- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, Sandy Lu
Weekly Report 2|39 7.27.2019-8.2.2019
Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo meeting on analyzing the current economic situation, making a plan for economic work in the second half of the year. Afterward, the Politburo held a collective study session, which focused on the reform of military policies and institutions (see Senior Leaders section).
Official media addressed the US presidential memorandum on the WTO as well as US President Donald Trump’s tweets regarding US-China trade earlier this week (see Propaganda Work section).
Former China Development Bank Chairman and Party Committee Secretary Hu Huaibang (胡怀邦) was placed under disciplinary and supervisory investigation (see Party Discipline section).
CCP Central Committee General Office Releases “Opinions on Implementing the Civil Servant Law to Build a Professional, High-Quality Team of Civil Servants” Xinhua
7.29 The General Office of the CCP Central Committee released a document entitled “Opinions on Implementing the Civil Servant Law to Build a High-Quality Professional Team of Civil Servants,” along with a notice instructing CCP party committees and leadership groups at all levels to take studying and implementing the newly revised Civil Servant Law as a “serious political duty,” and work to build a team of civil servants that have firm convictions, serve the people, are hardworking and practical, take responsibility, and are upright and honest.
The document also offered various suggestions for improving cadre management and training, including “integrating political standards and political requirements into all aspects of the building process of a civil servant team,” implementing strict supervision and daily inspection, “correcting formalism and bureaucratism,” etc.
Politburo Meeting Analyzes Current Economic Situation, Makes Plan for Economic Work for Second Half of 2019
7.30 Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo meeting on analyzing the current economic situation, making a plan for economic work in the second half of the year.
The Politburo conveyed that “in the first half of the year, economic operations continued to be stable overall and to make progress” and “major macroeconomic indicators stayed within a reasonable range.” However, it also stressed that “[we] must strengthen [our] awareness of dangers, grasp general long-term trends and major contradictions, be adept at turning crises into opportunities, and handle our own affairs well” as “China’s economic development is facing new risks and challenges and the domestic economy is under increasing downward pressure.”
The Politburo called for “closely focusing on the eight-character guideline of ‘consolidating, reinforcing, enhancing, and smoothing’ (“巩固、增强、提升、畅通”八字方针), deepening supply-side structural reform, and upgrading the capabilities of the industrial base and the quality of supply chains.” It advocated “comprehensively doing ‘six stabilities’ work (“六稳”工作) well” to “effectively respond to trade frictions,” supported “increasing external openness and speeding up the implementation of a series of opening measures,” and vowed to “not view real estate as a short-term measure for stimulating the economy” and to “consolidate and expand the achievements of poverty alleviation.”
People’s Daily further publicized and explained the meeting’s conclusions on economic work in a commentator series (part 1, part 2, and part 3).
Politburo Holds 16th Collective Study Session on Military Policy and Institutional Reform
7.30 Xi Jinping presided over the 16th Politburo collective study session, which focused on the reform of military policies and institutions. Xi emphasized during the session that “the system of military policies and institutions is a critical guarantee for our Party’s governance” and that the reform of the system “is related to the realization of the Party’s strong military goal in the new era, building the people’s military into a world-class military, the ‘two centenary goals,’ and the China Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The reform requires the military to “ensure a party-building system that will guarantee the Party’s absolute leadership over the military,” “innovate the military strategic guideline system,” “improve the design of the military’s human resources system,” and “promote institutional reform in the military’s management.”
Zhong Sheng: “Playing the Same Old Trick” Will Not Earn Popular Support
7.28 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng (钟声) commentary, which authoritatively transmits the paper’s opinions on matters of international affairs, to respond to a recent US presidential memorandum that directed the US Trade Representative (USTR) to use “all available means to secure changes at the WTO” such that members with developing-country status (such as China) would not receive special treatment if the USTR believed those states were not truly “developing” economies. This memo also stated that if the USTR determines the WTO has not made enough progress on this reform within 90 days, the US will act unilaterally to stop treating the relevant countries as “developing.”
The Zhong Sheng article harshly criticized the memo as an “old trick” meant to apply pressure on China in the ongoing trade negotiations, called the people responsible for the tactic “greedy” and “blackmailers” as well as “hegemonic and unreasonable,” and accused them of challenging and disregarding the normal international trade order. It said that whether WTO members counted as “developing” should not be determined by American interests, and pointed out that most developing member states opposed the US’s challenge to their status. While acknowledging that developing member states like China have benefited from integration into the WTO, it argued that they still needed the flexibility afforded by “developing” status, because there are still objective disparities between them and “developed” countries: in industrial competitiveness, living standards, the service industry, science and technology research and development, and other areas.
Zhong Sheng: Negotiate in Good Faith, Don’t Make Trouble Out of Nothing
7.31 A People’s Daily Zhong Sheng (钟声) article argued that if the US wants to negotiate with China and achieve good results, it must negotiate in good faith and pay closer attention to areas of common interest between the two countries. Referencing remarks by “some Americans” that China “always change[s] the deal in the end to their benefit” and that China “could make a great deal, like in the past 30 years, and continue to rip off the USA” (both direct quotations from President Trump’s Twitter, though not cited as such in the article), the article rhetorically asked whether repeatedly promoting such sentiments was “a necessary step in negotiating an agreement.”
It accused “some Americans” of “amnesia” about their earlier promise to “restart trade negotiations on a basis of equality and mutual respect” and of plotting to intimidate the other side into making concessions, and said this strategy would fail because of China’s “unshakable determination” to defend its core interests. The article also denied that China had ever intended or tried to “rip off” the US, and argued that the basis of US-China economic and trade cooperation is mutual benefit (win-win).
Qiushi Highlights Xi’s Speech on Remaining True to the Original Aspiration and Keeping the Mission Firmly in Mind
8.1 Qiushi republished Xi Jinping’s speech at the 15th Politburo Collective Study Session, in which he focused on discussing the “Remain True to the Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” education campaign and defined the original aspiration and mission of the CCP as “realizing the happiness of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The Qiushi Editorial Board further publicized and explained the speech in a dedicated article on the topic. It said that Xi’s speech has provided an “action guide” for carrying out the education campaign. The article pointed out four important points of Xi’s speech, namely keeping the original aspiration and mission in mind as an “everlasting task,” “resolving prominent problems with the spirit of self-revolution” (自我革命精神), “work on the ‘four selves’” (四个自我), and “adhering to the ‘four integrations’” (四个统一).
The “four selves” stand for self-purification (自我净化), self-refinement (自我完善), self-innovation (自我革新), and self-improvement (自我提高). According to Qiushi, they respectively focus on fixing problems of one’s own, improving oneself according to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, promoting innovation in the fields of theory, practice, institutions, and culture, and reinforcing the Party’s political and ideological leadership and abilities to organize the people and inspire society.
The “four integrations” are meant to ensure that work on reinforcing the Party’s unified leadership and solving intraparty problems, adhering to the original aspiration and mission, and conducting strict management and setting up incentive mechanisms, as well as the work of party organizations and individual party members complement each other.
United Front Work
CPPCC National Committee Bi-Weekly Consultative Meeting Convenes, Discusses Poverty Alleviation
7.27 People’s Daily reported that the 26th biweekly consultative meeting of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee met in Beijing to discuss “consolidating the results of poverty alleviation, and lessening and preventing return to poverty” on 26 July. In a speech, Politburo Standing Committee member and CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) said that “lifting oneself out of poverty is a tough battle, preventing regression to poverty is a war of attrition.” He stressed that anti-poverty policy should focus on quality over quantity, give equal importance to “continuing the battle [against poverty]” and “preventing regression to poverty”, and identify and address the root causes of regression to poverty.
Participants presented on various aspects of poverty alleviation, including cultivating industry, expanding employment, ensuring medical care, education and training, financial support, etc. Attendees agreed that China has made “unprecedented” progress on poverty alleviation since the 18th Party Congress, but there was still much work to be done. Some members proposed making poverty alleviation a top priority, which would entail strict enforcement of the reviewing process for poor communities and counties’ anti-poverty progress, making stable employment the primary means to achieve poverty alleviation, strengthening vocational and technical training, and ensuring that poor families have at least one person in stable employment.
Xi Jinping Delivers Speech at CCP Central Committee Non-Party Member Meeting
7.29 Xi Jinping presided over a conference of non-party members organized by the CCP Central Committee that included representatives from China’s minority political parties, leaders of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and unaffiliated representatives, to hear their views and proposals regarding the state of China’s economy. Politburo Standing Committee members Li Keqiang (李克强), Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Han Zheng (韩正) also attended. Representatives from each non-party entity spoke, affirming the CCP’s analysis of the economic situation and giving recommendations on subjects like improving technology markets, developing the healthcare industry, preventing risks in private enterprises, reforming pilot free-trade zones, advancing Belt and Road innovation cooperation, etc.
After the speeches from non-Party representatives, Xi Jinping gave a speech in which he praised and thanked the organizations for their work, and expressed three hopes for the second half of the year. The first was for everyone to “correctly understand the economic situation and strengthen confidence and determination.” The second was to “focus on the target tasks, making use of our advantages.” The third was to “properly deal with the difficult challenges on the road of development and take on responsibilities wholeheartedly and dutifully.”
CCDI and NSC Launch Investigation on Former China Development Bank Chairman and Party Committee Secretary
7.31 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission (NSC) website released a short statement announcing that former China Development Bank Chairman and Party Committee Secretary Hu Huaibang (胡怀邦) was placed under disciplinary and supervisory investigation for serious violations of disciplines and laws.
International Liaison Work
7.28 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with a French Communist Party (PCF) delegation led by PCF National Secretary Fabien Roussel.
7.28-7.30 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) traveled to Tehran, Iran.
On 28 July, Song met with Islamic Coalition Party Secretary General Asadollah Badamchian, Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Chairman Kamal Kharrazi, and Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Sadeq Larijani.
On 29 July, Song met with First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and Expediency Discernment Council General Secretary Mohsen Rezaee. He also conducted a joint inspection of Pardis Technology Park with Vice President Sorena Sattari.
On 30 July, Song met with Islamic Consultative Assembly Speaker Ali Larijani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif.
7.29 Guo Yezhou met with a French delegation led by National Assembly Vice President Carole Bureau-Bonnard.
7.30 Guo Yezhou met with an Italian Parliament “Friends of China” association study group led by Senate Budget Committee Vice President Mauro Maria Marino.
7.31 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with a British young politicians delegation led by Member of Parliament and Labour Party Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Andrew Gwynne.
7.31 Guo Yezhou met with a South African African National Congress (ANC) provincial-level cadre study group led by ANC National Executive Committee member and Head of ANC President Office Sibongile Besani.
8.1 Guo Yezhou met with a Burmese Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) cadre study group led by USDP Central Executive Committee member and former Minister of Defense Wai Lwin.
7.29 Tan Zhemin (谈哲敏) was appointed vice president of Nanjing University.
7.31 Zhu Bixin (朱碧新) was appointed chairman of China Chengtong Holdings Group and secretary of its Party committee.
8.1 Qiu Xiaoping (邱小平) was appointed a member of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce’s Party Leadership Group.