- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Nathanael Callan
Weekly Report 2|18 2.16.2019-2.22.2019
The Central Committee and State Council released their “Guidelines for the Development and Planning of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (see Senior Leaders section).
The Politburo convened to review work reports from the State Council, Central Leading Group for Inspection Work, and the special inspection of poverty alleviation work (see Senior Leaders section).
A People’s Daily editorial emphasized the importance of rural revitalization as a top priority of the entire party (see Propaganda Work section).
Central Committee and State Council Release Guidelines for the Development and Planning of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area
2.18 The Central Committee and State Council released guidelines on the development and planning of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (粤港澳大湾区). The guidelines provide details on the goals of the endeavor and stated that “building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area is not only a new attempt to promote a new phase of comprehensive opening up in a new era but also a new practice for advancing the development of the ‘one country, two systems’.”
The guidelines state that “by 2035, the Greater Bay Area should become an economic system and development model mainly based on innovation and should achieve great improvements in its economic and technological power.” It also elaborated on the respective goals for each city in the Greater Bay Area. For instance, Hong Kong will be built into an international hub for finance, trade, shipping, and aviation, Macau into an international tourist center and trade platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and Guangzhou and Shenzhen into international cities.
Additionally, the guidelines stress the importance of strengthening technological innovation, intellectual property rights protection, and infrastructure building and pointed out existing problems such as excess capacity, supply-demand imbalance, differences in social and legal systems under “one country, two systems,” and limited resources. They state that strengthening organizational leadership, preventing and resolving major financial risks, and expanding social participation are required to push forward the building of the Greater Bay Area.
Xi Jinping: Advance Toward Our Country’s Lunar Exploration Goal and Work Hard for the World’s Aerospace Development
2.20 Xi Jinping, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng met with participants in the Chang'e-4 (嫦娥四号) moon mission in Beijing. During the meeting, Xi stated that the mission has “embossed China’s footprint on moon’s far side.” He stressed that “great undertakings all start with a dream” and that they are all based on innovation and achieved through solid work. He emphasized how important it is for China to have dreams, grasp the developmental trends of science and technology, achieve breakthroughs in key and core technologies, and cultivate talent for great achievements.
Xi Jinping Convenes a Meeting of the Politburo
2.22 Xi Jinping convened a meeting of the Politburo to discuss a draft government work report proposed by the State Council, review the 2018 work report of the Central Leading Group for Inspection, the “Comprehensive Report on the Central Special Inspection of Poverty Alleviation Work,” and the “Regulations on Party and Government Cadre Assessment Work.”
The meeting concluded that facing an increasingly complicated and dire international situation and the arduous task of reform, the CCP Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core united the entire party and people of all ethnicities and “made new progress in comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society.” The Politburo also concluded that, as 2019 is a crucial year for comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society and achieving the first centennial goal, promoting development while preserving stability is key. To achieve this year’s goals, the Politburo said it is important to “comprehensively implement macroeconomic policy, structural policy, social policy, proactive fiscal policy, stable and steady monetary policy, and employment priorities.”
After affirming the work of the Central Leading Group for Inspection, the Politburo concluded that it was necessary to establish a daily supervision mechanism for inspection and rectification and to promote the long-term normalization of rectification. The Politburo also concluded that the special inspection of poverty alleviation work had “achieved remarkable results,” but had also revealed common problems. Party organizations at all levels need to strengthen responsibility, strengthen the implementation of rectification, and promote accurate poverty alleviation.
The Politburo said that the new regulations on cadre assessment will resolve outstanding problems in cadre assessment work and encourage and guide cadres to take the lead in implementing the Central Committee’s decisions, “ensuring that the entire Party is of one will, one action, and is united in action going forward.”
Zhong Sheng: Carry Out the Consensus of the Chinese and American Heads of State, Cooperate to Resolve Economic Problems
2.16 People’s Daily’s Zhong Sheng column, which transmits the views of the People’s Daily on foreign affairs, praised the latest round of trade talks between China and the US for “making important interim headway” and “clearly showing the major direction for and adding new impetus to the next stage in the development of China-US trade relations.” It added that “this result accords with the common expectations of China, the US, and the international community.”
The column went on to argue that “as China and the US are inseparable, cooperation benefits both countries while contention harms them.” It concluded that “[we] hope the two sides maintain the good momentum of the current talks, work hard to reach unanimity within the time limit defined by the two countries’ heads of state, promote the long-term, stable development of China-US trade relations, and benefit the people of both countries and every country of the world.”
PD Commentator: Seize the Great Opportunity and Build the Greater Bay Area Well
2.19 People’s Daily published a commentator article emphasizing that “the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area is a national strategy that is personally planned and pushed forward by Xi Jinping.” “As one of the most open and economically vigorous regions in our country,” the article explained, “the Greater Bay Area has an important strategic position in the country's overall development.” With this plan, the Area can become a "world-class megalopolis, center for international technological innovation, important support for the Belt and Road Initiative, and demonstration area for deepening cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong.”
Particular attention was paid to the beneficial impacts of this plan on Hong Kong and Macau, the two locales governed under China’s “one country, two systems” framework. Moreover, the article stated that because of this unique arrangement, the plan is “unprecedented,” in that the Greater Bay Area is part of one country, but includes three customs zones and three currencies.
PD Editorial: Achieve Victory in Comprehensively Building a Moderately Prosperous Society, Carry Forward Comprehensive Rural Revitalization
2.20 The People’s Daily opened its editorial on the importance of rural revitalization by saying, “If China wants to be strong, agriculture must be strong; If China wants to be beautiful, the countryside must be beautiful; if China wants to be rich, farmers must be rich.” The editorial explains the significance of the Central Committee and the State Council’s joint release of “Several Opinions on Adhering to Priority Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas and Doing Good Work on the ‘Three Rural Issues.’” As the downward pressure on the economy has increased and the China’s external environment has undergone profound changes, the editorial says, it is even more important to do a good job in agriculture and rural work. Rural work is therefore the top priority of the entire Party.
The editorial particularly emphasized the importance of ensuring food security. To achieve this goal, the key is to ensure the supply of agricultural, which depends on “consolidating, strengthening, upgrading, and smoothing” supply-side structural reform. The editorial also makes clear that “the key to managing rural affairs well is the Party.” It is necessary to strengthen the Party’s overall leadership over rural work and to cultivate a “Three Rural Issues” work team that “understands agriculture, loves the countryside, and loves farmers.”
United Front Work
People Without Political Party Affiliation and Non-Party Intellectuals Convene an Exchange of Suggestions and Experience in Beijing
2.18 United Front Work Department Head You Quan (尤权), attended a meeting with people without political party affiliation and non-Party intellectuals. “Those without political party affiliation,” he said, "are an important force in our country’s political life," adding that “non-party intellectuals are an important storehouse of talent for China's construction and development."
You Quan said that this meeting is a long-standing tradition, and that it is an “institutional arrangement within China's socialist democracy.” He concluded by telling participants that they must "deepen their study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era."
Xu Yousheng: Hoping Hong Kong Compatriots Rely on the Motherland to Grasp Historical Opportunities
2.18 United Front Work Department Deputy Head and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) Director Xu Yousheng (许又声) attended a gathering hosted by the OCAO, the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, and the Hong Kong Federation of Overseas Chinese Associations (HKFOCA). At the gathering, Xu remarked that he “hopes Hong Kong compatriots can more closely rely on the motherland, seize historical opportunities, and give full play to patriotism toward China and Hong Kong.”
Xu noted that the 19th Party Congress made clear that adhering to “one country, two systems” and promoting the reunification of the motherland is an important component of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and that “maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau and the reunification of the motherland is an inevitable requirement of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
He also emphasized that Xi Jinping personally deployed and personally promoted the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in order to support Hong Kong and Macau’s integration into China’s national development, and noted that the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-speed Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge are important components of this plan.
He concluded that overseas Chinese affairs activities are at a new starting point since the reform of party and state institutions and encouraged overseas Chinese affairs workers to strengthen top-level design and planning, strengthen overall coordination, and give better play to the role of mass organizations.
Indonesian, Malaysian Media Representatives Visit China Islamic Association
2.18 An Indonesian and Malaysian media delegation made a visit to the China Islamic Association, where they were received by China Islamic Association Vice President Jin Rubin (金汝彬). Jin explained the current situation and history of Muslims in China, as well as the Chinese government's policy implementation of ethnic equality and religious freedom.
Zhao Leji’s Work Report to 19th CCDI Third Plenary Meeting
2.20 Xinhua recently released the full text of CCDI Secretary Zhao Leji’s (赵乐际) work report at the third plenary meeting of the 19th CCDI, which was held on 11 January, 2019. The report highlighted that in 2018, “the CCDI, NSC, and local discipline and supervision commissions at all levels have reinforced the ‘four consciousnesses’ (四个意识), consolidated the ‘four confidences’ (四个自信), and achieved the ‘two defends’ (两个维护) under the Central Committee’s strong leadership.”
The work report listed eight main tasks for 2019, namely “continuously learning and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” “resolutely eliminating formalism and bureaucracy,” “innovating the discipline inspection and supervision system and mechanism,” “conducting supervision practically and carefully,” “continuously deepening political inspection,” “consolidating and developing overwhelming victories in the anti-corruption fight,” “regulating corruption and conduct problems that are close to the people,” and “strictly and practically strengthening the building of a discipline inspection and supervision team.”
Former CITIC Group Executive Director Put Under CCDI’s and NSC’s Investigations
2.20 The CCDI and NSC announced that former CITIC Group Executive Director Zhao Jingwen (赵景文) is “suspected of grave violations of law and disciple.” According to the article, Zhao is currently under the CCDI and NSC’s disciplinary and supervisory investigations.
Six Years of Data Demonstrate the High-Pressured Nature of Punishing Corruption
2.21 The CCDI and NSC released data from discipline inspection and supervision organs nationwide from 2013 to 2018 on their joint website. The data show that the number of cases brought by discipline inspection and supervision organs has grown substantially each year: 172,000 in 2013, 226,000 in 2014, 330,000 in 2015, 413,000 in 2016, 527,000 in 2017, and 638,000 in 2018. The article stressed that the data has shown that “comprehensive strict governance of the Party is always in progress.”
Central Military Commission
Wei Fenghe Meets Vietnamese National Defense Deputy Minister
2.19 State Councilor and National Defense Minister Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) met with Vietnamese National Defense Deputy Minister Nguyễn Chí Vịnh in Beijing. Wei stated that China and Vietnam are “a community of shared future with strategic significance” and that “the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Vietnam has maintained a healthy and steady posture for development.” Nguyễn Chí Vịnh expressed that the Central Committee and Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam “highly value the development of the relationships between the two countries and two militaries” and that Vietnam is willing to work with China to “further deepen practical exchange and cooperation in all fields.”
Fang Fenghui Sentenced to Jail for Life
2.20 Former CMC Joint Staff Department Chief of Staff Fang Fenghui (房峰辉) was sentenced to life imprisonment after the military court found him guilty for receiving and offering bribes and possessing large amounts of assets with unknown sources. Fang was also deprived of his political rights, and his personal assets were confiscated.
Comprehensively Deepening Reform
Has Monetary Policy Changed Direction? Li Keqiang: Do Not Employ “Big Flood Irrigation”
2.21 At the start of 2019, several policy measures including reduction of bank reserve requirement ratios, the launch of new central bank bill swaps, and data of increased bill financing prompted questions that China is engaging in a form of quantitative easing. A report released from the the People's Bank of China Monetary Policy Department (央行货政司) explained that the increase in bill financing is due to increasing counter-cyclical adjustments and seasonal factors rather than long term trends.
At a State Council Executive Meeting on 20 February, Premier Li Keqiang said that sound monetary policy has not and will not change, quantitative easing is not under way, and that “big flood irrigation” (大水漫灌) (large stimulus measures) will not be employed. Relevant central bank department heads accepted an interview with the Financial Times, where they stated monetary policy is engaging in “precise drip irrigation,” (精准滴灌) rather than “big flood irrigation,” to better serve the real economy. The People's Bank of China Monetary Policy Department Director Sun Guofeng (孙国峰) stated at a briefing on 15 February that the direction of sound monetary policy had not changed, and that “stable and steady” (稳健) is the working principle and guiding ideology of monetary policy.
The State Council Renews Policies to Stimulate Domestic Demand
2.21 The executive meeting of the State Council held 20 February renewed its signal to stimulate domestic demand, through the decentralization of administrative licensing processes, reforming the approval process for infrastructure construction projects with the expectation that doing so will increase private enterprise confidence and attract more private capital, deploying measures to promote the domestic services industry especially in response to the rapidly aging population and two-child policy, and promoting the expansion of domestic demand to improve people’s livelihood. An economist quoted in the article, told Shanghai Securities Journal that domestic services have developed along a healthy trajectory and that the acceleration of domestic services development will drive employment and stimulate overall domestic demand.
International Liaison Work
2.15 International Department Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with the Mongolian Ambassador to China Damba Gankhuyag.
2.19 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with the Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka.
2.19 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with the Cuban Ambassador to China Miguel Ángel Ramírez.
2.21 Li Jun met with a cadre study group composed of members of the Surinamese National Democratic Party and Trinidadian and Tobagonian United National Congress Party.
2.21 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with the Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs Chingiz Aidarbekov.
2.21 Qian Hongshan met with the Azerbaijani Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli.
2.21 Qian Hongshan met with a Ghanaian New Patriotic Party (NPP) cadre study group led by NPP General Secretary John Boadu.
2.22 Li Jun met with a Turkish Patriotic Party (VATAN) cadre study group led by VATAN Chairman Doğu Perinçek.
2.22 Qian Hongshan met with a Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) cadre study group led by AKEL Central Committee member.
2.18 Zhang Hanhui (张汉晖) was appointed Vice Foreign Minister.
2.18 Liu Xianfa (刘显法) was appointed Assistant Foreign Minister.
2.22 Hong Lei (洪磊) was appointed head of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.