Qiushi reprinted a speech Xi Jinping gave in 2013, which clears up common misunderstandings about socialism with Chinese characteristics and emphasizes that the Chinese system is Marxist at its core (see Propaganda Work section).
The United Front Work Department reported on a meeting held by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on cultivating “religious patriots” and a speech by Chen Quanguo on religious work in Xinjiang (see United Front Work section).
Xi Jinping Meets with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
4.1 Xi Jinping met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Both began their remarks by expressing condolences about the recent explosion in China and shooting in New Zealand, respectively. Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪), Wang Yi (王毅), and He Lifeng (何立峰) were also in attendance.
Xi said that China’s relations with New Zealand have always been at the forefront of China’s relations with developed Western countries. The two countries should deepen mutual understanding and "uphold the spirit of openness and tolerance." They should also take concrete steps, such as China supporting "powerful companies" to invest in New Zealand and New Zealand ensuring a non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises.
According to Xinhua, Ardern agreed that China and New Zealand must “deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchange,” and that New Zealand will stick to a “One China” policy, follow an independent foreign policy, and send a high-level delegation to attend China’s upcoming Belt and Road Forum to deepen cooperation on the initiative.
Xi Jinping Issues Important Directive on Civil Affairs Work
4.2 Xi Jinping issued an important directive on civil affairs work that was conveyed to the 14th National Civil Affairs Conference in Beijing.
In the directive, Xi emphasized that “all levels of civil affairs departments must strengthen Party construction, adhere to reform and innovation, and focus on poverty alleviation, special groups, and the concerns of the masses.” He added that these departments should “better fulfill [their] duties related to basic livelihood guarantees, grassroots-level social governance, and basic social services to make new contributions to comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society and modern socialist country.”
People’s Daily further explained and publicized Xi’s directive in a commentator article.
PD Commentator: Xiangxi’s Experience of Targeted Poverty Alleviation
3.31 A People’s Daily commentator article presented the progress made in Xiangxi (湘西), Hunan, since Xi Jinping inspected the city more than five years ago and announced his “Targeted Poverty Alleviation” (精准扶贫) initiative.
In 2013, Xiangxi was a “poor village” with underdeveloped transportation and a per capita annual net income of only 1,668 yuan.” However, in recent years, Xiangxi has “strengthened its Party construction foundation,” changed its ideological concepts, and built industries around such things as rural tourism, kiwi cultivation, and Miao-style embroidery.
In recent years, Xiangxi’s poverty rate has dropped “dramatically,” and farmers’ average annual disposable income has “risen sharply.” Xiangxi has “not only achieved its own poverty alleviation, but its experience has been replicated throughout the entire prefecture.”
Xi Jinping: Several Problems Regarding Persisting with and Developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
4.1 Qiushi republished a speech that Xi Jinping delivered in 2013, in which he discussed the development of what would become a part of his signature ideology, socialism with Chinese characteristics. Xi’s speech identified several problems or confusions in people’s understanding of the Chinese system.
First, Xi made clear that China’s development path has not veered away from socialism: “socialism with Chinese characteristics is socialism, not some other ideology.” While outsiders have tried to attach alternative labels to China’s economic order such as “capitalist socialism,” “state capitalism,” or “new bureaucratic capitalism,” these are “completely wrong.” No matter how China reforms and opens up, Xi said, it must always adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Xi then listed a number of attributes that make up this system, emphasizing the leadership of the Communist Party.
Second, while there are major differences between the pre-reform period and the post-reform period, Xi chose to emphasize areas of continuity between the two periods, saying that throughout both periods “the Party has led the people in socialist construction.” He explained that if the CCP had not chosen to implement reform in 1978, China would have been destined for the same fate as the Soviet Union. However, this reform was built upon the the important ideological, material, and institutional conditions brought about by the establishment of the PRC in 1949. Furthermore, many ideas that were developed during the pre-reform period were not implemented in earnest until the post-reform period.
Xi explained that he emphasizes this confusion because “hostile forces at home and abroad often make a fuss about the history of the Chinese revolution and the history of New China, and do everything possible to attack, vilify, and slander. Their fundamental purpose is to muddle people’s hearts, inciting the overthrow of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s socialist system.” He pointed out that one of the reasons the Soviet Union collapsed is because the “intense struggle” within the ideological field created space for engaging in historical nihilism and denial the history of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Communist Party, Lenin, and Stalin. Xi declared that the Party could not survive long if it rejected Mao Zedong.
The third confusion Xi addresses is that Marxism cannot be static; it must change with the times. While each leader that came before Xi has laid a solid foundation for the development of Marxism, Chinese socialism remains in an “early stage” and faces many problems. China must maintain a “development perspective,” focusing on practical problems and modernization.
Fourth, Xi emphasized that “our party has always adhered to the lofty ideals of communism” and that Party members have always been “determined believers and loyal practitioners” of communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics. Their belief in communism and Marxism is their “political soul” and their “spiritual pillar” to withstand any test. Their ultimate goal is the achievement of communism. While the full development of China’s system could still take “dozens of generations,” Xi said, Marx and Engels’ analysis that the death of capitalism is inevitable is not outdated.
As noted by the South China Morning Post, this week’s re-release includes a paragraph not previously made public:
“[...] In the end, capitalism will die out, and socialism will be victorious. This inevitably is a long-term historical process. We must deeply recognize the capacity of capitalist societies to self-correct, and fully take into account the objective reality of Western developed countries’ long-standing superiority in economic, scientific, and military matters. We must prepare well for long-term cooperation and struggle between these two social systems. For a fairly long period of time, early-stage socialism must cooperate and struggle with more highly productive capitalism. It must conscientiously study and draw lessons from the useful civilizational achievements of capitalism [...] The most important thing is to concentrate on managing one's own affairs, and ceaselessly expand our comprehensive national strength, improve our people’s lives, and develop a socialism that is superior to capitalism [...].”
The Qiushi Editorial Board further publicized and explained the speech in a dedicated editorial on the topic.
Cai Mingzhao: Enhance the Force of the Foot, the Eye, the Brain, and the Pen; Better Accomplish the Mission Propaganda and Ideology Work
4.1 Xinhua News Agency President Cai Mingzhao (蔡名照) penned an article in Qiushi on the “four forces” (四力) of propaganda and ideology work. First introduced by Xi Jinping in a 2016 speech, the four forces (the foot, the eye, the brain, and the pen) were also recently discussed by Propaganda Department head Huang Kunming in a January Qiushi article. The four forces symbolize penetrating the grassroots (the foot), correctly understanding domestic and international trends (the eye), arming the mind with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era (the brain), and employing a “lively, fresh, and powerful” writing style (the pen). Cai emphasized that improving the four forces is an important part of Xi Jinping’s thinking on ideological and propaganda work, and are a general requirement for constructing the ideology and propaganda team under the new situation.
Zhong Xuanyan: Media Integration Is a Self-Revolution that Cannot Be Avoided
4.3 A People’s Daily article written by Zhong Xuanyan (钟轩研), a byline possibly connected to the Central Propaganda Department, discusses media integration, which has been widely discussed in party-state media since Xi Jinping delivered a speech on the subject to the Politburo in January.
According to the article, the rapid progression in technological innovation and informatization, including new technologies like 5G, cloud computing, big data, AI, and the Internet of things, have “reshaped the media landscape, public opinion, and communication methods.” “All-media” (全媒体) is rising to the occasion, with the integration of traditional and emerging media remaining an “unstoppable” trend. Since the 18th Party Congress, Xi Jinping and the Central Committee have “unflinchingly” promoted this integration.
“If we can’t succeed with the Internet, we can’t succeed in long-term governance” the article said.
United Front Work
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Firmly Grasps the Party’s Fundamental Guidelines on Religious Work, Actively Guides Religion and Socialism to Adapt to Each Other
United Front Work Department
3.31 The United Front Work Department reported that the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region held a symposium on cultivating “religious patriots.” Xinjiang’s Party Committee Secretary Chen Quanguo (陈全国) presided over the meeting and gave a speech in which he laid out five tasks for religious work in Xinjiang going forward:
Rely on the Party’s policies: It is important to “fully implement” the Party’s policy on freedom of religion, contain extremism, and guide religion and socialism to “adapt to each other.”
Look to the law: China must protect “normal” religious activities in accordance with the law, safeguard the “legitimate rights and interests” of religious institutions and believers, and “fully respect” the customs of all ethnic groups.
Improve meeting places: China must continue to “improve public services” in places where people congregate for religious activities. China should continue improving infrastructure and access to basic necessities by implementing the “seven improvements and two haves” (七进两有) and “nine allocations” (九配备).
Groom religious figures: China should “protect, cultivate, and care for patriotic religious figures,” building “teams” that are “politically reliable, religiously accomplished, and morally capable in convincing the masses.”
Let such figures play an “active role”: They should ensure that the religious classics are “interpreted well,” and that such interpretations accord with contemporary China’s development.
Wang Yang Meets with Members from Macau's Provincial-level CPPCC Association in Beijing
4.1 Politburo Standing Committee member and CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang met with members from Macau's provincial-level CPPCC association. The members were led by the association’s president Ma Zhiyi (马志毅).
Wang said the association, established more than two years ago, has upheld its goal to "serve the country, Macau, and its members." Wang hopes that the association will propagate and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the Central Committee’s policy on Macau, and “actively participate” in constructing the Hong Kong-Guangzhou-Macau Greater Bay Area.
What is a “Political Birthday”?
4.2 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervision Commission (NSC) released an article highlighting the requirement to improve the “political rituals” of party members in the recently released CCP opinion on strengthening Central and State organs’ party construction.
The article stated that party members should celebrate their “political birthdays” on the anniversary of the day they joined the Party. This is because, while their lives began on the day they were born, their political lives began with their new identity as CCP members. According to the article, celebrating political birthdays is a political ritual that can “remind Party members to remain true to their original aspiration and keep their missions firmly in mind,” as well as remind them of the “loving care of party organizations.”
Guide for Distinguishing Different Types of “Protective Umbrellas”
4.3 CCDI and NSC published a guide for distinguishing between different types of “protective umbrellas” (保护伞) that allow evil forces to thrive. The guide stated that the CCDI and NSC have “uncovered 84 representative cases of ‘protective umbrellas’ for criminal forces” since 2018. Throughout this period, the most common type (49 cases) was “tacit shielding” (纵容包庇), in which “leading cadres and powerful departments turn a blind eye to criminal activities.” The three other common umbrellas are 18 cases of “tip-offs” (通风报信), 12 cases of “collusion” (站台撑腰), and 5 cases of “intercession” (帮人说情).
Comprehensively Deepening Reform
Li Yang Talks About Financial Supply Side Structural Reform: One Foundation, Six Major Dimensions
4.3 This year’s National Institution for Finance and Development’s annual meeting (国家金融与发展实验室年会) met a few days ago in Beijing, with the theme, “Deepening Financial Supply Side Structural Reform.”
NIFD Chairman Li Yang (李扬) discussed the theme in his opening speech, which he believes is an integral part of overall supply side structural reform and can be summarized as “One foundation, six dimentions” (一个基础、六大方向). The ‘foundation’ here is the important role finance plays in the national economy, vital for national competitiveness, national security, and for economic and social development. The ‘dimensions’ are the primary areas for future financial reform and development: serving the real economy, optimizing the financial structure, managing financial risks, following relevant laws, developing financial technology, and expanding opening up to the outside world.
“Deleveraging is our long-term task,” Li Yang said. Reoccuring themes with respect to the six dimensions included improving transparency, improve the relationship between financial products supply and demand, and creating an internationally competitive financial sector.
Broad Finance is Showing Significant Results, Experts Expect GDP to Increase by 6.3% in Q1
4.3 Since the beginning of 2019, China’s economy has been generally stable though downward pressure has not decreased. China Minsheng Bank Research Institute researcher Guo Xiaobei (郭晓蓓) said in an interview that investment, primarily in infrastructure and real estate, continued to increase in the first quarter. GDP growth is expected to be 6.3%, with 6.4% growth for the year. Fiscal policy became more effective, local debt was issued ahead of schedule, and the environment was good for stable investment.
Zhang Haibing (张海冰), deputy dean of the WANB Institute, said that broad fiscal policy is taking significant effect, and that in the first quarter China’s macroeconomic growth has stabilized with a number of risks alleviated. He expects the first quarter will be the lowest rate of economic growth for the whole year. Guo noted however that manufacturing investment has weakened and private investment has fallen as well. Zhang similarly noted that it is still necessary to reduce the income gap so that the engine of consumption can continue to drive the economy.
International Liaison Work
3.30-4.2 At the invitation of the Free Egyptians Party (FEP), Central Committee member and Guizhou Party Secretary Sun Zhigang (孙志刚) led a CCP delegation to Egypt. While there, the delegation individually met with Egyptian Parliament First Deputy Speaker Mahmoud El-Sharif, FEP Chairman Essam Khalil, and Nation’s Future Party Secretary-General Hossam El-Khouly as well as met and signed a letter of intent on establishing friendly relations between Guizhou Province and Alexandria Governorate with Alexandria Governor Abdul Aziz Qansua.
4.1 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with a Nepal Communist Party (NCP) cadre study group led by NCP Standing Committee member Dev Gurung.
4.1 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) held talks with Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Commission for External Relations head Sounthone Xayachack.
On the same day, Politburo Standing Committee member and Propaganda Department Head Huang Kunming (黄坤明) met with the delegation.
4.3 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with Party for Democracy founder and former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos.
4.1 Wang Hongxiang (王洪祥) was appointed deputy secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission.
4.4 Xu Hongcai (许宏才) was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance.
4.4 Liu Wei (刘伟) was appointed director general of the National Council for Social Security Fund.
4.4 Hao Shuchen (郝书辰) was appointed head of the Central Economic Responsibility Audit Work Inter-ministerial Joint Meeting Office.