- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, Sandy Lu
Weekly Report 2|34 6.15.2019-6.21.2019
Xi Jinping met with Kim Jong-un on his first visit to North Korea since assuming office. According to Xinhua, the two leaders discussed China’s commitment to the enduring friendship between the two countries, and the role China has to play in resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula (see Senior Leaders section).
Qiushi published a compilation of Xi’s speeches on the subject of “cultural self-confidence” and an associated editorial (see Propaganda Work section).
People’s Daily commentaries continued to address relations with the United States, placing blame on the US for tensions and indicating China’s willingness to engage in a protracted conflict (see Propaganda Work section).
Former Interpol Chief and former PRC Deputy Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei (孟宏伟) pled guilty to corruption charges (see Party Discipline section).
Xi Jinping Meets with Kim Jong-un in North Korea
6.20-21 On his first visit to North Korea since assuming office, Xi Jinping met with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. According to Xinhua, in his discussion with Kim, Xi emphasized the long history of enduring diplomatic relations between the two countries (this year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties) and the common values, ideals, and convictions driving the friendship between the two countries. Maintaining this friendship is, as always, the “unshakable policy” of the Chinese Communist Party, he said. Xi praised North Korea’s efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and to promote denuclearization.
Kim reportedly told Xi that over the past year, North Korea has introduced many positive measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the peninsula, but that these efforts were not always met with a positive response by the relevant parties. Kim said that North Korea is willing to remain patient and emphasized the role China can play in resolving tensions.
Ahead of his visit, Xi Jinping published a signed article in Rodong Sinmun and other North Korean media, titled as “Carry Forward China-DPRK Friendship, and Continue to Write a New Chapter of the Times.” His article stated that, “for a long time, people from both countries have trusted, relied on, supported, and helped each other...under the strong leadership of the CCP and the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).” He highlighted China’s resolution and willingness to “firmly support Chairman Kim Jong-un in leading the WPK and people to implement the new strategic line and focus on developing economics and improving livelihood” and “join hands with the DPRK comrades to draw up a grand plan that will realize the region’s long-term peace and stability.”
Xi also stressed the importance for China and DPRK to reinforce strategic communication, deepen inter-party exchanges, increase people-to-people interactions and civil cooperation, and strengthen cooperation on diplomatically resolving the Peninsula issue.
Xi Jinping Sends a Congratulatory Letter to Guangming Daily for its 70th Anniversary
6.16 Xi Jinping sent a letter to Guangming Daily celebrating the 70th anniversary of its establishment. He called on the paper to “deeply learn and implement the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th Party Congress,” “hold on to its role as a major ideological and cultural newspaper,” “unite broad intellectuals closely around the Central Committee,” and “make new and more contributions to the China dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The letter was read to a meeting held to celebrate the anniversary by Central Propaganda Department head Huang Kunming (黄坤明).
PD Commentator: Resolutely Support the Chief Executive and Special Administrative Region Government in Governing According to the Law
6.16 People’s Daily published a commentator article stating that “the Central Committee resolutely supports the [Hong Kong] Chief Executive and Special Administrative Region government in governing according to the law, resolutely supports the Special Administrative Region government in protecting rule by law and city residents’ legitimate rights, resolutely opposes foreign forces’ interference in Hong Kong affairs and Chinese domestic politics, and supports the Special Administrative Region government’s decision to postpone deliberation of the ‘extradition law’ and further hear opinions.”
The article claimed that “since the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government issued a revised ‘Fugitive Offenders Ordinance’ and ‘Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance’ in February 2019, [these ordinances] have obtained the support of Hong Kong mainstream public opinion,… plugged legal loopholes, and prevented Hong Kong from becoming a ‘paradise for avoiding punishment.’” It also noted that “at present, mainland China has already signed 50 extradicition treaties and 61 criminal judicial assistance treaties with 71 countries,” which “fully shows the confidence the international community has in the Chinese judicial system.”
Xi Jinping: Strengthen Cultural Self-Confidence, Build a Socialist Culture Great Power
6.16 Qiushi printed excerpts of speeches given by Xi Jinping from 2014 to 2017 in which he discussed the topic of “cultural self-confidence.”
For example Qiushi provided the following excerpt from a speech Xi gave to the Symposium on Philosophy and Social Science Work on 17 May, 2016:
“The Chinese culture that has lasted for thousands of years is a profound foundation for the growth and development of philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics. I have said that standing on 9.6 million square kilometers of vast territory, absorbing the cultural nutrients accumulated by the Chinese people’s endless struggle, possessing the boundless combined strength of 1.3 billion Chinese people, walking our own path, possessing an incomparably vast stage, an incomparably profound historical heritage, an incomparably strong determination, the Chinese people as a whole should have self-confidence, and every individual Chinese person should have self-confidence. We say we must strengthen self-confidence in the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, theoretical self-confidence, system self-confidence, but in reality, what we need is cultural self-confidence. Cultural self-confidence is a more fundamental, profound, and lasting force. Both history and practice demonstrate that a nation that has abandoned or betrayed its own history and culture not only cannot rise but also most likely sets the stage for a historical tragedy.
The Chinese nation has a profound cultural tradition and has formed a distinctive ideological system, reflecting several thousand years of accumulated intellectual wisdom and critical thinking. This is our country’s unique advantage… It is necessary to promote the creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese civilization, to activate its vitality, let Chinese civilization and the colorful civilization created by the people of all other nations provide humanity with the correct spiritual guidance. It is necessary to focus on the major issues facing China and the world, and put effort into raising ideas, viewpoints, and proposals that embody China’s positions, wisdom, and values. We must not only let the world know the ‘China on their tongue’ but also the ‘China of the academy,’ the ‘China of theory,’ the ‘China of philosophy and the social sciences,’ the ‘China of development,’ the ‘China of openness,’ and the ‘China that contributes to human civilization.’”
Qiushi published an associated editorial which expounds on Xi’s speeches. The editorial explains that, despite the “powerful appeal and attraction of Chinese culture,” China’s cultural self-confidence was damaged by the period of foreign invasion. The resultant “decline of the country” led to a sense of inferiority among Chinese people. The rise of Chinese communism, however, “greatly invigorated the national spirit.” After struggling for over 100 years, the steps taken toward realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation should solidify Chinese people’s cultural self-confidence, the editorial said. Borrowing Xi’s words, the editorial concluded, “standing on China’s vast territory, rooted in the fertile soil of socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, walking our own path, our stage is incomparably wide, our foundation incomparably profound, and our determination incomparably powerful.”
Qing Yuan: Clearly See Essence, Understand Major Trends, and Struggle to the End
6.16 Qiushi published an article on “several issues requiring clarification in China-US trade frictions.” It focused on a series of questions, namely 1. “Are China-US trade relations a ‘zero-sum game?,’” 2. “Is the ‘fair trade’ the US emphasizes really fair?,” 3. “Does pursuing unilateralism work?,” 4. “Can scientific and technological hegemonism prevail?,” 5. “Will extreme pressure be effective on China?,” 6. “Can trade protection realize the ‘return of the manufacturing industry’ to the US?,” 7. “Can trade frictions promote US economic prosperity?,” 8. “Does increasing tariffs conform with the interests of the American people?,” and 9. “Will China-US trade frictions cause the Chinese economy to collapse?” The answer to all nine questions, according to the article, is no.
The conclusion was devoted to “China’s standpoint and attitude toward China-US trade frictions.” It declared that “China does not fear any threats or pressure the US may use to escalate trade frictions. China has no other choice or way out. It can only resolutely struggle to the end. No individual or force should underestimate or belittle the Chinese people’s steel will or formidable tenacity to fight a prolonged war!” before proclaiming that “China will insist on self-determination, self-reliance, deepened reform, and expanded opening, unswervingly walk along the path of high-quality development, and conscientiously manage its own affairs well.”
This article also appeared in the People's Daily and PLA Daily.
Nine Departments Jointly Release a Document to Launch National “Most Beautiful Strugglers” Propaganda Study Campaign
United Front Work Department WeChat Account
6.17 In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Party Central Committee approved a notice on the national propaganda study campaign on “Most Beautiful Strugglers,” jointly issued by nine central departments: the Propaganda Department, the Organization Department, the United Front Work Department, the Central and State Organs Working Committee, the Central Research Institute of Party History and Literature, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, and the Central Military Commission Political Work Department.
The propaganda campaign will eulogize the builders of the PRC and the “strugglers of the new era,” telling “moving stories about how they grew and struggled together with the motherland,” in order to inspire the masses of cadres to unite around the Central Committee with Xi as the core and contribute to the China dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, following the example of the “most beautiful strugglers.” 200 “strugglers” from all parts of the country, all fields and occupations, and different times in PRC history will be selected for the campaign based on nomination and voting. Selection criteria are based on three broad factors: adherence to the Party line and ideological leadership; importance of contributions to national greatness and rejuvenation in a variety of fields; and “making extraordinary accomplishments from ordinary positions,” at the grassroots level.
Guo Jiping: There Is No Thucydides Trap
6.18 People’s Daily used the 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), to publish the second part of its series on “the dangers of some American strategic misconceptions.” The first part was published last week.
The commentary argued that “some Americans have deep-rooted zero-sum thinking. They always would like to find an enemy for themselves. If one cannot be found in reality, they ‘create’ one. From their perspective, China is the US’ ‘ideal enemy’ today.” It also criticized the US government for “creating a kind of unconventional ‘political correctness’ in relations with China,” in which “being tough on China” is an “indicator of ‘patriotism.’”
The commentary declared that “there is no ‘Thucydides Trap.’ However, if some people repeatedly have strategic misconceptions, they can create a ‘Thucydides Trap’ for themselves.” It advocated “objectively looking at the relationship between Chinese and US development,” “rationally looking at the cooperative and competitive relations between China and the US,” and “accurately understanding the orientation toward change in today’s international system” as means to “avoid strategic misconceptions.”
The commentary warned that “getting caught up in the myth of ‘finding an enemy’ and stuck on the dead end of zero-sum games not only does not benefit China and the US but will also bring disaster to the world!” It concluded that “only by using cooperation to resolve conflicts, rationality to control differences, and putting ‘strategic imagination’ to use under the preconditions of respecting one another’s core concerns and understanding and safeguarding common interests can strategic misconceptions be avoided.”
Wu Yuehe: The Law of the Jungle Will Not Work
6.19 People’s Daily published a commentary criticizing US Senator Marco Rubio for filing a legislation amendment on 17 June with the intention to prohibit Huawei from demanding US enterprises to pay patent fees through the US court system.
The article condemned Senator Rubio for always playing an “anti-China clown” and supporting imposing tariffs on China’s exports to the US. It stated that Rubio “has a strong ideological bias” and can only see others as a “strategic competitor.”
It argued that Huawei’s demands are reasonable and in compliance with the market rules and rhetorically asked “if Huawei has to offer its patented (technologies) to the US for free.” It stressed that “the law of the jungle” will not work and that the restrictions put on Huawei have also harmed the interests of US industries.
Ren Xianliang: Deeply Study and Understand Xi Jinping’s Thought on Cyberpower
Central Institute of Socialism Website
6.19 Former Cyberspace Administration of China deputy head Ren Xianliang gave a lecture at the Central Institute of Socialism entitled “Deeply Study and Understand General-Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Thoughts about Cyberpower - Plugging into the Soaring Wings of the Internet to Realize the China Dream of the ‘Two Centenary Goals.’ ” Ren said that China has become a “major Internet power”: its number of Internet users, fiber optic network coverage, the scale of its 4G mobile network, and e-commerce volume are all the largest in the world.
Ren said that the Internet brings great opportunities for economic growth, including poverty alleviation, for example by connecting isolated rural areas to the outside world via an “information highway.” Ren also pointed out that although China’s innovation in Internet applications is great, cybersecurity remains a weakness. China faces serious problems with data leaks, information theft, cybercrime, etc. China must strengthen its security for information infrastructure, cybersecurity crisis handling capability, and cybersecurity industry.
Guo Jiping: Nobody Can Break the Cause of Justice
6.21 People’s Daily published the third and final part of its “Guo Jiping” series on “the dangers of some American strategic misconceptions.”
The commentary warned that “if anyone’s mind is still stuck in the old days of Cold War thinking and zero-sum games, wants to suppress and contain the strengthening of China’s development, and even dreams of using threats, intimidation, and blackmail to compel China to sacrifice its right to development and harm its sovereignty and dignity, this is certainly a strategic misconception.”
After noting the debate over “who lost China?” that existed in the US following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the commentary stated that “today we similarly hear a new argument: Who lost China for a second time?” It maintained that “some Americans fundamentally ‘have an axe to grind.’ Their true goal is guaranteeing the everlastingly unsurpassable ‘absolute superiority’ of the US.”
The commentary argued that “while being blockaded, sanctioned, isolated, and contained, New China progressively strengthened its development through ‘mettle and ambition.’ Under extremely difficult conditions and in such a weak position, we were able to resolutely defend the core interests of the country and fundamental interests of the people” before asking “today, [when China’s] power has greatly increased, how can we accept unreasonable pressure and blackmail?”
The commentary concluded with “40 years of diplomatic relations between China and the US tell us that a prosperous China is advantageous to the US and a prosperous US is also advantageous to China. China has no intention of changing the US and does not want to replace it either. The US cannot control China and is even less capable of holding back its development.”
United Front Work
Wang Yang Delivers Speech at 11th Straits Forum in Xiamen
6.16 Politburo Standing Committee Member Wang Yang delivered a speech at the 11th Straits Forum in Xiamen. Wang said the forum would expand cross-Strait civil exchanges and that time will bring national reunification and rejuvenation. As the mainland economy becomes more open and demand for high-quality goods and services increases, he stressed, economic ties between the two sides of the Strait should become closer.
Wang also said that peaceful reunification is the least costly and most beneficial option for both sides, and China wants extensive and thorough dialogue with all Taiwanese parties to move toward this goal, in accordance with the 1992 Consensus and in opposition to Taiwan independence.
KMT Vice Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan also spoke, reaffirming the 1992 Consensus and opposition to Taiwan independence, and that both sides should promote cross-Strait stability, exchange and common development despite the “ups and downs” of the relationship.
Wang Yang Meets with CPPCC National Committee China-Africa Friendship Group Members
6.19 Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Chairman Wang Yang met with members of the newly-established China-Africa Friendship Group for its inaugural and first plenary meeting.
Wang pointed out that this is the CPPCC National Committee’s first foreign friendship group, and has “groundbreaking significance in the history of the CPPCC’s foreign exchanges.” Wang called for the group to implement the goals of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and to build a close community of shared future for China and Africa.
Qu Qingshan: Study Comrade Mao Zedong’s “Combat Liberalism”
6.16 Central Research Institute of Party History and Literature President Qu Qingshan (曲青山) penned an article in Qiushi urging readers to study Mao Zedong’s “Combat Liberalism,” a pamphlet distributed in 1947 that identified liberals within the Communist Party as those that neglected to engage in constant ideological struggle in order to maintain peace, such as by failing to correct wrong views, failing to call out friends and acquaintances, failing to report problems to party leadership, etc. Qu said that this document should be studied as part of the “remain true to the original aspiration, keep the mission firmly in mind” education campaign.
According to Qu, Xi Jinping has continued to bring attention to the various forms of liberalism that still exist within the Party. At the root of all party discipline violations, Qu says, is liberalism. It has led individual party members to relax their demands on themselves and has led party organizations to turn a blind eye toward people’s mistakes.
Qu urged the entire party to confront liberalism, quoting Mao Zedong as saying “If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party's life would come to an end.”
Former Deputy Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei Pled Guilty to Receiving Bribes
6.20 Former Interpol Chief and former PRC Deputy Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei (孟宏伟) pled guilty to receiving over 14.46 million RMB in bribes while he served as the deputy head and Party Committee member of the Ministry of Public Security Deputy and the head of the China Coast Guard.
The Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervision Commission (NSC) announced the investigation on Meng last October and expelled him from the Party and public office this year in March.
Central Military Commission
The Military Holds Video Work Conference on “Remain True to Our Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” Education Campaign in Beijing
6.17 Central Military Commission (CMC) member Miao Hua (苗华) presided over a video work conference on the “Remain True to Our Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” education campaign, where CMC Vice Chairmen Xu Qiliang (许其亮) and Zhang Youxia (张又侠) were in attendance.
Xu gave a speech during the meeting pointing out that the education campaign is a “major decision” of the Central Committee and Xi Jinping. He emphasized the importance to thoroughly learn and understand the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi’s thought on a strong military.
PLA Daily further publicized the education campaign with commentator articles (part 1, part 2, and part 3).
International Liaison Work
6.17 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Luo Zhaohui (罗照辉) held a news briefing on the circumstances related to Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea.
6.18 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with a German Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs delegation led by Committee Chairman Norbert Röttgen.
6.18 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with a Cuban delegation led by Council of State Secretary Homero Acosta Álvarez.
6.19 Li Jun met with Panamanian National Assembly President Yanibel Abrego.
6.17 Liu Lijian (刘丽坚) was appointed chief economist at the State Taxation Administration.
6.20 Chen Jianan (陈建安) was appointed vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.