The annual plenary sessions of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), referred to as the “Two Sessions,” began in Beijing this week.
Xi Jinping and other Politburo Standing Committee Members heard the work report from the CPPCC National Committee at the opening meeting of the CPPCC, and then participated in deliberation sessions.
At the NPC’s opening meeting, Xi and other Politburo Standing Committee members heard the government work report delivered by Li Keqiang and reviewed drafts of the State Council’s plan for economic and social development and central and local budgets. At the second meeting of the NPC, Li Zhanshu delivered the work report of the NPC Standing Committee and the Draft Foreign Investment Law was reviewed.
13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Second Session:
13th CPPCC National Committee’s Second Session Opens in Beijing
3.3 Xi Jinping (习近平) and other Politburo Standing Committee members attended the opening of the second session of 13th CPPCC National Committee.
CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) delivered a work report on the CPPCC’s work over the last year.
Wang enumerated three tasks that the CPPCC Standing Committee has focused on during the last year:
Carrying out study sessions on Xi’s important thoughts on strengthening and improving the CPPCC’s work.
Strengthening the CPPCC’s party construction work in the new era. To that end, the CPPCC held its first symposium on party construction, studied and implemented the opinions on party construction provided by the General Office of the CCP's Central Committee, and established its own leading small group on party construction.
“Improving work quality.” Instead of focusing on "what to do" or "how much to do," the CPPCC says it focused on "what effect it has." Other steps include coming up with ways to improve the quality of proposals and consultations.
Wang called attention to several important issues that the CPPCC should help address. These include alleviating poverty; preventing and controlling pollution; creating systems to prevent financial risk; promoting improvements in people's livelihoods and social development; boosting the private sector’s “high-quality development;” making improvements to employment, social security, education, and health services; paying more attention to rural areas; establishing a mechanism for the exchange of views between all political parties that participate in CPPCC work; and carrying out friendly exchanges with foreign countries.
PD Editorial: Congratulate the Opening of 13th CPPCC National Committee Second Session
3.3 People’s Daily published an editorial praising the 13th CPPCC National Committee for adhering to the CCP’s overall leadership and centering their work around two topics throughout the last year: democracy and unity. According to the editorial, “people’s democracy is the lifeblood of socialism, and the CPPCC is an important channel for deliberative democracy…”
On democracy, the article stated that the “CCP-led system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation [...] is a new type of political party system that ‘grew from China’s soil.’” The CPPCC, as an "important form of people's democracy," exemplifies an institutional arrangement that suits China and has “distinctive Chinese characteristics.”
On unity, the article asserts that a united front is an important “magic weapon” of the CCP for leading the country to “victory in its revolution, construction, and reform undertakings.” In the future, the CPPCC will improve its ability to take on tasks in the new era by strengthening ideological and political guidance, and by strengthening unity among “all political parties, as well as among people from all ethnic groups and walks of life.”
Xi Jinping Visits CPPCC Members from the Cultural, Art, and Social Science Sectors
3.4 Xi Jinping visited CPPCC members from the cultural, art, and social science sectors during a joint panel. Addressing the group, Xi said that “a country or nation cannot not have a soul. Work in culture, art, and social science is a part of the work for nurturing roots and forging a soul.” He also called on writers, artists, and theorists to “strengthen cultural self-confidence, grasp the pulse of the times, listen to the voice of the times, and insist on keeping pace with the times, using the people as the center, contributing fine works of art to the people, and using the highest virtues to guide prevailing customs.”
Xi’s speech was further publicized and explained in a People’s Daily commentator article.
Two Sessions: Religious Domain CPPCC Members Focus on the Direction and Talent Cultivation of Religion Sinicization
China News Service
3.5 A China News Service article noted that the direction of sinicization of religion and the “cultivation of high-quality talents” were central topics among the CPPCC members involved with religious affairs. The Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China Vice-Chairperson Li Shan (李山) pointed out that democratically managed religion is an important measure of the sinicization of Catholicism. Buddhist Association of China Vice President Zhan Ru (湛如) expressed that Chinese Buddhist culture is a window for the world to understand Chinese culture. China Christian Council Vice President Zhang Keyun (张克运) stressed the importance of pushing the theoretical achievements of religious sinicization into the grassroots.
Wang Yang and Han Zheng Participate in Deliberation Sessions
3.6 Politburo Standing Committee member and CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang and Politburo Standing Committee member Han Zheng (韩正) participated in CPPCC deliberation sessions.
While participating in deliberations on the economy and agriculture, Wang Yang pointed out that a large part of the CPPCC’s constituency represents these two domains. After expressing concerns about the "complicated and grave" domestic and international situations in the past year, he spoke on the need to help the Party and government to propagate their politics and develop confidence.
Meanwhile, Han Zheng joined deliberations with delegates from Hong Kong and Macau, where he talked about the importance of establishing the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area” in order to advance China’s “one country, two systems” (一国两制) and maintain Hong Kong and Macau’s “long-term prosperity and stability.” To that end, Han said the the Greater Bay Area will support Hong Kong’s efforts to become an “international innovation and technology center,” while it would help Macau “accelerate the development of tourism, exhibitions, and other industries,” among other things.
13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Second Session:
Second Session of the 13th NPC Begins; Li Keqiang Delivers Government’s Work Report
3.5 The second session of the 13th NPC opened in Beijing and was attended by the Politburo Standing Committee and nearly 3,000 NPC representatives. Li Keqiang delivered a three-part government work report which included a review of the government’s work in 2018, policy orientations and requirements for this year’s economic and social developments, and the government’s tasks for 2019.
Li said in the report that the main goals for 2019 included reaching a 6% to 6.5% of GDP growth rate, creating over 11 million urban jobs, maintaining the survey-based urban unemployment rate at around 5.5%, keeping the registered urban unemployment rate under 4.5%, holding the inflation rate at around 3%, improving the quality of imports and exports while maintaining stability, preventing financial risks effectively, lifting over 10 million rural population out of poverty, ensuring increase of income stays at the same rate of the economic growth, improving ecological environment, decreasing energy consumption per unit of GDP by around 3%, and continuing to reduce the quantity of main pollutant discharged.
To achieve these goals, Li emphasized the importance of 10 different tasks, namely continuing to innovate and improve macro-economic adjustment and management, optimizing the business environment, cultivating innovation, forming a strong domestic market, pushing forward poverty alleviation and rural vitalization, promoting coordinated regional development, reinforcing pollution prevention and control, deepening reform in key areas, advancing opening up, and accelerating the development of social industries.
The meeting also reviewed drafts of the State Council’s plan for economic and social development and central and local budgets. According to an article published by the CCDI and NSC’s website, the budget plan submitted by the Ministry of Finance allocated 126.095 billion RMB to poverty alleviation efforts, 60 billion RMB to pollution prevention and control, 53.878 billion RMB to employment support, and 16.85 billion RMB to the development of preschool education. PLA Daily pointed out that 1 trillion and 189.876 billion was allocated to national defense.
PD Editorial: Stimulate the Vitality of the System, Accumulate the Mighty Force of Rejuvenation
3.5 People’s Daily published an editorial “enthusiastically congratulating” the 13th NPC on the opening of its second session.
The editorial praised the NPC for its accomplishments over the last year. It noted that the congress has “adhered to using Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics as a guide, ensured the correct political orientation of NPC work, promoted making new steps toward the implementation of the constitution, strengthened and improved legislative work for a new era, carried out NPC supervision responsibilities in accordance with the law, [and] expanded direct communication and representation channels.”
The editorial also praised the people’s congress system for being “a new political system that has epoch-making significance in the history of Chinese and even world political development.” It added that this system “accords with China’s national conditions and reality, embodies the nature of socialist countries, ensures the people are masters of their own affairs, and guarantees the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Xi Jinping Participates in Deliberation of Inner Mongolia Delegation
3.5 At the deliberation of the Inner Mongolia delegation to the NPC, Xi Jinping emphasized “maintaining the strategic resolution for strengthening the construction of an ecological civilization” and “protecting the beautiful scenery of the motherland’s northern frontier.” Xi demanded that all localities and departments at all levels “strive to push the construction of China’s ecological civilization to a new level.”
Xi stated that the health of Inner Mongolia’s environment bears consequences for the whole country, and Inner Mongolia must therefore be built into “China’s important ecological security barrier.” He also indicated that it is necessary to “explore a new path of high-quality development oriented toward making the environment a priority and green development.”
Xi Jinping Delivers Important Speech at Deliberation of Gansu Delegation
3.7 Xi Jinping delivered an important speech on poverty alleviation at the deliberation of the Gansu delegation to the NPC. He stated that, as there are currently only two years to complete this tough battle, “[we] must unremittingly pursue doing [our] work well and absolutely cannot retreat before obtaining total victory.”
Xi emphasized that “the standard for the tough battle of poverty alleviation is steadily realizing the ‘two no-worries and three guarantees’” (两不愁三保障), meaning no worries about food and clothing and guarantees of compulsory education, basic medical care, and housing security. He also warned that “formalism and bureaucratism exist in tough battle of poverty alleviation work” and stressed that “people and the conduct of cadres are key to whether or not the tough battle of poverty alleviation is completed.”
Wang Qishan Participates in Deliberation of Hunan Delegation
3.7 Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山) participated in the deliberation of the Hunan delegation to the NPC. He stressed that “in the face of a complicated international environment, [we] must strengthen [our] self-confidence, integrate thought and action into the Party Central Committee’s judgments and plans for the present situation and tasks, handle China’s own affairs well, and continuously strive toward the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Wang also pointed out that “all countries and nations have experienced difficulties and complications in the course of modernization.” He added that “with the accumulated power of nearly 1.4 billion people, no one can obstruct our progress.”
Second Plenary Meeting of the Second Session of the 13th NPC; Politburo Standing Committee Listens to Work Report of the NPC Standing Committee and Explanation of Draft Foreign Investment Law
3.8 At the NPC’s second plenary meeting on Friday, the Politburo Standing Committee listened to fellow Politburo Standing Committee member and NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu (栗战书) deliver the work report of the NPC Standing Committee and heard an explanation of the Draft Foreign Investment Law.
Li said that over the past year, the work of the NPC Standing Committee has consisted of seven aspects:
Thoroughly studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and ensuring the correct political direction of the NPC.
Comprehensively studying, publicizing, and implementing the newly revised constitution.
Strengthening and improving legislative work; providing the legal guarantee for reform, development, and stability.
Improving the supervisory duties of the NPC.
Expanding channels to contact with NPC representatives.
Serving the overall diplomatic situation and carrying out foreign exchanges well.
Comprehensively strengthening the self-construction of the Standing Committee.
In the upcoming year, which Li said was a “crucial year for comprehensively building an comprehensive moderately prosperous society and achieving the first centennial goal,” the main tasks of the NPC Standing Committee will be: persistently promoting the implementation and supervision of the constitution; striving to improve the quality and efficiency of legislative work; practically enhancing the effectiveness of supervision; unceasingly improve mechanisms for members to perform duties; actively carry out the work of the NPC’s foreign exchanges, comprehensively improving the self-construction of the Standing Committee.
NPC Standing Committee Vice Chairman Wang Chen (王晨) then issued an explanation of the Draft Foreign Investment Law, which he said is intended to improve the development of China’s foreign investment legal system, “keep pace with the times,” and “promote a socialist market economy.”
The guiding ideology for formulating this foreign investment law he said, is “holding high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” He said that it focuses on embodying the following principles: highlighting the main tone of actively expanding opening up and promoting foreign investment; ensuring its status as the fundamental law for foreign investment; adhering to the fusion of Chinese characteristics and international norms; adhering to the principle of consistency between domestic and foreign investment.
Zhong Sheng: Understanding the Internal Logic of China Jointly Developing with the World
3.4 People’s Daily used its commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng” (钟声), which stands for “Voice of China” and/or “Sounding the Alarm Bell” and authoritatively transmits the official positions of People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, to stress that studying China’s Two Sessions has become a “requirement” and a “weather vane” for foreigners who study China.
Zhong Sheng stated that “the international community is expecting to understand the internal logic of the joint development between China and the world through the Two Sessions and to seek confidence and lessons to resolve difficult problems of this era through ‘Chinese ideas’ and ‘Chinese wisdom.’” It pointed out that, facing issues such as the rise of populism, many people, even in Western societies, are now looking for new perspectives for solutions and that “the powerful governing capabilities and leadership that China has shown in handling [its] development situation have provided countries throughout the world an important example.”
The Chinese Economy’s Long Term Positive Trend Will Not Change
China Economic Daily
3.7 According to China Economic Daily, though the environment facing China’s economy in 2019 is more complicated and expects to hold more unforeseen risks, representatives at the Two Sessions expressed a high degree of confidence that the Chinese nation has the ability and will to overcome any challenge and that the long-term positive trend has not and will not change.
Representatives explained that the growth rate target of 6.0-6.5% is appropriate and reasonable, and though 2019’s growth rate will be slightly lower than in 2018, it will remain above 6% this year and next year. China still possesses huge development potential, especially and the people’s desire to pursue a better life is very strong. The most important thing is to improve supply-side structural reforms, revitalize and actively expand domestic demand, and enhance the space and vitality of economic development.
There is No Ridge the Chinese Economy Cannot Surpass
China Economic Daily
3.8 In China Economic Daily, delegates at the two sessions were quoted on their outlook on China’s economy.
NPC delegate Chen Xinyou (陈新有) said that it is extremely gratifying is China's economy has accelerated its transformation from factor-driven to innovation-driven.
CPPCC National Committee member Wang Yiming (王一鸣) believes that in 2018, China's development momentum accelerated, economic efficiency continued to improve, and considerable growth was seen in strategic emerging industries. Overall, household, enterprise, and government revenue growth has remained stable, and economic efficiency continues to improve.
CPPCC National Committee member Shi Aizhong (石爱中) said that we must fully believe in the government's ability to regulate and control the Chinese economy, and with hard work and inspiring unlimited innovation, China's economic development future is unambiguous.
International Liaison Work
3.5 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) led a CCP delegation to Djibouti City to meet with People's Rally for Progress Leader and President of Djibouti Ismaïl Omar Guelleh.
3.6 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with a National League for Democracy (NLD) cadre study group from Myanmar led by NLD Central Committee and Central Economic Committee member U Soe Win.
3.6 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Li Jun met with a Moroccan Istiqlal (Independence) Party (IP) delegation led by IP General Secretary Nizar Baraka.
3.7 Guo Yezhou led a CCP delegation to Ouagadougou to meet with the President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
3.4 Cong Liang (丛亮) was appointed a member of the National Development and Reform Commission’s Party group.
3.4 Yang Jie (杨杰) was appointed chairman of China Mobile Communications Group and secretary of its Party group.
3.5 Wang Zhiqing (王志清) was appointed a member of the Ministry of Transport’s Party group.
3.5 Wang Xiangming (王祥明) was appointed director and general manager of China Resources.
3.5 Liu Shiquan (刘石泉) was appointed general manager of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
3.7 Wang Xiangxi (王祥喜) was appointed chairman of China Energy Investment Corporation and secretary of its Party group.
3.8 Zeng Yichun (曾一春) was appointed group leader of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervision Commission’s discipline inspection and supervision group at the Central Organization Department.
3.8 Lin Wanhong (林完红) was appointed deputy head of the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration.