[The International Department held a “Thematic Briefing on China’s Ethnic Policy and Promotion of Solidarity among Ethnic Groups” in Urumqi last week/ Xinhua News]
At a Poliburo collective study session last week, Xi Jinping discussed deepening supply-side structural reform, stabilizing the economy, and preventing risks (see Senior Leaders section).
Xinhua published an “authorized release” of the Central Committee’s opinions on strengthening the Party’s political construction (see Senior Leaders section).
CCDI Secretary Zhao Leji emphasized the responsibilities of local discipline inspection units on an inspection tour of Tianjin (see Party Discipline section).
The International Department held a “Thematic Briefing on China’s Ethnic Policy and Promotion of Solidarity among Ethnic Groups” in Urumqi, attended by over 200 guests from over 30 countries (see International Liaison Work section).
Xi Jinping: Deepen Supply-Side Structural Reform in Finance, Strengthen the Ability of the Financial Sector to Assist the Real Economy
2.23 The Politburo convened its 13th collective study session to discuss how to improve financial services and prevent financial risks.
During the meeting, Xi Jinping emphasized the need for deepening the “supply-side structural reform” of the financial sector as well as for “strengthening the ability of finance to assist the real economy.” To that end, he said that China must “deepen [its] understanding of the domestic and international financial situation” and “balance the relationship between stabilizing growth and preventing risk.”
During Xi’s speech, he stated that “finance is an important core competitive strength of the country, financial security is an important part of national security, and the financial system is an important fundamental institution for economic and social development.”
While lauding many of the “historic achievements” of China’s financial sector, Xi also asserted that it is “still not suitable for the requirements of high-quality economic development.” He provided many recommendations, including adhering to a market demand approach, increasing the number of small- and medium-sized financial institutions, and improving financial services for small and micro enterprises and the “three rural issues” (agriculture, rural areas, and farmers).
CCP Central Committee and State Council Issue "China Education Modernization 2035"
2.23 The CCP Central Committee and State Council issued the "China Education Modernization 2035” (中国教育现代化2035) plan. This plan is intended to focus attention on the “outstanding problems and weak links” in Chinese education.
The plan mentions two separate deadlines. These are 2020 for “the full implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan” (十三五) and 2035 for the “comprehensive realization of educational modernization.”
The plan includes eight concepts for promoting educational modernization, such as “emphasizing morality first” and paying more attention to “comprehensive development,” “lifelong learning,” and “teaching according to students’ abilities.”
The plan also includes seven “basic principles” for promoting modernization, including adhering to the Party’s leadership and adhering to Chinese characteristics. Likewise, the first of 10 “strategic tasks” is to study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Finally, the first of three “aspects” for ensuring modernization is to “strengthen the Party’s overall leadership over education.”
Xi Jinping Presides Over Second Meeting of the Central Commission for Law-based Governance
2.25 Xi Jinping presided over the second meeting of the Central Committee’s Commission for Law-based Governance (中央全面依法治国委员会) in his capacity as the head of the commission. Politburo Standing Committee members and deputy commission heads Li Keqiang (李克强), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), and Wang Huning (王沪宁) also attended the meeting.
Xi delivered a speech during the meeting stressing that “the deeper reform and opening up is, the more [we should] emphasize the rule of law." He explained that a fine “rule-of-law environment” will assist in pushing forward the steady development of reform.
The meeting as a whole reviewed and approved plans for the Commission’s work and the State Council’s legislative work in 2019. It also emphasized the importance of establishing and improving legislation on foreign capital, intellectual property rights protection, biological security, land reform, and ecological civilization construction.
Authorized Release: Opinions of the Central Committee on Strengthening the Party’s Political Construction
2.27 The Central Committee released opinions regarding strengthening the Party’s political construction, outlining six major areas needing improvements.
“Strengthen the overall requirements of the Party's political construction.”
The Central Committee stated that “the problems of some Party organizations and Party members ignoring politics, downplaying politics, and not talking about politics still remain outstanding. In some, there even exists the serious problem of having a tendency to deviate from socialism with Chinese characteristics.” “It is necessary to integrate the Party’s political construction into the whole process of the Party’s and country’s major decision-making arrangements so that the Party’s political construction and various work tasks, especially central work, are closely integrated and promote each other.”
“Firm political beliefs.”
“To strengthen the Party’s political construction, we must insist on the guiding position of Marxism, insist on arming the whole Party with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, educate the people, consolidate the ideological foundation, bear in mind the starting mission, and aggregate strength to build the China Dream together.”
“Adhere to the political leadership of the Party.”
“The Party’s leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest advantage of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The Central Committee offered suggestions for achieving this through resolutely achieving the “two maintenances,” improving the Party’s leadership system, as well as improving the Party’s leadership style.
“Improve political capabilities.”
The Central Committee advises improving the Party’s “political capabilities” by “strengthening the political functions of Party organizations,” “highlighting the political attributes of state organs,” “developing the political role of mass organizations,” “strengthening the political orientation of state-owned enterprises and institutions,” and “improving the political skills of Party members and cadres.”
“Purify political ecology.”
The Central Committee advises purifying the Party’s political ecology through “strictly enforcing political life within the Party,” “strictly enforcing the Party's political discipline and political rules,” “developing an active and healthy political culture within the Party” (through patriotic education and resisting “decadent political culture”], “highlighting political standards in employment,” and “always maintaining a political integrity that is upright, honorable, honest, and clean.”
“Strengthen organizational implementation.”
The Central Committee made clear that it is the task of all Party organizations to “ensure that the Party’s political construction is effective.” It advised that “implementing leadership responsibilities” [by establishing a system of responsibility whereby Party committees take the lead and the party committees’ secretaries are the most responsible], “seizing the ‘key minority’” [and combine it with “managing the majority”], “strengthening institutional safeguards [that are rule-based, including the laws and regulations of the Party and the nation], and “strengthening supervision and accountability.”
Comrades of the Politburo Report to the Central Committee and Xi Jinping
2.28 The Politburo submitted a written report on their duties over the past year to Xi Jinping and the Central Committee in accordance the “Regulations of the Politburo on Strengthening and Safeguarding the Centralized and Unified Leadership of the Central Committee.”
The Politburo reported that this year they:
“regarded studying Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the primary political task, and realized the mission and sentiment contained therein,”
“adhered to bottom-line thinking, enhanced [their] sense of urgency, focused on resolving outstanding contradictions and pressing problems, and ensured the implementation of stabilizing growth, promoting reform, restructuring, benefiting people’s livelihood, and preventing risks,”
“improved investigation and research, streamlined conference activities, streamlined document briefings, regulated visits, improved news reports, and practiced diligence and thrift,” and
“strengthened the education and management of family members and staff around them.”
Central Committee Releases Regulations on Reporting and Requesting Instructions for Important Matters
2.28 The CCP Central Committee recently released regulations that require Party organizations and members to report on and seek instructions or permission for important matters (中国共产党重大事项请示报告条例). It also sent out a notice stressing that the regulations will “enhance the levels of systematization, standardization, and scientification in the requesting instructions and reporting work for major issues” and requiring “Party organizations at all levels to conscientiously organize and learn the regulations.”
One Xinhua article summarized that the regulations define “important matters” as matters that are beyond the scope of the duties of Party organizations, Party members, or the leading cadres or matters that are within this scope but have a broad influence. The regulations require Party organizations to report to their superior Party organizations about matters such as difficulties in implementing the Central Committee’s plans, major institutional and organizational changes, and choice of propaganda vehicles for major policies.
Zhong Sheng: Speed Up the Reaching of a Mutually Beneficial, Win-Win Agreement According to the Consensus of the US and Chinese Heads of State
2.26 Zhong Sheng (钟声), a column that authoritatively transmits the opinions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, reported on the progress of China-US talks on trade and economics.
Though briefly mentioning the “ups and downs” at various times during the negotiations, the article expressed optimism about progress in China-US negotiations. It claimed that “people are increasingly optimistic that China and the US will reach a mutually beneficial win-win agreement that is also good for the world” and “people have reason to believe...that China and the US will continue to do the next steps in their negotiations well.”
The article repeatedly mentioned the benefits that such an agreement would bring to the world economy as well as the anticipation of global investors and “exhaustion” in the markets due to ongoing trade tensions. Despite such concerns, it noted that more American companies are deciding to integrate into China’s growing market, with US investment in China rising 124.6% in January.
United Front Work
Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League Central Leadership Holds Special Academic Lecture to Commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of the Taiwanese People’s “228 Uprising”
TDSL Propaganda Department
2.26 The Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (TDSL) (台湾民主自治同盟), one of eight legally recognized minority parties in the People’s Republic of China, held a special academic lecture in Beijing to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Taiwan’s “228 Uprising.” Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee Standing Committee member and TDSL Vice Chairperson Wu Guohua (吴国华) attended alongside TDSL cadres.
The event included a lecture from University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Professor Wang Jian (王键) gave a lecture explaining the historic facts and underlying reasons for the “228 Uprising.” Wang also denounced “Taiwan independence forces” for using the spilled blood of the elder generation of Taiwan revolutionaries as a pretext to “confuse democratic autonomy with Taiwan independence.”
Zhao Leji: Conscientiously Carry Out the Central Committee’s Requirements for the Comprehensive Strict Rule of the Party
2.25-26 During an inspection tour of Tianjin, Politburo Standing Committee member and Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) Secretary Zhao Leji (赵乐际) emphasized the importance of conscientiously carrying out the Central Committee’s requirements for the comprehensive strict rule of the Party. He said that when the Party’s policies are not implemented and when there is corruption close to the masses, it is often because cadres lack political integrity, do not take enough responsibility upon themselves, cannot separate the public and the private, and cannot maintain closeness to the masses without becoming corrupt (亲清不分). He called on the disciplinary and supervisory commissions at all levels to focus on being the “protective umbrellas” against “evil forces.”
CCDI and NSC Convene a Symposium to Hear Guest Supervisors’ Suggestions
2.25 CCDI Deputy Secretary and National Supervisory Commission (NSC) Head Yang Xiaodu (杨晓渡) presided over a symposium to listen to NSC guest supervisors’ advice and suggestions on the CCDI’s and NSC’s work. Deputy head of the CCDI and NSC Xiao Pei (肖培) and CCDI standing committee member and NSC member Zhang Chunsheng (张春生) also attended the meeting.
The attendees of the symposium unanimously agreed that the CCDI and NSC have “faithfully fulfilled [their] duties” since the 19th Party Congress. The guest supervisors stated that they will continue to “objectively and honestly propagate the CCDI’s and NSC’s work to society” and “promptly bring social conditions, public opinion, and the people’s suggestions to the CCDI and NSC.”
Violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines in January 2019
2.28 The CCDI and NSC released figures for violations of the Eight-Point Guidelines (中央八项规定) in January 2019. The month saw 5,001 investigations, 7,303 punished individuals, and 5,391 individuals receiving Party and governmental disciplinary action. The most common violations were granting subsidies and benefits, sending and receiving gifts or money, and dining out with public funds.
Central Military Commission
PLA Army Logistics Department Signs Memorandum with Five Major Banks
2.26 The PLA Army Logistics Department recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on Supervision and Control of the Ground Forces’ Agent Construction Projects Funds (陆军部队代建工程建设资金监管合作备忘录) with five major banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Bank of Communications. In the future, the banks will monitor the projects’ bank accounts based on the spending plans approved by the Army. The head of the financial office of the PLA Army Logistics Department stated that such cooperation “is a practical measure meant to implement the military-civil fusion developmental strategy.”
Xu Qiliang and Wei Fenghe with a Cambodian Guest
2.26 CMC Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang (许其亮) and State Councilor and Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) individually met with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Deputy General Commander Hun Manet.
Xu said during his meeting that China and Cambodia are “loyal and reliable friends” (铁杆朋友) and that their bilateral relationship has deepened through the Belt and Road Initiative under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Wei also emphasized the friendship between China and Cambodia during his meeting with Hun Manet and stated that “China is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Cambodia in all fields and at all levels.”
Comprehensively Deepening Reform
China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission: Focus on Financial Risk Areas such as Real Estate
2.25 Vice Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Wang Zhaoxing (王兆星) said in Beijing that China has made progress in defending against financial risks, but it is “necessary to be prepared for a protracted war,” (要做好打持久战准备.) He stressed the importance of focusing on risk areas including the real estate market.
Since 2017, China’s banking and insurance industries have been optimized and improved, including increased total financial assets and more normal business activities. For important risk areas, Wang said that there should be increased efforts towards controlling the growth of and disposing of existing non-performing loans. At the same time, attention must be paid to liquidity risks, particularly for small and medium institutions, and shadow banking activities, among other issues.
Wang also mentioned the importance of implementing prudent loan standards for real estate developers and mortgage holders and controlling real estate speculation to foster a healthy and stable real estate market. He added that China’s financial industry must improve internal strength and risk prevention capabilities in response to external factors.
How to Look at the Current Economic Situation: Interview with National Bureau of Statistics Deputy Head
China Economic Daily
2.27 China Economic Daily reporter Lin Huocan (林火灿) discussed how to interpret China’s current economic status and the meaning of the phrase “Stable with some change, change with some concern” (稳中有变、变中有忧) with National Bureau of Statistics Deputy Head Sheng Laiyun (盛来运).
Sheng explained that China’s economy is “stable” (稳) because economic growth continues within a stable range, along with stable employment rates, prices, and foreign trade. He disputed a question on whether China’s GDP growth rate data could be fabricated and argued that by looking at the stable nature of other economic growth indicators it can be understood that the narrow range of GDP fluxuations reflects the actual changes in China’s economic growth.
When asked how to consider “change” and “concern,” (变”与“忧) Sheng explained that change refers to an increase of instability and uncertainty, particularly regarding international markets, problems in financing small and medium enterprises, and reduced confidence in the market. Concern, he added, refers to dilemmas in macroeconomic regulation and control that must be faced as structural adjustments enter a critical period. Demand momentum has weakened and downward pressure remains. Difficulties in regulating and addressing the real estate market and financial risks are increasing.
International Liaison Work
Thematic Briefing on China’s Ethnic Policy and Promotion of Solidarity among Ethnic Groups Held in Ürümqi
2.27 The International Department and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region CCP Committee held a thematic briefing entitled “China’s Ethnic Policy and the Promotion of Unity and Solidarity among Ethnic Groups: Practice and Achievements in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” in Ürümqi. Over 200 foreign guests from nearly 30 countries and roughly 50 political parties took part in the event.
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region CCP Secretary Chen Quanguo (陈全国) delivered a speech at the event. He stressed that “Xinjiang has comprehensively implemented the Party’s ethnic policy, resolutely defended ethnic solidarity, fully respected and protected all ethnic group’s religious beliefs and freedom, promoted high-quality development, and vigorously guaranteed and improved the people’s welfare.”
International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) also delivered a speech. He argued that “handling ethnic relations well and promoting ethnic solidarity are common tasks facing all governments and political parties” and stated that China “is willing to strengthen experiential exchanges on national governance with the political parties of all countries.”
The event included additional speeches by Egyptian Parliament First Deputy Speaker Mahmoud El-Sharif, Bangladeshi National Parliament Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Turkish Patriotic Party Chairman Doğu Perinçek, and Communist Party of the Russian Federation Central Committee member Aleksey Leskin.
2.25 International Department Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with a Ni-Vanuatu delegation led by Vanua'aku Party Leader, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Tourism, Commerce, Trade, and Ni-Vanuatu Business Bob Loughman.
2.25 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met in Ürümqi with a South Sudanese Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) delegation led by SPLM National Liberation Council member and Transitional National Legislative Assembly Committee for Foreign Affairs Chair George Bureng Nyombe.
2.25 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met in Ürümqi with an Afghan political parties cadre study group led by Hezb-i-Islami Central Committee member and Senior Advisor to Afghanistan’s President Muhammad Amin Karim.
2.25 Guo Yezhou met in Ürümqi with a Bangladeshi delegation led by Bangladesh Awami League Leader and National Parliament Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah.
2.25 Li Jun met in Ürümqi with a Latin American left-wing political party cadre study group made up of representatives from the Workers’ Party (Brazil), Communist Party of Brazil, Democratic Labour Party (Brazil), Communist Party of Argentina, Peruvian Communist Party, and Communist Party of Peru – Red Fatherland.
2.25 Guo Yezhou met in Ürümqi with a Malaysian delegation led by United Malays National Organisation Vice President Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
2.26 Wang Yajun met with a Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) young cadre study group led by METI Trade Policy Bureau Director-General Shigehiro Tanaka.
2.26 Li Jun met in Ürümqi with a Russian delegation led by Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) Central Committee member and CPRF Samara Oblast Regional Committee First Secretary Aleksey Leskin.
2.26 Guo Yezhou met in Ürümqi with a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) cadre study group led by NCP Standing Committee member Surendra Pandey.
2.26 Li Jun met in Ürümqi with an Indonesian delegation led by National Mandate Party International Relations Department Head Najib and National Awakening Party Law and Human Rights Department Secretary-General Nayoan.
2.26 Guo Yezhou met in Ürümqi with a Pakistani delegation led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) Deputy Secretary-General Aizaz Asif.
2.26 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with Christian Democratic Union of Germany-Christian Social Union in Bavaria Bundestag group Deputy Chairman Carsten Linnemann.
2.27 Guo Yezhou met in Ürümqi with a Malaysian delegation led by People’s Justice Party Treasurer Lee Chean Chung and Democratic Action Party Organisation Department Secretary Vincent Wu Him Ven.
2.27 Qian Hongshan met with Kyrgyz Ambassador to China Baktygulova Kanaiym.
2.28 Li Jun met with a Sudanese National Congress Party (NCP) cadre study group led by NCP Political Bureau member and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Ahmed Adam El Tigani.
2.28 Li Jun met with a South American left-wing political party cadre study group. The group was made up of representatives from the Justicialist Party (Argentina), Socialist Party of Chile, Party for Democracy (Chile), Communist Party of Chile, and Broad Front (Uruguay).
2.28 Wang Yajun met with a Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) young politician cadre study group led by CPP Central Committee member, Central Propaganda and Education Committee deputy head, and Youth Work Group leader Ke Bunkhieng.
2.28 Li Jun met with Egyptian Parliament First Deputy Speaker Mahmoud El-Sharif.
3.1 Wang Yajun met with a Central Mass Mobilization Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam delegation led by Central Mass Mobilization Commission Deputy Head Nguyễn Lam.
3.1 Li Jun met with an Iranian political parties’ think tank cadre study group led by Islamic Coalition Party Deputy Secretary Mohammad Nicknam and Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Deputy Secretary-General Mohsen Eslami.
3.1 Qian Hongshan met with the newly appointed Turkmen Ambassador to China Parakhat Durdyev.
3.1 Wang Yajun met with a Mongolian Democratic Party (DP) cadre study group led by DP General Secretary Tuvaan Tsevegdorj.
3.1 Guo Yezhou met with a joint North American and Northern European communist parties cadre study group made up of communist leaders from Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
2.27 Liu Dashan (刘大山) was appointed director and general manager of the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO).
2.27 Li Yangmin (李养民) was appointed director and general manager of China Eastern Air Holding Co. Ltd.