of response: “One is to use the adversary to encourage itself and win political support to ‘Make America Great Again’ from the people. The second is checking the adversary’s ascent at every level.”
The commentary’s concluding paragraph initially shifted tone by not only noting “a prosperous China benefits the US and a prosperous US also benefits China” but also calling for a “new type of great power relations” between the two that is based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation. The strident tone of the rest of the piece returned in the remaining sentences. The concluding sentence, for instance, declared that “We firmly believe that if the will of the sons and daughters of China is as united as an impregnable stronghold (众志成城), nobody will be able to obstruct our advance.”
UNITED FRONT WORK
Water Pipeline between Fujian and Kinmen Islands Opened
8.5 Jinjiang, Fujian and the Kinmen Islands held simultaneous opening ceremonies for a water pipeline between the province and islands. Coverage of these events took up the entirety of the third page of Tuanjie Bao on 7 August and was titled “Two Shores, One Family, Drink from the Same Water” (两岸一家亲 共饮一江水).
The pipeline is intended to “put the issue of water shortages on the islands to rest” and strengthen cross-Strait relations. Its total length is 16 kilometers.
Chongqing Official Expelled from Party and Dismissed from Public Office for “Being Obsessed with Divination and Fortune Telling” and Other Serious Violations of Party Discipline and Law
8.9 The CCDI reported that the Chongqing Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision Commission intends to prosecute Wu Dehua (吴德华), a former standing committee member of Chongqing’s Yubei district committee, for serious violations of Party discipline and the law. He has already been expelled from the Party and dismissed from public office.
Wu’s violations include “buying and privately collecting reactionary magazines,” “spreading political rumors,” “joining illegal organizations,” “attempting to create an evil doctrine based on fallacious reasoning,” “conducting activities based on feudal superstitions,” “being obsessed with divination and fortune telling,” “accepting monetary gifts from subordinates over a long period of time,” “frequenting private clubs,” and “trading power for money and money for sex.”
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
State Administration of Taxation Head Office Party Committee Convenes First Meeting
State Administration of Taxation General Office
8.6 The State Administration of Taxation Head Office Party Committee, which was recently formed out of a leading Party group, convened its first meeting to deeply learn Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and continue to develop the Party’s leadership over the taxation system. The meeting called for the national taxation system to closely unite around the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. State Administration of Taxation Head Office Party Committee Secretary Wang Jun (王军) raised four demands for the Party Committee, which included being grateful and loyal to the Party, shouldering responsibilities, being devoted to serving the people, and being honest and upright.
Foreign Trade Scale Reaches a Record High, Overall Development Is More Balanced
China Economic Daily
8.8 According to recently released customs statistics, China’s total import and export volume for the first half of 2018 was 14.12 trillion RMB, a year-on-year increase of 7.9%. In dollar terms, trade volume accounted for 2.21 trillion USD, a year-on-year increase of 16.0% and the highest record since 2011. Despite uncertainties stemming from China-US trade frictions, policies to promote trade development have continued, and, in the second half of the year, the trend towards increased trade is expected to continue. Exports of electronic goods went up 15% and accounted for 58.6% of total exports. High tech-products increased by 18.3%. China’s trading partners have also become more diverse. The article quotes experts and economists describing how trade structure is becoming optimized and how lower tariffs create better prices for consumers. The experts also foresee the second half of 2018 containing both favorable factors and uncertainties, chiefly brought about by China-US trade frictions. However, “‘there is no need to be overly nervous. After all, the impact on overall economic development will be limited.’”
China’s July Foreign Reserves Do Not Fall but Rise, What Is the Rationale for “Counterattacks”?
8.8 The People’s Bank of China released foreign exchange reserve data for the month of July, showing China’s foreign exchange reserves rose 5.8 billion USD from the end of June, totaling 3,117.8 billion USD. A story published by China News quoted a variety of experts, each explaining why markets should not be concerned about the lack of central bank intervention in RMB exchange prices and accumulation of foreign reserves. A number of experts were quoted asserting that the general condition of the markets is stable, RMB depreciation is due to the markets, and central bank does not seem to have intervened in exchange markets. Additionally, there will be limited room for the RMB exchange rate to continue to depreciate in the second half of the year.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
8.3-4 International Department Vice Minister Wang Yajun (王亚军) led a CCP delegation to Cyprus. While there, he met with Acting Speaker of the House of Representatives Adamos Adamou, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulidis, Democratic Rally Party President Averof Neofytou, Progressive Party of Working People General Secretary Andros Kyprianou, and Movement for Social Democracy Deputy President Maria Vasiliadou.
8.7 International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with the International Crisis Group’s Senior Adviser for North East Asia Michael Kovrig.
8.8 Guo Yezhou met with an American young politicians delegation composed of congressional aides and think tank scholars.
8.9 Guo Yezhou met with a United States Institute of Peace delegation led by former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yuosang Yun.
8.7 Liu Zhao (刘钊) was appointed director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Political Department and a member of its Party committee.
8.8 Shen Ying (沈莹) was appointed deputy head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
8.8 Zhou Xiaoying (周小莹) was appointed group leader of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Group at the United Front Work Department.