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  • David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl

Weekly Report 2|30 5.18.2019-5.24.2019


  • Official media continued to focus on US-China trade this week, picking apart what it called falsehoods in US discourse on trade and blaming the US for trade tensions (see Propaganda Work section).

  • Xi Jinping made several highly symbolic stops on his tour of Jiangxi this week, which indicated potential sources of leverage for China in the US-China trade conflict, and emphasized that China is ready to wage a protracted fight.


Senior Leaders

Central Committee and State Council General Offices Publish Notification on Propaganda and Education Activities for Celebrating 70th Anniversary of People’s Republic of China

5.19 Xinhua reported that the Central Committee and State Council General Offices recently published a notification on organizing and launching “Me and My Motherland” (我和我祖国)-themed mass propaganda and education activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The notification indicated that 13 different types of activities will be carried out. These include revolutionary martyr commemorations, flag-raising and national anthem-singing ceremonies, and national defense education activities.

Xi Jinping Conducts Inspection Tour of Jiangxi

5.22 Xinhua reported that there is “deep meaning” behind the itinerary for Xi Jinping’s inspection tour of Jiangxi this week. The first stop on his tour, Jiangxi Jinli Permanent Magnet Technology Company, highlighted Xi’s focus on the development of strategic resources. Analysts noted that the visit raised the possibility that China could cut off its supply of rare-earth elements to the United States in response to the Trump administration’s trade policies.

Xi continued on to Yudu County, the starting point of the Long March in 1935, emphasizing that “every generation has a long march,” referring to the possibility of a protracted trade conflict with the US. Xinhua noted that this visit came directly after last week’s Politburo meeting, which announced plans to begin an education campaign on “remaining true to our original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in mind.” According to Xinhua, Xi’s return to the “starting point of revolution” was intended to mobilize the party to begin this education program.

Next, Xi visited the home of Sun Guanfa, a veteran and descendant of a Red Army martyr. According to a China Daily article, upon hearing that Sun's family members had “no difficulties in employment and education”--the subject of widespread discontent among veterans in recent months--Xi said “as long as the people follow the Party's leadership, China will definitely achieve great rejuvenation and the people will enjoy a better life.”

The next day, Xi continued to Jiangxi’s capital of Nanchang, where he inspected the PLA’s Army Infantry Academy. Xi gave a speech about improving military education, emphasizing first that schools must adhere to a “firm and correct political direction,” arming minds with socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics and strong military thought for a new era. Second, he said education in military schools must make combat training a priority.

Commentary appearing in Party newspapers further publicized different aspects of the inspection tour. PLA Daily published a commentator article on Xi’s speech at the Army Infantry Academy while People’s Daily published a commentator article on Xi’s speech on the rise of central China and another commentator article on Xi’s claim that China is on a “New Long March.”


Propaganda Work

Continuing Zhong Sheng Series on Trade War

People’s Daily

5.18-5.22 People’s Daily continued its “Zhong Sheng” (钟声) series on the escalating trade war between China and the US from last week. Each article argued against a particular line of American discourse related to the trade war.

The fifth article in the series addressed the “China forces the transfer of technology discourse” (“中国强制转让技术论”). It claimed that this discourse was “manufactured to suppress China’s development.” It asserted that forced technology transfer does not occur since US businesses’ cooperation with their Chinese counterparts is “voluntary” and “self-initiated,” “the US has been unable to produce a single example [of such transfers] to this day,” and many transnational corporations transfer technology to developing countries to “extend the period of profitability for old technologies” and “create space for the research and development of new technologies.” It argued the real reason for Americans’ “frail nerves” is “China’s ability to keep pace with the times in technological research and development and rapidly progressing achievements in scientific and technological innovation.”

The sixth article addressed the “Chinese technology is harmful discourse” (“中国技术有害论”). It accused “some US officials of sparing no effort to rush around the world to peddle” this discourse and of “having a paranoid antagonism toward all inventions and innovations from Chinese scientists and technologists.” It also charged the US with “never being stingy about using scientific and technological means in the service of its own political ends” and believing that “since it used science and technology to do ill, others will certainly do the same.” It countered that “China uses its development to benefit the world” and, as a result, “has received genuine approval (点赞) from people from all the countries of the world.”

The seventh article addressed the “China steals intellectual property rights discourse” (“中国盗窃知识产权论”). It argued that this discourse is wrong since it is “based on imaginary or selective data” and “China has already begun to establish a relatively complete, high-standard legal system for intellectual property rights.” It declared that “intellectual property rights are supposed to be a bridge for innovation and cooperation between all countries, but, in the United States’ hands, they have become a political tool, weapon for containing other countries, and disguise for bullying the world.” It claimed that “the United States’ indiscriminate brandishing of the ‘big stick’ of intellectual property rights is a rejection of property rights and credit consciousness, the essence of contracts, and market rules.”

The eighth article addressed the “civilizational clash with China discourse” (“对华文明冲突论”). It criticized US Department of State Director of Policy Planning Kiron Skinner’s recent evocation of the clash of civilizations, claiming it was marked by “classic racist logic” and “cannot but bring to mind the Nazis’ past malicious curses directed against Jews, Slavs, and others.” It added that “the danger in Skinner’s racist views lies in if [one] says the ‘clash of civilizations’ is based on racial difference, the only means of resolution is the elimination of the races [one] does not like.” It stressed that “all civilizations should engage in exchange and mutual learning, use one another’s strengths to make up for their own weaknesses, and appreciate one another’s beauty” instead.

The ninth article addressed the “China is backtracking discourse” (“中国退步论”). It suggested that this discourse is inaccurate since “the current negotiations are still not finished and an agreement has yet to be signed.” It accused the US of “looking for a pretext for extreme pressure” and blamed “US fickleness and indecisiveness” for causing “the ups and downs of China-US negotiations” instead. It argued that China, in contrast, “has always insisted on keeping its word and following its actions through to the end” and, as a result, “has won extensive approval from the international community.”

PD Commentator: Behaving Capriciously and Breaking Promises to the World

5.18 People’s Daily published a commentator article blaming “US capriciousness” for the “numerous reversals” in the recent China-US trade talks. After detailing three instances in which such reversals allegedly occurred, it lamented that “openly breaking promises has apparently become a common occurrence for the US.”

The article argued that since “China is an upright and frank great power” that “has always kept its promises and will never resign itself to adversity,” US actions “do not have any significance other than causing self-inflicted harm to its image.” It added that “US ‘soft power’ is falling from grace” as a result.

PD Commentator: Bullying Does Not Enjoy Popular Support

5.19 People’s Daily published a commentator article claiming US behavior during the China-US trade talks shows that the country “considers itself to be the [world’s] savior” and consequently “thinks it can rule as a despot and do whatever it pleases.” It elaborated that such behavior is “blatant bullying and doomed to be unpopular.”

After asserting that bullying “does not work and is extremely dangerous” in a globalized world, the article declared that “bullying does not frighten China… After going through more than 5,000 years of difficulties and hardships, China is still here! Looking to the future, China will always be here!” It also warned that bullying “cannot help the US rebuild the ‘unipolar world,’ obstruct the progress of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, or stem the powerful currents of the times of world multi-polarization and economic globalization.”

Zhong Xuanli: The Spirit of the May 4th Movement and the Chinese Road

5.20 A People’s Daily article under the pen name Zhong Xuanli (钟轩理), standing for the Central Propaganda Department’s Theory Bureau, discusses Xi Jinping’s speech delivered on the 100th anniversary of the May 4th Movement. The article discusses the legacy of the May 4th Movement: elevating the Chinese people’s anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle to a new level, promoting the spread of Marxism in China, and promoting the integration of Marxism with the Chinese workers’ movement. Going forward, continuing the spirit of the May 4th Movement means striving to take the road of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the road of the people being masters of the country.

Prior to the May 4th Movement, the article said, the concept of democracy popular in China was merely “bourgeois democracy” that had been introduced by “colonial aggression and the plundering of Western powers.” The May 4th Movement helped generate a new concept of democracy in China that is truly the democracy of the majority and of the working masses. This led the way to the CCP taking responsibility for the realization of the people being the masters of the country, uniting the people to carry out a new democratic revolution, striving for the independence of the people, and liberating the people. To carry forward the May 4th spirit, the article says “we must fully realize that people’s democracy is the most extensive, true, and useful democracy that safeguards the fundamental interests of the people.”

PD Commentator: Extreme Pressure Is Doomed to Be Ineffective

5.20 People’s Daily published a commentator article accusing the US of “having insufficient sincerity, harboring ulterior motives, frequently brandishing the big stick of tariffs, and repeatedly using extreme pressure” in China-US trade talks in an attempt “to compel China to accept exorbitant costs.” It warned that “regardless of how the US threatens it, China will always resolutely defend the bottom line of its legitimate national interests and national dignity” and extreme pressure “can only make the Chinese people more clearly see the essence of hegemonism and strengthen their determination to defend their interests even further.”

The article portrayed China-US trade frictions as “a contest between progress and retrogression, equality and hegemony, and free trade and protectionism” in which “China stands on the side of international righteousness and the trends of the times.” It added that the US will learn the true meaning of the ancient Chinese saying that “a just cause attracts much support, an unjust one finds little.”

PD Commentator: Strategic Misjudgment Leads to Serious Consequences

5.21 People’s Daily published a commentator article blaming trade frictions and other problems in China-US relations on “a few US politicians holding important posts wantonly propagating the ‘China threat theory.’” It claimed that their “words and deeds are thick with enmity,” which is based on a “combination of selfishness, narrow-mindedness, and bigotry,” and “their way of thinking is still stuck within the confines of a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game.”

The article argued that “these US politicians should recognize… vain attempts to deprive nearly 1.4 billion Chinese of their right to development and obstruct the historical progress of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will ultimately prove to be like a mantis trying to stop a chariot (螳臂挡车).” It added that “there is no ‘Thucydides Trap,” but strategic misjudgments between great powers have repeatedly occurred, which can cause them to create traps for themselves.”


United Front Work

You Quan Meets with Tibetan Monks Receiving Senior Academic Titles

5.20 United Front Work Department Head You Quan (尤权) met with Tibetan monks receiving the highest academic title conferred by the High-Level Tibetan Buddhism College of China. Addressing the monks, he told them it was their role to resolutely safeguard national unity, adhere to the direction of religious sinicization, carry forward the fine tradition of patriotic education, promote the “health” of Tibetan Buddhism, and play an active role in adapting Tibetan Buddhism to a socialist society.

Han Zheng Meets with Representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations

5.21 Politburo Standing Committee Member and Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正) met with representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations in Beijing. Han used the meeting to indicate that Beijing fully supports proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition law, which would allow Hong Kong to facilitate ad hoc extraditions to countries with which it does not have extradition treaties, including the PRC. In spite of strong opposition to the law in Hong Kong, Han spoke optimistically about the ability of the PRC and Hong Kong governments to work together to “resolve doubts and reach consensus.”

Wang Yang Meets with Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong Delegation

5.22 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) met with a delegation from the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong (CGCC). Wang credited the CGCC with making positive contributions to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. He emphasized the role the CGCC can play in developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, and accelerating the integration of Hong Kong into the overall development of the country.

Wang encouraged the CGCC to take the lead in propagating and implementing “One Country, Two Systems,” supporting the Hong Kong chief executive in governing in accordance with the law, promoting unity, and guiding the younger generation.


Party Discipline

Liu Shiyu, Li Dong Under Investigation


5.19-5.21 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced that the current chairman of the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives and former head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Liu Shiyu (刘士余), and the head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Department of Equipment Industry, Li Dong (李东), have been placed under investigation.


Central Military Commission

The Essentials of Xi Jinping Strong Military Thought Published

5.20 Xinhua reported that The Essentials of Xi Jinping Strong Military Thought (习近平强军思想学习纲要), a CMC-approved text meant to “promote the whole military’s thorough study and implementation of Xi Jinping Strong Military Thought,” was recently published.

Xinhua reported that the CMC recently issued a notification requiring “the whole military to conscientiously organize for the study and application of The Essentials.” The notification also called for The Essentials “to be integrated into the studies of Party committees, centers, and groups, theoretical training of cadres, ideological and political education of the armed forces, and political theory classes of colleges and universities, to be integrated into ‘Do Not Forget Your Original Intentions, Remember Your Mission’- and ‘Pass on Red Genes, Assume the Heavy Responsibility of a Strong Military’-themed education, and to guide officers and men in consciously using Xi Jinping Strong Military Thought to arm their minds, direct their actions, and push their work forward.”


International Liaison Work

5.20-5.21 On 20 May, International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with a Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) delegation led by Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs member and CDU/Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) Parliamentary Group Secretary Manfred Grund.

The following day Qian participated in the 11th political dialogue between the CCP and CDU.

5.20-5.21 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) individually met with the Thai Ambassador to China Piriya Khempon, Malaysian Embassy in China Charge d'Affaires Nuryante Mohd Yazid, and Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri.

5.21 Guo Yezhou met with Palestinian Fatah Deputy Chairman and Special Envoy of the President Mahmoud Aloul.

5.21 International Department Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) led a CCP delegation to Afghanistan. While there, the delegation met with Chief Executive Officer and National Coalition of Afghanistan leader Abdullah Abdullah, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani, and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The delegation also participated in a signing ceremony for an agreement between the China Foundation for Peace and Development and Afghan Red Crescent Society.

5.22 Qian Hongshan met with the Czech Ambassador to China Vladimír Tomšík.

5.22 Guo Yezhou met with the third Ni-Vanuatu joint government and parliament cadre study group led by Minister of Education and Training and Reunification Movement for Change First Vice Chairman Jean Pierre Nirua.

5.22 Guo Yezhou met with a cadre study group made up of representatives from six minority parties from Myanmar. The parties included the Kachin State Democracy Party, Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State, Lisu National Development Party, Arakan National Party, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, and Zomi Congress for Democracy.

5.23 Qian Hongshan met with a Vietnamese discipline supervision cadre training class led by Central Inspection Commission member Võ Thái Nguyên.

5.23 Song Tao and Guo Yezhou met with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, and People’s Action Party First Assistant Secretary-General Heng Swee Keat (王瑞杰).

5.24 Qian Hongshan met with a Japanese delegation led by Niigata Prefecture Governor Hideyo Hanazumi.

5.24 Song Tao met with Asia Society Policy Institute President and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.


Organization Work

5.21 Xiao Yaqing (肖亚庆) was appointed head of the State Administration for Market Regulation.

5.21 Hao Peng (郝鹏) was appointed head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

5.24 Zhou Zuyi (周祖翼) was appointed director of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform.

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