- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Nathan Callan
Weekly Report 1|42 8.11.2018-8.17.2018
Global concern over the human rights in Xinjiang was addressed in party media for this first time with a Global Times article. The article defined the current situation as simply a “phase” that would return to normal once peace and stability was restored to the region. The Foreign Ministry also attacked foreign media outlets that have raised concern over the situation as having a “hidden agenda.”
A 13 August Xinhua Commentator article struck a relatively cool-headed tone regarding the US-China trade dispute compared to last week’s prominent 10 August People’s Daily commentary, which focused on the US containment strategy against China; it stated that China must recognize that cooperation is the only choice for bilateral relations despite the US containment strategy.
The Politburo held a meeting to discuss the Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Company Vaccine Case. Following the meeting, it was announced that a number of officials in Jilin Province were punished over the case.
Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exchanged messages on the 40th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship that hinted at a warming relationship between the two countries. However, the People’s Daily’s Zhong Sheng column issued an article criticizing Japan’s attitude toward its past and the continuation of visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese leaders.
Li Keqiang and Shinzo Abe Exchange Messages on 40th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship
8.12 Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exchanged messages on the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan.
Li’s message praised the treaty for “making a contribution to the welfare of the people of both countries and also regional and world prosperity and stability.” It also stated that Li’s official visit to Japan in May “helped put China-Japan relations back on the track of normal development again” and indicated that China is willing to work with Japan to further develop relations “based on the spirit of learning from history and facing the future.”
According to Xinhua, Abe’s message expressed similar sentiments on the importance of Japan-China relations for the region and world as well as Li’s May visit to Japan. It also stated that Abe looks forward to visiting China this year to help bilateral relations reach a “new stage.”
Xi Jinping Presides over Politburo Standing Committee Meeting on the Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Company Defective Vaccine Case
8.16 Xi Jinping presided over and delivered an important speech at a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on the Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Company defective vaccine case.
The meeting emphasized that the case “reflects existing systematic defects in the production, distribution, and use of vaccines.” It also stressed that China “must raise the cost of breaking the law and crack down on, strictly punish, and not at all be tolerant toward those lawless firms that are blinded by greed and disregard the rules and those individuals who dare to challenge the bottom lines of morality and conscience.”
Following the meeting, it was announced that a number of officials in Jilin Province were punished over the case.
Editorial: Protecting Peace and Stability in Xinjiang is the Greatest Human Right
8.12 The Global Times printed an editorial addressing global concern over the human rights situation and security policy in Xinjiang. The editorial was printed in English and Chinese, with only minor differences between the two. The editorial characterized the current situation as a temporary “phase the Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity” to the violence-afflicted region before it can “transition to normal governance.” It also clarified that “people of all ethnicities in Xinjiang” have paid the price for this phase in governance.
The editorial encouraged government officials and Xinjiang masses to resist “destructive Western public opinion,” saying “peace and stability must come above all else.”
Xuan Yan: The World is Wide for Reform and Opening Up
8.13 An article published by Xinhua under the byline Xuan Yan (宣言), which means “declaration,” was posted on the front page of several Party outlets including the People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, and PLA Daily. The article opened with a quote from Xi Jinping that stated reform and opening up is the “key move (关键一招)” that will “decide the fate of contemporary China” and “realize the two centenary goals and great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” It argued that “China and the world have unprecedentedly merged together as an organic whole, making it harder and harder for the world to be separated from China.” It then quoted Xi again, declaring that “Reform and opening up, which is China’s second revolution, not only profoundly changed China but influenced the world deeply,” before asserting that this statement is “the Chinese people’s most confident and boldest ‘xuan yan.’”
The article also pointed out that the goals of the comprehensive deepening of reform are “to fully demonstrate the CCP’s leadership, which is the core characteristic and greatest systemic advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics, make socialism with Chinese characteristics more mature, and realize the modernization of the country’s governing system and capability.” The article concluded by saying that “the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will certainly be realized in the process of reform and opening up.”
Xinhua Commentator: See the Challenges and Trends in China-US Relations
8.13 Xinhua published a commentator article discussing US-China relations, saying that “to grasp the current stage of China-US relations, [China] must not be arrogant and should not be unduly humble.” The article called for recognizing the “containment” factor in US China policy, but also keeping in mind that “cooperation is the only right choice for China and the US.” The article stressed that even though China was forced to respond to the trade disputes initiated by the US, it still advocates addressing disputes through dialogue. In the end, it said that “peaceful development is still the mainstream of the world, and win-win cooperation has become a global consensus.”
Chinese Delegation Responds to Questions from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
8.13 A Chinese delegation responded to questions from the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination regarding China’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Notably, the delegation denied the existence of re-education centers and counter-terrorism training centers in Xinjiang. Instead they asserted that Xinjiang has been “a victim of terrorism” and “therefore, in order to secure the life and property of all ethnic groups, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had undertaken special campaigns to clamp down on violent terrorist activities according to the law.”
The delegation also insisted that “the Regulations on Anti-Extremism of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region targeted religious extremism and not a particular religion.” As a result, they argued that “there was no ‘de-Islamization’ and there was no violation of ethnic minorities’ freedom of religion in the name of counter-terrorism.”
Foreign Ministry: The Few Foreign Media Outlets that Slander China’s Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Crime Measures in Xinjiang Have a Hidden Agenda
8.14 Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang (陆慷) stated at a press conference that “the few foreign media outlets that slander China’s anti-terrorism and anti-crime measures in Xinjiang have a hidden agenda.” The spokesman also stated that Xinjiang’s society is generally stable, the tendency of Xinjiang’s economic development is favorable, and all ethnic groups in Xinjiang harmoniously interact with each other.
Zhong Sheng: Remembering History for a Better Future
8.15 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 commemorate the 73rd anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. It argued that “the correct treatment of and deep reflection upon Japan’s history of militaristic invasion is the important political foundation for defending and developing Sino-Japanese relations and also a necessary condition for Japan gaining the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.”
The column praised the 1972 China-Japan Joint Communiqué for helping Japan have “a fundamental awareness of historical problems” and thus enabling China and Japan to normalize their diplomatic relations. However, it criticized Japan’s attitude toward visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, contending this problem presents the country with “a choice between righteousness and wickedness.” It concluded that by abandoning visits to the shrine and accepting responsibility for the harm of Japanese militarism, Japanese politicians “can make clear in a convincing manner that Japan aspires to uphold the spirit of learning from history and facing the future.”
Zhong Sheng: “America First” Stings the American People
8.16 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng column criticizing US policies carried out under the slogan of “America First” for not only harming other countries but also the US itself. It cited the tariffs China has imposed on American soybean imports in response to those the US has placed on a variety of Chinese imports as evidence that “when the US opens fire on the world, it also opens fire on itself.”
The column then turned its attention to the US government and trade policymakers. It accused the former of “maybe not being interested in or caring about the small account books of ordinary American families” and the latter of “turning a deaf ear” to the concerns the industrial sector, international community, and research organizations that have all expressed about “America First” policies. After questioning “policymakers’ patience for carrying out scientific calculations even for the big account book at the national level,” the column declared that their efforts to reduce the trade deficit amounted to little more than “getting worked up over a numerical concept.” It concluded by stating that “When US trade policymakers will be capable of returning to being clear-headed and rational is not known. In any case, the casualties of ‘America First’ are already growing.”
UNITED FRONT WORK
Xue Cheng Resigns from the Buddhist Association of China
Buddhist Association of China Website
8.15 Following accusations of sexual misconduct, Buddhist Association of China President Xue Cheng’s (学诚) resigned. The association announced that the vice president would take over his responsibilities. Xue Cheng was widely recognized as the most influential figure affected by China’s #MeToo movement.
China’s Minority Parties Provide Advice on Pushing for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area
8.16 The fourth page of Tuanjie Bao listed short statements by China’s legally recognized minority parties on promoting deeper integration between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Taken together, the party statements’ call for a whole-of-society integration of “great bay people.” Among other statements, The China Association for Promoting Democracy called for a deeper integration of higher education between the territories through an upper-level educational alliance while the Jiusan Society statement called for the development of a “Chinese silicon valley” in the region.
Former Food and Drug Administration Party Leadership Group Member and Deputy Head Put Under Investigation
8.16 Former China Food and Drug Administration Party Leadership Group member and deputy head Wu Zhen (吴浈) was put under disciplinary inspection and investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission (NSC) for serious violations of Party discipline and the law.
COMPREHENSIVELY DEEPENING REFORM
National Internet Finance Association of China: Improving Online Finance Industry Transparency
8.13 The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) (中国互联网金融协会) made an announcement addressing the lack of consumer confidence in online lending platforms. In light of recent risks, NIFA will analyze and monitor online platforms experiencing problems for signs of illegal activity. Most of the platforms currently experiencing problems underwent “savage growth” (野蛮生长), deviated from standard intermediary stages, and are illegally fundraising on the outer reaches of internet finance.
On 12 August, the Office for the Leading Small Group on the Special Remediation of Internet Financial Risks (互联网金融风险专项整治工作领导小组办公室) and the Office for the Leading Small Group on Online Lending Risk Special Rectification Work (网贷风险专项整治工作领导小组办公室) held a joint conference on the management and risk reduction of online lending platforms, where they came up with ten measures which include compliance inspections of online platforms, clear requirements for standardized withdrawals, and building long-term mechanisms conducive to stabilizing consumer expectations.
The Xinhua article did not list or describe the ten measures in detail. However, Xinhua noted that in order to reduce risks and increase transparency, in June 2017 NIFA successfully built the National Internet Finance Registration Disclosure Platform (全国互联网金融登记披露服务平台) and at present over 70% of online loan transactions are conducted through participating institutions.
National Bureau of Statistics: The National Economy in July was Overall Stable and Progressing While Ensuring Stability
8.14 Spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics (国家统计局) Liu Aihua (刘爱华) spoke at a press conference held at the State Council Information Office. Liu told reporters that for the month of July domestic demand and employment prices were stable, the economy’s structure continued to optimize, and the economy as a whole was “overall stable and progressing while ensuring stability” (总体平稳、稳中有进).
Data released by the Bureau that day showed that industrial production was stable, employment was stable, and the service sector, high-tech manufacturing, and consumer retail all grew. Supply-side structural reforms continued to deepen and corporate asset-liability ratios declined. Liu warned however that both the domestic and international environments are becoming complex, and it will be necessary to focus on stable employment, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations.
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK
8.15 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with the General Secretary of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ram Madhav.
8.15 Song Tao met with the former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and former leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party Bohuslav Sobotka.
8.17 Song Tao met with a delegation from the Senate of Pakistan led by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
8.13 Song Hansong (宋寒松) was appointed group leader of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervisory Commission’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Group at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
8.14 Zhu Hexin (朱鹤新) was appointed vice governor of the People’s Bank of China.
8.14 Zhan Chengfu (詹成付) was appointed vice minister of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
8.14 Dai Yingjun (戴应军) was appointed deputy head of the State Post Bureau.
8.15 Wang Limin (王利民) was appointed group leader of the discipline inspection group of China Huaneng Group’s Party leadership group.
8.15 Luo Zhijun (罗志军) was appointed group leader of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervisory Commission’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Group at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
8.16 Zhang Wen (张雯) was appointed chief justice of the Beijing Internet Court.