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  • David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, Sandy Lu

Weekly Report 2|29 5.11.2019-5.17.2019


  • Party media ran multiple articles this week on the US-China trade war, each signaling that China is reluctant but willing to turn to more aggressive measures and prepared to engage in a protracted fight (see Propaganda Work section).

  • Xi Jinping announced plans to begin an education campaign on “remaining true to our original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in mind” throughout the entire Party, signaling Party officials to stick to the course amidst challenges posed by the US (see Senior Leaders section). Meanwhile, Qiushi published a speech Xi gave in 2016 on China’s development strategy and an accompanying editorial that explains why this development strategy is correct (see Propaganda Work section).


Senior Leaders

Xi Jinping Presides Over a Politburo Meeting and Plans for Education Campaign on “Remaining True to Our Original Aspiration and Keeping Our Mission Firmly in Mind”

5.13 Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo meeting to deliberate on the outline of the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region (长江三角洲区域一体化发展规划纲要) and decided that, starting in June, education on “remaining true to our original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in mind” (不忘初心、牢记使命) will be conducted throughout the entire Party.

The meeting pointed out that the education campaign will be directed at leading cadres above the county level and promote the learning and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The meeting demanded leading cadres of Party Committees and Party Leadership Groups at all levels fulfill their duties as those responsible for this campaign.

Xi Jinping Delivers Keynote Address at Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations Opening Ceremony

5.15 Xi Jinping delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing.

In the speech, Xi declared that “the Asian people expect an Asia of peace,” “common prosperity,” and “openness and intermingling.” He advocated four points for “strengthening exchange and mutual learning,” namely: 1. “Mutual respect and equal treatment,” 2. “Appreciation of the beauty of each civilization,” 3. “Openness, inclusivity, and mutual learning,” and 4. “Keeping pace with the times and innovative development.”

Xi argued that “thinking one’s own race or civilization is superior and being determined to reshape or even replace another civilization is foolish in theory and catasphrophic in practice.” He also asserted that “civilizational exchange and mutual learning should be reciprocal, equal, pluralistic, and multidirectional, not compelled or unidirectional.”

Xi claimed that “Chinese civilization is an open system formed out of continuous exchange and mutual learning with different civilizations,” citing the eastern spread of Buddhism and Western learning, integration of Islam and Confucianism, New Culture Movement, and entry of Marxism and socialist thought into China as examples. He concluded by proclaiming that “the China of tomorrow will inevitably use a more open attitude to embrace the world.”

People’s Daily further publicized Xi’s speech with a series of commentator articles (part 1 and part 2).


Propaganda Work

Guo Jiping: No Challenges Can Stop China From Moving Forward

5.13 A commentary published under the People’s Daily’s pen name “Guo Jiping” (国纪平), which stands for “important commentary related to international affairs” (有关国际的重要评论), commented on the recent US-China trade friction and stressed that China thinks “cooperation is the best option and the only correct option to solve issues.”

The article raised seven points to criticize US actions and reiterate China’s stance on the issues. It stated that:

  1. “the trade offensive repeatedly initiated by the US has not only worn down its own credibility but seriously interfered with the trade negotiation process”;

  2. US trade protectionism is harming the interests of its own consumers, farm owners, and entrepreneurs, and the globalized industrial chain;

  3. “China adheres to [pursuing] cooperation with principles and firmly defending the country’s core interests and the people’s fundamental interests,” emphasizing that cooperation does not mean blind compromise;

  4. “China has no intention of changing the US or replacing the US; the US cannot influence, [and] it’s even less possible [for it to] impede China’s development”;

  5. “the trade friction is a ‘pressure test’ that further strengthen our confidence and determination to comprehensively deepen reform and opening up”;

  6. “China will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to the world’s development and a defender of the international order”;

  7. With the strong leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core, “China has unparalleled institutional advantage.”

PD Commentator: China-US Trade Cooperation Is the Correct Choice, but Cooperation Must Have Principles

5.13 People’s Daily published a commentator article blaming the US for the recent problems in bilateral trade negotiations. The article stressed that China “hopes, on the basis of equal treatment and mutual respect, to reach a mutually beneficial, win-win agreement. However, the US has gone back on its word, pursued maximum pressure, and gone ahead with adding tariffs to Chinese exports to the US. This has cast a shadow over China-US trade negotiations and directly lead to their failure. The US is entirely responsible.”

The article also emphasized that “China simply cannot concede on the issue of major principles. It must resolutely defend its core interests and the people’s fundamental interests. It will not at any time forfeit national dignity.”

Despite this, the article insisted that “China’s door to talks will always be wide open.” It concluded on a more strident note, declaring that “China’s position has always been clear: trade wars do not have winners, and China does not want to fight but is not afraid to fight.”

Zhong Sheng Series on Trade War

People’s Daily

5.14-5.17 People’s Daily published a series of articles under the commentary pen name “Zhong Sheng” (钟声) on the escalating trade war between China and the US. Each article argued against a particular line of American discourse related to the trade war.

The first article addressed the “America loses discourse” (“美国吃亏论”). The article asserted that, as “the US is the world’s top economic power and writer of the rules of world trade,” it would be “absurd” if these rules “harmed the US and benefited others.” It argued that the “large US trade deficit” is the result of “excessive consumption, insufficient savings, and a large deficit in public finances” as well as “the US dollar’s status as the primary means of payment and reserve currency in international trade” rather than anything China has done. It concluded that “those who spread this mistaken discourse have miscalculated” since China “has the ability and confidence… to realize the long-term stability of the Chinese economy.”

The second article addressed the “levying tariffs is beneficial discourse” (“加征关税有利论”). The article argued the US imagines that “levying tariffs is equal to freely taking money from China’s pocket,” but the true costs of this action “will inevitably manifest themselves in the payments of final consumers.” It claimed that “the US government’s hope that businesses will find new substitute import sources” is mistaken as many goods made in China “are cheap and of good quality and can only be purchased in China.” It warned that “if the US imposes tariffs on others, they cannot be indifferent and will certainly carry out countermeasures” before citing the difficulties facing US farmers as an example of “the pain brought to the US by levying tariffs.”

The third article addressed the “China has gone back on its word discourse” (“中国出尔反尔论”). The article asserted that this discourse “inverts black and white” and that “the bandit logic of the US is what the US said is what you said and not complying with this is going back on your word.” It stated that the US “has repeatedly turned hostile and withdrawn from the group in international organizations” over the last two years, citing US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and UN Human Rights Council as evidence. It declared that these actions have “let the world’s people see what the true face of going back on one’s word looks like.”

The fourth article addressed the “American reconstruction of China discourse” (“美国重建中国论”), which holds that China’s success over the past few decades is largely due to the support of the United States. The article ridiculed this line of thought as outrageous, arrogant, and laughable, and declared that US-China trade is not a “one-way street” for the US to deliver wealth to China, pointing to China’s financing of US debt. The article emphasized that a country’s development ultimately depends upon itself.

PD Commentator: Gentlemanly Countries Use Peaceful Measures Before Force

5.15 People’s Daily published a commentator article on the recently escalated trade war between China and the US. The article focused on emphasizing that “China is a country of etiquette” and that it pays particular attention to “using peaceful measures before force.”

While expressing hope for the US to “come back to the right track of bilateral trade negotiation,” the article also strongly condemned US actions. It first stated that the US has “misjudged the situation and underestimated the target” and warned the US against “taking China’s good faith as submissiveness; thinking that China will concede and compromise on the issue of major principles; and thinking that China will trade national core interests and people’s fundamental interests away.”

It reiterated China stance, which is that “there’s no winner in trade war” and that “China does not want to fight but is not afraid to fight,” and expressed confidence in China’s economy to perform under pressure and said that China has prepared for the worst.

Xi Jinping: Deeply Understand the New Development Concepts

5.16 The Central Committee’s theoretical journal, Qiushi, published a speech given by Xi Jinping in January 2016 to provincial and ministerial-level leading cadres on the five “new development concepts.” The first and most important concept Xi discussed is an innovation-driven development strategy. He emphasized innovation as central to China’s continued economic success saying, “looking back on the history of global development in modern times, it is clear that a nation’s capacity for innovation fundamentally influences and even determines the future and destiny of that nation.” In an editorial explaining the speech, Qiushi explains that by ranking innovation-driven development first among the points of the new development concept, Xi has grasped the crux of what drives overall social and economic development.

Other concepts that Xi discussed are the importance of coordinated development, promoting harmony between man and nature, forming a “new system” for opening up to the outside world, and focusing on people-centered development.

Fighting or Talking, Both are Fine

5.14 Qiushi published an article commenting on the recent escalation of the US-China trade war. The article focused on demonstrating that “China is responsible,” “China upholds honesty and credibility,” “China is not belligerent,” “China will not be intimidated,” and that “China is patient.”

The article stated that China has been a responsible big power and that it is negotiating with the US “based on the moral grounds that it is responsible for the Chinese people, the American people, and the people of the world.” It stressed that China has also proven its good faith with its actions, and listed expanding imports and reducing tariffs on some products, increasing US soybean imports, and participating in the latest bilateral trade negotiation as proof.

Although the article ended by saying that “we believe cooperation is the righteous path!” it also stressed that “China is prepared for a prolonged war” and that “no matter what the result is, China is fully prepared and will have a way to respond.”


United Front Work

Wang Yang Meets with Former KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu

5.13 Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang (汪洋) met with a Taiwan delegation led by Chinese Cyan Geese Peace Education Foundation (中华青雁和平教育基金会) Director and former KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) in Beijing.

Wang praised Hung’s “long-term adherence to the ‘1992 Consensus,’ opposition to ‘Taiwan independence,’ and positive contributions to cross-Strait relations and compatriot well-being.”

Wang also claimed that Xi Jinping’s important speech on the 40th anniversary of the Letter to Taiwan Compatriots “has caused Taiwan compatriots to positively express their strong desire to strengthen cross-Strait communication, dialogue, exchange, and cooperation, jointly promote peace and development in cross-Strait relations, and throw themselves into the great undertakings of national rejuvenation and the unification of the motherland.” He added that this reaction shows that “the development of cross-Strait relations is a common aspiration and irresistible trend.”


Party Discipline

State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development Party Leadership Group Reports on Progress of Poverty Alleviation Special Inspection and Improvement

5.16 The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development Party Leadership Group released a progress report on the special inspection on poverty alleviation. It stated that the 13th round of inspection was conducted from 18 October to 30 November 2018. On 19 January 2019, the group that conducted the inspection provided the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development Party Leadership Group with suggestions on how to improve the work on poverty alleviation.

The progress report highlighted the four focuses of the suggestions, namely increasing political awareness, strengthening political responsibility for conducting inspection and carrying out improvements, focusing on resolving the prominent issues, and deepening the result of the work. The progress report stated that 88 percent of the 243 measures that the group proposed had been completed.


International Liaison Work

5.12 International Department Deputy Head and Silk Road Think Tank Association (SRTA) Director General Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) delivered a speech at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction in Xi’an. The forum was jointly hosted by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government, Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, and SRTA. Officials, experts, scholars, and business leaders from nine countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were in attendance.

5.13 Guo Yezhou met with a Central African delegation led by Minister of State and Presidential Office Secretary General Obed Namsio.

5.13 Guo Yezhou met with an Austrian delegation led by Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Johannes Peterlik.

5.14 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with a Cambodian high-level cadre study group led by Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) Central Committee member and Monitoring Committee Deputy Head Men Sam An and CPP Central Committee member and Monitoring Committee Deputy Head Hun Manith.

5.15 Wang Yajun met with a Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) delegation cadre study group led by SPLM National Liberation Council member, Amadi State SPLM Party Chief, and Amadi State Governor Joseph Ngere Paciko.

5.15 Wang Yajun met with Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply and Democrats party leader Tereza Cristina.

5.16 Wang Yajun met with Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal.


Organization Work

5.14 Wang Xi (王曦) was appointed vice minister of science and technology.

5.14 Wang Aiwen (王爱文) was appointed vice minister of civil affairs.

5.14 Han Zirong (韩子荣) was appointed vice chairwoman of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

5.15 Liu Guiping (刘桂平) was appointed president of China Construction Bank.

5.16 Jin Donghan (金东寒) was appointed president of Tianjin University.

5.16 Sheng Ronghua (盛荣华) was appointed deputy head of the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and Cyberspace Administration of China.

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