[Xinhua/Yan Peng, Xi Jinping observes the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge]
Li Keqiang convened a state council meeting to discuss recent economic challenges (see Senior Leaders section).
Li Keqiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a sign of warming relations between the two countries (see Senior Leaders section).
The All China Federation of Trade Unions’ 17th National Congress was held in Beijing (see United Front Work section).
The 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee revised the Criminal Procedure Law and approved the Law on International Criminal Judicial Assistance during its sixth meeting (see Party Discipline section).
Li Keqiang Presides Over Meeting of the State Council
10.22 Li Keqiang presided over a regular meeting of the State Council that was convened to discuss policies to improve the business environment based on key concerns voiced by Chinese enterprises. The meeting highlighted challenges brought on by external economic factors and China’s development as well as the importance of eliminating obstacles restricting private enterprise development and encouraging corporate confidence.
To increase access to social capital, the foreign investor negative list will be revised and, by March 2019, there will be consistent standards for domestic and foreign investors. Administrative licencing standards, investment approval, and government services must all be streamlined. Furthermore, corporate taxes burdens must be reduced, and the meeting proposed studying specific measures to reduce taxes and social security rates.
The meeting stated “private enterprises are important builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” It decided to increase refinancing and support for small and medium financial enterprises to improve financial services access for small and micro enterprises. In view of the current issues facing private companies, the People’s Bank of China will provide initial financial support to private institutions in accordance with the law and with the expectation enterprises will operate in accordance with market-oriented and risk prevention principles. When conditions are appropriate, commercial banks and insurance companies can be introduced into voluntary risk-sharing mechanisms.
The State Council also confirmed the construction of a national “Internet+Supervision” (互联网＋监管) system to promote the standardization and intelligentization of government supervision.
Li Zhanshu Presides Over NPC Standing Committee’s Sixth Meeting
10.22 The sixth meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee was held in Beijing. The NPC Standing Committee listened to reports on revising and drafting several laws and regulations on criminal procedure, international criminal judicial assistance, basic medical care and health promotion, drug management, and other fields. The revisions made to the draft of the basic medical care and health promotion law include measures for improving health insurance and quality control for vaccines and drugs.
Politburo Standing Committee Member and NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu (栗战书) presided over the meeting, and National Supervisory Commission Director Yang Xiaodu (杨晓渡) attended the meeting.
Xi Jinping Attends the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
10.23 Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, where he inspected the bridge and expressed the Central Committee’s heartfelt thanks towards the personnel who designed, built, and managed the bridge. Xi emphasised that the bridge has made several world records. He also stressed that the bridge is “a bridge for dream realization, unity, self-confidence, and rejuvenation” and “plays an important role in the construction of a Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay Area.”
Politburo Standing Committee Member and State Council Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正) also attended the ceremony alongside other senior officials. He expressed his wish to make the bridge into a “bridge of common aspirations” that binds together the people of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau.
While in the Great Bay Area, Xi Jinping inspected a variety of sites in Guangzhou, Qingyuan, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai.
Xi Jinping Issues Important Directive on Constructing Pilot Free Trade Zones
10.24 Xi Jinping recently issued an important directive on the construction of pilot free trade zones. He stated that this is a “strategic measure taken by the Central Committee to advance reform and opening up in the new era” and emphasized the need to “continue to liberate thought…, reinforce the overall planning and innovation of reform, and enhance the developmental level of the pilot free trade zones.”
Politburo Standing Committee member and State Council Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) issued instructions and called for focusing on solving structural issues, innovating the system, and creating experiences that can be duplicated and applied elsewhere.
Politburo Standing Committee member and Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正) attended a meeting celebrating the fifth anniversary of the establishment of pilot free trade zones and stressed that pilot free trade zones are not “local private plots” and that they should serve the national strategy.
Eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum Held in Beijing
10.24-26 The Chinese Academy of Military Science (中国军事科学学会) and China Institute for International Strategic Studies (中国国际战略学会) hosted the Eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum in Beijing. The forum’s theme was “Building a New Type of Security Partnership of Equality, Mutual Trust and Win-Win Cooperation.” Its discussions focused on issues such as international security governance, terrorism, maritime security, UN peacekeeping, artificial intelligence and evolution of conflict, and Asia-Pacific mutual security trust mechanisms.
Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Forum and pointed out that “peace, development, cooperation, and mutual beneficiality are the trends of the era” and that China “is willing to work with every country with a more open posture to promote development and security with cooperation.” He stressed that “the Chinese military, from beginning to end, has always been a strong force for safeguarding the peace and stability of the world” and that the Xiangshan Forum “has played a proactive role in promoting security dialogues and cooperation based on mutual trust in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Li Keqiang Meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
10.26 Li Keqiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. At the meeting, Li stated that “China and Japan are important, close neighbors for each other and the steady development of healthy Sino-Japanese relations over the long term is a fundamental interest of the two countries and their peoples and very important for the region and the international community.”
Li also stated that “the Chinese side is willing to start political and economic dialogues with Japan, strengthen policy communication and coordination, and deepen technological innovation” and emphasized that the negotiations over the China-Japan-South Korea free trade zone and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) should be accelerated.
From 25 to 27 October, Abe paid an official visit to China.
PD Commentator: Stimulate the National Aspiration of Becoming World-Class
10.24 People’s Daily published a commentator article on the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The article noted that the bridge “is a great achievement of the close cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau under ‘one country, two systems.’ [It] amply embodies the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core’s concern and support for incorporating Hong Kong and Macau into the overall development of the country.”
Among other points, the article noted that the bridge promotes the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay Area, builds up the advantages of the “three regions,” and reinforces the connections between them. The article stated in conclusion that “‘one country, two systems’ will glow with even greater vitality.”
Zhong Sheng: Which Country Enjoys Interfering in Other Countries’ Internal Affairs?
10.24 People’s Daily used its Zhong Sheng (钟声) column, which transmits the opinions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, to criticize some US politicians for not looking at themselves in the mirror and accusing China for interfering in the US midterm election without evidence. The article stated that “the international community already has in mind who is the country that most enjoys interfering in other countries’ internal affairs on this planet” and maintained that “the problem of undocumented immigrants from the Central America…. is the bitter result of the US interfering in other countries’ affairs.” Zhong Sheng asked US politicians to “look at how they themselves look in the mirror” and “be ashamed to speak carelessly.”
United Front Work
Ningxia Holds 2018 Township and Village Ethnic and Religious Cadre Training Class
National Religious Affairs Office Website
10.20 The Ningxia United Front Department and Ningxia Religious Affairs Office jointly hosted the 2018 township and village ethnic and religious cadre training class at the Ningxia Institute of Socialism, which attracted the participation of over 100 cadres from all the cities and counties in the area.
The week-long course focused on studying Marxist views on ethnicity and religion, theory, and policies; the spirit of the fourth plenary session of the 12th Ningxia Party Committee; the spirit of documents such as the “Regulation on Religious Affairs,” “Opinion on Implementing the Strengthening and Improvement of Islamic Work in a New Era,” and “Regulations on the Administration of Muslim Food”; how to strengthen the management of religious affairs; and activities to promote the improvement of national unity.
PD Editorial: Sing the Song of the New Era Strivers
10.22 People’s Daily published an editorial celebrating the 17th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) in Beijing. The editorial discussed how the ACFTU will “unite and mobilize hundreds of millions of workers to give full play to the role of the working class and fight to win the great victory of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”
According to the editorial, “practice has fully proven that the working class is the most solid and reliable class foundation of the Chinese Communist Party” and is therefore the “main force for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The editorial called the realization of socialist modernization and building China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and beautiful socialist modernized power the “historic mission of the working class.”
In order to “sing the song of the strivers of the new era,” trade unions at all levels must “strengthen their correct political direction and earnestly assume the political responsibility of uniting and guiding workers and the masses to listen to and follow the Party.”
All-China Federation of Trade Unions 17th National Congress Held in Beijing
10.22 Chinese Politburo Standing Committee members Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Wang Yang (汪洋), Zhao Leji (赵乐际), and Han Zheng (韩正) attended the 17th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Wang Huning (王沪宁) gave a speech entitled “Demonstrate the New Demeanor of the Unity and Struggle of Our Country’s Working Class in a New Era.” He stated that “realizing the grand blueprint proposed by the 19th Party Congress is a shared task of the whole Party and country and people from each ethnic group.” He emphasized that it is also a “historical mission” of China’s working class and that he hoped the working class will unify their thoughts and actions and focus on the spirit of the 19th Party Congress.
Discipline Inspection and Supervision Organs Handled 1,176,000 Leads from January to September 2018
10.20 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission (NSC) website published the circumstances of discipline inspection and supervision organs’ work.
From January to September 2018, the organs received 2,599,000 reports, handled 1,176,000 leads, sent 242,000 inquiry letters, built 464,000 cases, and punished 406,000 people, 342,000 of which were within the Party.
Among those punished, 39 were provincial-ministerial level cadres or above, 25,000 were department and bureau level cadres, 17,000 were county and section level cadres, 61,000 were township and sub-division level cadres, 75,000 were ordinary cadres, and 251,000 were village, company, or other types of personnels.
Of the 1,140,000 people handled through the “four forms” (四种形态), a four-tier system to measure political discipline, 729,000 (63.9%) were handled with the first form (criticism and self-criticism as well as inquiries through interview or letters), 321,000 (28.2%) handled with the second form (minor disciplinary penalties), 54,000 (4.7%) with the third form (severely punished or demoted officials), and 36,000 (3.2%) with the fourth form (those prosecuted for law-breaking).
Special Inspection of Poverty Relief Work Fully Stationed
10.21 A special inspection of poverty relief work ordered by the central government has been deployed to the 26 selected targets of the campaign. About one month will be spent inspecting each target. This round of inspection will ensure that the targets are implementing the CCP Central Committee’s policy of eradicating poverty and discovering and solving “deep-seated problems.”
A Year after 19th Party Congress: Conduct Anti-Corruption with Full Force
10.22 The CCP News website released several graphs to show the anti-corruption achievements since the 19th Party Congress. It stated that at least 22 officials that were at the provincial-ministerial level (省部级) and above were investigated and punished after the 19th Party Congress and that the anti-corruption campaign so far has shown that “the sharp sword of comprehensively ruling the Party strictly cannot be avoided no matter who one is, what one’s position is, and when the violations happened.”
The graphs showed that Lu Wei (鲁炜) was the first provincial-ministerial level cadre punished after the 19th Party Congress, Wang Xiaoguang (王晓光) was the first after the establishment of the National Supervisory Commission (NSC), Feng Xinzhu (冯新柱) was the first provincial-ministerial level cadre that were removed from the office by the NSC, and that Meng Hongwei (孟宏伟) was the first high-level official whose announcement only stated “under NSC investigation.”
Former Vice Governors of Shandong, Liaoning, and Jiangxi Prosecuted for Receiving Bribes
10.23 Former Shandong Vice Governor Ji Xiangqi (季缃绮), Liaoning Vice Governor Liu Qiang (刘强), and Jiangxi Vice Governor Li Yihuang (李贻煌) were all prosecuted for accepting bribes. In addition, Liu was charged with sabotaging elections, and Li was charged with corruption, embezzlement, and the crime of abusing one’s power as a state-owned enterprise staff member. The investigations of all three cases were initially assigned by the CCDI and NSC to local supervisory commissions.
Nationwide Violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines in September 2018
10.23 The CCDI and NSC released figures for violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines (中央八项规定) in September 2018. The month saw 6,451 investigations, 8,873 punished individuals, and 6,335 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions. The most common violations in all three categories were granting subsidies and benefits, sending and receiving gifts or money, dining out with public funds, and misuse of public vehicles. The cumulative figures for the first nine months of 2018 were 42,871 investigations, 60,690 punished individuals, and 42,917 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary actions.
Revised Criminal Procedure Law and International Criminal Judicial Assistance Law Approved and Released for Implementation
CCDI-NSC & China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Newspaper
10.26 The 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee revised the Criminal Procedure Law and approved the Law on International Criminal Judicial Assistance during its sixth meeting. The revised Criminal Procedure Law removed the procuratorates’ investigative power over cases related to corruption and receiving briberies but retained their power to investigate judicial personnel for abuse of power during legal proceedings. It also created a mechanism to ensure consistency of detention between supervision organs and procuratorates. The revised law established a criminal default trial system (刑事缺席审判制度) and stipulated that People's Procuratorates can raise a charge even with the absence of defendants in cases related to corruption and receiving bribes.
One of the highlights of the newly-established Law on International Criminal Judicial Assistance is that it confirms that the National Supervisory Commission is one of the primary authorities for international criminal judicial assistance. The law assigned supervisory organs the duty of working with foreign countries on developing cooperation in anti-corruption and criminal judicial assistance.
Central Military Commission
Wei Fenghe Meets with Heads of China-ASEAN “2018 Joint Maritime Drill” Observer Group
10.21 State Council Member and Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) collectively met with the heads of the China-ASEAN “2018 Joint Maritime Drill” observer group in Guangzhou. At the meeting, Wei stated that “[the drill] was the first time that China conducted joint maritime exercises with the militaries of the 10 member states of ASEAN, a significant milestone in the history of China-ASEAN relations, and manifestation of the faith and determination of China’s and ASEAN countries’ devotion to safeguarding regional peace and stability.”
The article noted that the ASEAN representatives “unanimously stated that ASEAN members’ attach a high-level importance to strengthening maritime security cooperation with China.”
CMC Vice Chairman and Defense Minister Meet with German Defense Minister
10.22 Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang (许其亮) and Wei Fenghe individually met with German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen. Xu said during his meeting that “China is willing to work with Germany to comprehensively implement the strategic consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders… and to advance the military construction of both countries through deepening cooperation.”
Von der Leyen expressed Germany’s willingness to further develop its comprehensive strategic partnership with China and deepen cooperation on peacekeeping, medical support, and military academics.
Wei Fenghe Meets Cambodian and Nigerian Defense Ministers
10.23 Wei Fenghe individually met with Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh and Nigerian Defense Minister Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali in Beijing. During the meetings, Wei said that “the Chinese military is willing to work with the Cambodian military… to proactively contribute to the development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Cambodia” and that “China welcomes Nigeria to participate in BRI construction… and hopes that the Chinese and Nigerian militaries will maintain their friendly interaction.”
Dan-Ali expressed Nigeria’s appreciation of China’s vigorous support of Nigeria’s social development and national defense construction. He said that Nigeria “is willing to reinforce exchanges and cooperation with China on international peacekeeping, personnel training, military industrial science and technology, and other fields.”
Wei Fenghe Meets with North Korean, Singaporean, and Malaysian Guests for Talks
10.24 Wei Fenghe met individually with North Korean People’s Armed Forces Vice Minister Col. General Kim Hyong Ryong, Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, and Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu in Beijing. All three foreign officials had come to China to attend the Xiangshan Forum.
At the meeting with Kim, Wei said that “the Chinese-North Korean traditional friendship was created and nurtured by the previous generation of leadership in both countries and is a precious treasure.”
At the meeting with Ng, Wei said that “this year is the 28th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore” and “the relations between the two countries have unceasingly developed and become a model for mutually beneficial win-win relations between China and neighboring countries.”
At the meeting with Mohamad, Wei said that “not long ago, when General Secretary Xi Jinping met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, they unanimously stated that both countries desire to continue their friendship, deepen cooperation, favor the even better development of bilateral relations, and promote Asian revitalization and world prosperity.
Comprehensively Deepening Reform
Yi Gang: There is Still Considerable Room for Monetary Policy Tools
China Securities Journal
10.15 On 14 October, the People’s Bank of China website posted a speech and Q&A session from Bank Governor Yi Gang (易纲) at this year’s G30 International Banking Seminar. Yi stated that China’s current economic growth is stable, and it is expected that this year’s 6.5% GDP growth target will be achieved. He said domestic consumption has become the main driver of growth and external surpluses continue to shrink. In response to those worried about whether to loosen monetary policy, Yi said China’s monetary policy will remain “stable and neutral” (稳健中性). The broad money growth rate is basically equal to nominal GDP growth, and social financing growth is at a reasonable 10% growth rate. There are enough policy tools available in the monetary policy toolbox, including adjusting interest rates, reserve ratios, and monetary conditions. Considering the US Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, China’s current interest rate is appropriate. These tools are sufficient to deal with uncertainty.
Yi then addressed structural problems in China’s economy, saying China will speed up domestic reform and opening up, strengthen intellectual property protection, and treat state-owned enterprises with the principle of “competitive neutrality.” Regarding deleveraging, Yi stated that China’s overall leverage ratio was stable last year and is no longer rapidly rising. Therefore, the liquidity injected into the financial system is appropriate, and the leverage ratio will remain stable. He also explained that he believes balancing the current account to be positive and discouraged actively seeking a current account surplus. Internationalization of the RMB should be driven by market forces to allow a free and fair international currency market.
“Competitive Neutrality” Can Open a New Path for Structural Adjustments
Guangming Daily Online
10.15 After the publication of the Q&A Yi Gang held at the 2018 G30 International Banking Seminar, it was noticed that he proposed solving structural problems in the Chinese economy by, among other items, considering the treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) through the principle of “competitive neutrality,” (竞争中性). Establishing competitive neutrality ensures equal competition between public and private enterprises as market entities, which in turn reduces distortions of human market intervention, encourages “survival of the fittest” among enterprises, and allows for market allocation of resources. The key to China’s market development and to deepening structural reform of the economy is the establishment of a system allowing for an equal and fair competitive market, making the implementation of competitive neutrality the yardstick for judging market fairness as well as the only means for China to assume responsibility for building a fair and open global economy.
NDRC: Eight Central Enterprise Pilot Programs Have Been Approved for the Third Round of Mixed Ownership Reform
People’s Daily Online
10.24 The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) held a press conference on macroeconomic conditions and announced the third round of pilot mixed ownership reform enterprises, which will include 10 subsidiaries of central enterprises and 21 local government-owned companies. Of the central enterprises subsidiaries, eight companies have been approved. Deputy Director and Spokesman for the NDRC Policy Research Office (发改委政策研究室) Meng Wei (孟玮) told the press that up till now 50 mixed reform pilot programs have been launched and enterprises such as China Unicom and China Eastern Air Logistics Co. had seen important progress in improving governance, strengthening worker incentives, and improving efficiency.
International Liaison Work
10.22 International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) and Vice Minister Li Jun (李军) met with a Cambodian People's Party (CPP) young cadre study group led by CPP Central Committee member, Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia President, and National Assembly member Hun Many.
National People’s Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairman Zhang Chunxian (张春贤) also met with the young cadre study group on the same day.
10.22 Song Tao met with German Minister of Defense and Christian Democratic Union Deputy Leader Ursula von der Leyen.
10.22 International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with a Burmese delegation led by House of Representatives International Relations Committee Chairman Zaw Thein.
10.22 Politburo member Li Hongzhong (李鸿忠) went to Ulaanbaatar and met with Mongolian People’s Party Chairman and Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh.
10.23 International Department Vice Minister Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with a South African African National Congress cadre study group led by National Assembly member Hlengiwe Mkhize.
Song Tao and Qian Hongshan also met with the cadre study group on the same day.
10.23 Li Jun met with a Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee Office delegation led by LPRP Central Committee Office deputy head Chanthaboun Rattanavong.
10.23 Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee Standing Committee member and Shaanxi Organization Department head Zhang Guangzhi (张广智) led a CCP delegation to Côte d'Ivoire.
10.24 Qian Hongshan met with Deputy Speaker of the Filipino House of Representatives Pia Cayetano.
10.24 Song Tao met with the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim.
10.24 Qian Hongshan delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the 24th Wanshou Forum.
10.25 Song Tao, Chinese National People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Vice Secretary General Guo Jun (郭军), and CPPCC Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met with Cambodian People’s Party Vice President and Senate of Cambodia President Say Chhum.
10.25 Li Jun met with a Japanese delegation led by Japan-China Friendship and Cultural Exchange Promotion Society President and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura.
10.23 Song Hailiang (宋海良) was appointed deputy secretary of the China Communications Construction Company Party Committee.
10.23 Qiu Shuiping (邱水平) was appointed party committee secretary of Peking University.
10.23 Hao Ping (郝平) was appointed president of Peking University.
10.24 Xu Erfeng (许尔锋) was appointed head of the Ministry of Emergency Management Political Department and member of the Ministry’s Party Leadership Group.
10.26 Hu Wangming (胡望明) was appointed general manager of China Baowu Steel Group.
10.26 Wang Dongming (王东明) was elected chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.