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

Weekly Report 2|40 8.3.2019-8.9.2019

[Xinhua: "Hong Kong residents gather to express reverence to the national emblem, flag."]


Xinhua hinted that the annual Beidaihe meeting is underway with a report that Politburo members Chen Xi and Sun Chunlan visited a group of “vacationing experts” in the resort town (see Senior Leaders section).

Propaganda on US-China trade emphasized China’s willingness to engage in a long fight (see Propaganda Work section).

Official media issued stern messages regarding the Hong Kong protests, saying the demonstrations had taken on the qualities of a “color revolution” and warning that the Chinese government would not “sit idly by” (see Propaganda Work section).


Senior Leaders

Chen Xi and Sun Chunlan Visit Vacationing Experts in Beidaihe Xinhua

8.3 Xinhua reported that Politburo member and Central Organization Department Head Chen Xi (陈希) and Politburo member and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) visited a group of 58 vacationing experts in Beidaihe (北戴河). The report on Chen and Sun’s visit is a hint that the secretive annual Beidaihe meeting in which senior officials meet to discuss personnel and policy is underway.

Chen praised the experts for “making outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation, social progress, and the people’s happiness in our country.” He also called on them to “vigorously promote a spirit of innovation that dares to climb to the peak of science and technology first, vigorously promote a spirit of pragmatism that pursues truth and rigorous scholarship, and serve as model leaders of patriotic struggle and hard-working pioneers of reform and innovation.”

Notice Requiring Democratic Life Meetings for the “Remain True to the Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” Education Campaign

8.8 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Central Organization Department, and “Stay True to the Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” Education Campaign Leading Small Group jointly issued a notice requiring all party units and departments in all regions to hold democratic life meetings (民主生活会)--periodic meetings in which CCP cadres engage in criticism and self-criticism--on the education campaign.

These democratic life meetings are intended to implement a “political check-up” in order to test the effectiveness of the education campaign. The notice reminded cadres that “in a democratic life meeting, we must uphold the truth, correct mistakes, seriously carry out criticism and self-criticism, [and] carry out rectification with the spirit of hammering nails…”

The notice emphasized that senior leaders should not consider themselves bystanders in the democratic life meetings. Rather, the secretary of the party committee or leadership group should be the first person responsible for conducting the meetings, and should “personally grasp” and “conscientiously organize” the meetings.


Propaganda Work

Zhong Sheng: The “Big Stick” of Tariffs is Contrary to Public Opinion, and Will Not Solve the Problem People’s Daily

8.3 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng (钟声) article criticizing the US decision to levy a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, a move it said violates the bilateral consensus reached in Osaka, and is not conducive to solving the problem. The article said that China has in fact been complying with US demands to increase purchases of US agricultural products and restrict fentanyl exports to the US, noting recent purchases of large quantities of soybeans, pork and sorghum, and a crackdown on illegal fentanyl smuggling, a problem that it said is ultimately caused by US domestic issues.

The article urged the US to “correct its mistakes,” and said “China’s attitude is clear: trade wars have no winner,” and China “does not want to fight, [but it] is not afraid to fight, and will be forced to fight if necessary.”

Zhong Sheng Series on the “Treachery of Some Americans”

People’s Daily

8.4-8.8 People's Daily launched a new Zhong Sheng series on the US-China trade war. Each article focused on criticizing “the treachery of some Americans” (美国一些人的背信弃义).

The first article stated that the US intention to put a 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on 1 September had “severely violated the consensus reached by the Chinese and American heads of state in Osaka and created severe difficulties for China-US trade talks.” It concluded that “without a doubt, keeping promises and abiding by consensus is not only advantageous to national development and the welfare of the people in both China and the US but also advantageous to the steady growth of the world economy.”

The second article argued that US pressure on the World Trade Organization to change how it designates developing countries has caused “the international community to universally worry: Could it be possible that some Americans want to provoke a ‘global trade war?’” It accused these individuals of “making a fuss about so-called fairness and justice” without “caring about what fairness and justice are” and “thinking that preserving the US’ number one status is a key task that surpasses everything else.”

The third article charged “some Americans under the spell of ‘America First’” of having “made overdrafts on the US’ international credit, wantonly damaged the rules-based international order, and affected the overall situation of world economic cooperation.” After noting that “countries without trust are inevitably isolated,” it stated that the roots of “irresponsibility” of these individuals “lay in their irreverence toward what is right and contempt for good faith” and urged them to “wake up!”

The fourth article accused some Americans of “‘selective’ ignorance” regarding the state of China’s economy, its role in the illicit fentanyl trade and South China Sea, and the threat it poses to the US before asserting that “the cheap tricks of making trouble out of nothing and fanning the flames of disorder can neither change nor undermine the truth.” It advised these individuals to “not overestimate their ability to use their absurd logic to create disruptions and not wallow in the illusion of having the world under their complete control.”

The fifth article argued that the US policy of “extreme pressure” will inevitably fail. It said the various “twists and turns” of US-China trade negotiations in the past year all stemmed from the US “violating consensus, going back on its word, and not being sincere.” It asserted that China has never succumbed to external pressure and warned that if the US imposes extra tariffs, China will have no choice but to take countermeasures to defend its interests and the US must “bear all responsibility for the consequences.” It also accused the US of selfishly ignoring the interests and views of its own people and of other countries, and said “extreme pressure” was rooted in “hegemonic thinking” and “the law of the jungle.”

PD Commentator: Resolutely Support the Hong Kong Police in Strictly Enforcing the Law to End Violence

8.5 In response to escalating protests in Hong Kong, People’s Daily published a commentator article arguing that the Hong Kong government’s “top priority is to resolutely support the police in strictly enforcing the law to end violence, restore social stability as soon as possible, and protect Hong Kong’s rule of law.” The article said that the Hong Kong opposition and “violent extremists” have deliberately instigated violence in Hong Kong and have “already completely exceeded the category of peaceful demonstration.”

It pointed out that the demonstrations have intensified even though the extradition bill that sparked them has been halted, and argued that the “violent extremists” must therefore be aiming to cause chaos in Hong Kong and to destroy “One Country, Two Systems.” It accused them of using legal, peaceful protest as a cover for a range of extreme activities, including blockading the Hong Kong Liaison Office, defiling the national emblem and national flag, besieging a police station, assaulting police officers, shouting pro-independence slogans, inciting anti-police sentiment, and doxxing family members of police officers.

The article then emphasized that the violence had seriously threatened Hong Kong’s public safety, rule of law, social order, economic livelihood, and international image, and called on all Hong Kong people to stand with police against violence.

PD Commentator: Resolutely Support the Chief Executive in Leading the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Lawful Administration

8.6 People’s Daily published a commentator article in support of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s (林郑月娥) administration. It said that “rule of law is a core value that Hong Kongers are intensely proud of, the basis of Hong Kong’s good business environment, and a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.” It declared that a “small group of people cannot be allowed to trample it unscrupulously.” Noting various incidents of vandalism, violence and disruptive behavior by Hong Kong protestors, the article said “any civilized and law-abiding society would not tolerate” such “evil conduct,” and expressed the Chinese central government’s resolute support for Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong police, and relevant HK government departments and judicial bodies in administering and enforcing the law and punishing “violent criminals.”

Wu Yuehe: Cannot Do Without Fairness

8.6 People’s Daily’s Wu Yuehe (五月荷) byline, which is being used to address the US-China trade conflict, declared that “it is not surprising in the least” that Chinese companies have recently decided to cease purchasing US agricultural goods. It stressed that “China-US trade frictions are escalating because of retrogressive actions by the US” and that China’s stance has always been that it “does not want to fight, [but] is not afraid to fight, and, when necessary, will be forced to fight.”

By imposing new tariffs, the article stated that the US had damaged its reputation, lost face, and suffered economic losses. It concluded that “the US must not have any delusions. Those who break faith and abandon right cannot but pay a price… China’s decision to suspend purchases is a rational response to an irrational American action. Problems can only be resolved on the basis of equality and mutual respect. This is the only proper way forward.”

PD Commentator: The Bottom Line of “One Country, Two Systems” Cannot Be Challenged

8.7 People’s Daily put out a commentator article in defense of the “One Country, Two Systems” model, which it said has been under attack recently by “some radicals” in Hong Kong. The article said the model was the optimal solution to resolve the issues of the Hong Kong handover, which preserved Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, ensured its economic freedom, guaranteed unprecedented democratic rights and widespread freedom for the Hong Kong people, and made Hong Kong among the top-ranked places for rule of law. It stressed that “One Country” was an essential part of the “complete concept,” and emphasized three “bottom lines that cannot be touched:” absolutely not permitting any harm to national sovereignty and security; absolutely not permitting challenges to central or HKSAR Basic Law authority; absolutely not permitting using Hong Kong to infiltrate the mainland.”

PD Commentator: Loving the Country, Loving Hong Kong is Mainstream in Hong Kong Society

8.8 People’s Daily put out a commentator article to refute the Hong Kong “opposition faction’s habitual technique” of appealing to public opinion. It said that protesters have “misled and coerced kindhearted Hong Kongers, falsely claimed to represent the residents, and wantonly challenged the bottom line of the rule of law.” It further accused them of disrupting regular people’s daily lives and of “contaminating the national emblem, dishonoring the flag, agitating for ‘Hong Kong independence,’ openly insulting national dignity, and seriously challenging the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ bottom line.” This is “violent behavior” that “cannot represent Hong Kong public opinion,” and has aroused “widespread public discontent and anger.”

The article noted that the slogan “all Chinese people are the flag’s protectors” (中国人民都是护旗手) had gone viral online, which it said showed people from all over the country were standing with patriotic people that love HK. It also noted, however, that the anti-extradition bill protests have taken on the qualities of a “color revolution,” and warned that if the situation further deteriorates, China’s central government would not be able to “sit idly by.”


Party Discipline

Resignation of Corrupt Officials Does Not Mean A “Safe Landing”

8.6 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission (NSC)’s website released an article on a recent announcement by the Hangzhou CCDI and NSC organs. The announcement stated that former Lin’an (临安) City Standing Committee Member and Deputy Mayor Hu Hong (胡竑) was placed under “supervisory investigation” (监察调查) by the Hangzhou Municipal Supervision Commission on suspicion of “serious violations of the law.” (Lin’an is a county-level city in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.)

The article explained that because Hu resigned from office in 2012 and now works at a private company, Hangzhou’s discipline inspection organ will not conduct a disciplinary investigation (纪律审查). Instead, it will send the final results of its supervisory investigation to the relevant party body for his party punishment. It clarified that although officials under investigation who resigned before the completion of their investigation could no longer be subjected to disciplinary action, supervisory bodies could still file a case for investigation (立案调查). At the same time, the law permits supervisory bodies to subject bribery suspects cases to liuzhi (留置), a form of detention used for disciplining officials. Finally, it affirmed that Hu Hong would still face strict punishment. After the investigation concludes, he will be expelled from the Party and his case will be transferred to the People’s Procuratorate for prosecution.


International Liaison Work

8.9 International Department Deputy Head Wang Yajun (王亚军) met with Lao Ambassador to China Vandy Bouthasavong.

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