The Central Economic Work Conference was held in Beijing (see Senior Leaders section).
The National Religious Organizations Joint Conference was also held this week (see Senior Leaders section).
Xi Jinping made widely publicized remarks about retired military cadres (see Central Military Commission section).
Central Economic Work Conference Held in Beijing; Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang Give Important Speeches; Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng Attend
12.10-12.12 The Central Economic Work Conference was held from 10 to 12 December in Beijing. Xi Jinping attended the conference and offered a summary of the economic work in 2019 and an analysis of both the current economic situation and future economic activity in 2020, while Li Keqiang discussed the specifics of next year’s work on the economy.
After praising the Party for “implementing the Party Central Committee’s policy decisions and deployments, insisting on the overall tone of making progress while ensuring stability, insisting on taking supply-side structural reform as the main theme, and promoting high-quality development” in 2019, the conference set several key goals for economic policy in 2020. First, the meeting advocated “unswerving implementation of the new development ideology.” It stressed that, in order to develop in this new era, it is necessary to “unswervingly implement the new development ideology of innovation, coordination, greening, opening, and sharing [the benefits], and to promote high-quality development. Second, it emphasized “determinedly waging the ‘three tough battles’” (against poverty, pollution, and economic instability). Third, it emphasized “ensuring that the people’s livelihood, especially the basic livelihood of the masses in straitened circumstances, is effectively guaranteed and improved.” Fourth, it called for “continuing to implement an energetic fiscal policy and a stable and steady monetary policy.” Fifth, it called for “striving hard to push for high-quality development.” Finally, it called for “deepening economic system reform.”
The conference also called for “improving and strengthening the ‘six stable’ (六稳) actions,” “relying on reform to optimize the business environment,” and “drawing up and implementing a three-year action plan for state enterprise reform,” which would include “optimizing the environment for privately-run economic development,” among myriad other measures.
Continuing People’s Daily Commentator Series on Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019
12.7-12.8 People’s Daily continued a series of Commentator Articles condemning the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, passed unanimously by the Senate in September, and further revised by the House as the UIGHUR Act on 3 December.
The 7 December article, “Resolutely Safeguard Long-Term Stability and Peace in Xinjiang,” decried the “deliberate slander of the state of human rights in China’s Xinjiang, [and] the wanton smearing of China’s efforts in counter-extremism and the crackdown on terrorism,” which “fully expose the US side’s sinister intentions to meddle in the internal affairs of China.” The article continued by arguing that the Chinese government and people themselves are the most qualified to speak to the conditions of governance and of the people in Xinjiang, and given the massive economic growth the Uyghur Autonomous Region has seen, with “an 80-fold increase in total economic [activity] since the establishment of the Uyghur Autonomous Region 64 years ago, and nearly three million lifted from poverty since 2014,” it is safe to say things are going quite well; Chinese policy in Xinjiang has “guaranteed people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang their right to life, health, and development.” The protection of such rights, it furthers, is “a fundamental concept and basic mission of any responsible government in the world,” and are threatened by extremism and terrorism. “The US side is playing the ‘Xinjiang card’ in complete disregard of facts and reality, and under the pretense of upholding human rights, is actually wrecking Xinjiang’s stability and containing China’s development,” the article concludes.
The subsequent 8 December article was published on the front page, entitled “The Pretense of ‘Human Rights’ Cannot Conceal Sinister Intentions.” After recounting much of the arguments covered the day previously about economic growth and the American desire to contain China, the piece moves on to describe the reasoning behind the education and training centers in somewhat more detail: “People of all ethnicities faced grave disaster for a period of time in which violent terrorist incidents occurred with great frequency, [and thus] a series of preventative anti-terrorism and counter-extremism measures were carried out in Xinjiang in accordance with law, so as to safeguard the safety and human rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.” Indeed, the People’s Daily argued that these measures have been implemented to great effect, drastically improving safety in the region, as evidenced by the fact that no terrorist attack has occurred in three years. The final sentence of the article admonishes the US for its interference in Xinjiang: “We advise the US side to abandon [their] Cold War mentality, to keep from straying further down the road of hegemony, to retract their black [i.e. sinister] hands from China’s internal affairs, and end this embarrassing farce!”
Zhong Sheng: Rationality Is the Foundation for Safeguarding China-US Relations
12.9 People’s Daily published an article under the Zhong Sheng pen name, which authoritatively transmits the opinions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, offering its view of the current state of relations between China and the US, drawing on quotes from McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Emeritus Peter B. Walker’s book, Powerful, Different, Equal: Overcoming the Misconceptions and Differences between China and the US.
The article emphasizes the importance for continued exchange and understanding, particularly so as to ameliorate damaging consequences resulting from the lack of knowledge and bias that some Americans display toward China. The article praises Walker’s book for its analysis and breakdown of stereotyped portrayals of China in Western media. The article goes on to explain that China’s path to development is different from Western counterparts, determined by historical and cultural traditions such as ‘harmony in diversity’ (和而不同) and ‘the world as one community’ (天下为公). It additionally quotes George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations chairman Neil Bush: “I firmly believe that not every country can govern according to the same system. Circumstances differ in every country.” (It is unclear from where this quote was taken.)
The piece goes on to encourage Americans to deepen their understanding of China and its unique conditions, so that relations can proceed on a rational basis. The essay concludes: “Without a doubt, any fantasy attempting to contain the development of China, or even change the path of development China [follows], will be shattered. But those who make their decisions on a rational basis will understand the necessity of adapting to the greater trend of mutual development and win-win cooperation.”
People’s Daily Editorial: Resolutely Seize the Great Victory of Comprehensively Establishing a Moderately Prosperous Society
12.13 A People’s Daily editorial discussed the near-term prospects and policy targets of the Chinese economy. After restating many of the recently-concluded Central Economic Work Conference’s assessments on China’s economic performance in 2019 (“facing a complex situation with the obvious rise of foreign and domestic risks and challenges, the whole party and country from top to bottom implemented the Party central committee’s strategic decisions and deployments, insisted on the main tone of working to make progress while ensuring stability, insisted on taking supply-side structural reform as the main theme, promoted high-quality development,” and so on), the article laid out several goals for economic performance in 2020.
Pointing out that “next year is the final year for the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and the ‘thirteenth five-year’ plan,” the article called for taking Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guide and implementing the spirits of the 19th Party Congress and the Second, Third, and Fourth Plenums of the 19th Central Committee in order to “lay a good foundation for ‘14-5’ development and the realization of the second centenary goal.” Pointing out the great strength of the economy since the beginning of the reform and open up era, the article declared that “in the present and future period, the basic national economic trend of [moving] stably and in a positive long-term direction is unchanged.” The article then reiterated that “the mission of realizing the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and the ‘13-5’ plan targets is of the utmost importance for next year’s whole-of-party work” and repeated many of the goals outlined in the Central Economic Work Conference, including “unswervingly implementing the new development ideology of innovation, coordination, greenification, opening, and sharing [in the benefits],” “resolutely waging the three tough battles,” improving the basic livelihood of those most in need, adopting a stable monetary policy, and so on.
United Front Work
The 11th National Religious Organizations Joint Conference Held in Beijing
United Front Work Department
12.12 The 11th National Religious Organization Joint Conference was held in Beijing under the agenda of “telling a good Chinese religion story.” Representatives from the official Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, and Catholic organizations attended the conference. The conference reportedly accused “some forces” of being unwilling to see China’s development and “labeling China as a ‘religious persecutor’” to impede China’s rise and undermine the existing religious harmony in China. On the subject of whether China’s religious policy is good or bad, “the Chinese people have the most right to speak (最有发言权).” “Facing such a complicated situation, remaining confident and calm is the most important thing, and not only doing well, but also speaking well. Telling a good Chinese religion story is not just for the sake of good storytelling; it is to disseminate ideas to make the people of the world understand and accept.” The conference posited that the theory and practice of China’s religious policies could provide an example to the rest of the world of how to handle religious relations.
“Skynet 2019” Operation Successfully Repatriated 1,634 Fugitives and Recovered 2.9 Billion Yuan from January to October
China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Newspaper
12.9 The Fugitive Repatriation and Asset Recovery Office of the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group (中央反腐败协调小组国际追逃追赃工作办公室) announced that 1,634 fugitives had been repatriated and around 2.954 billion yuan had been recovered from January to October 2019. It noted that the NSC had led a special operation focusing on repatriating fugitives and recovering assets related to duty-related crimes and conducted an overseas operation to apprehend fugitives for the first time.
36 Leading Cadres in Financial Institutions Put Under Investigation for Corruption This Year
12.9 Legal Daily reported that 36 leading cadres in the financial institutions were put under investigation for corruption this year with the recently announced investigation on former head and Party Secretary of China CITIC Bank Harbin branch Yu Chengxin (于成信). The article pointed out that the frequency of investigation of leading cadres in the financial industry has increased since this May, demonstrating “the Central Committee’s firm resolve in punishing corruption in the financial industry.”
China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Co., Ltd. Party Committee Member and Deputy General Manager Yang Qi Accepts Disciplinary Review and Supervisory Investigation
CCDI & NSC
12.11 The CCDI and NSC published a short notice of an investigation into Yang Qi (杨奇), who spent over a decade at the China National Gold Group Corporation prior to joining the China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group in September 2019. The investigation is being coordinated with the provincial commissions for discipline inspection and supervision of Hebei.
Central Military Commission
Xi Jinping Issues Important Directives on Retired Military Cadre Work
12.9 Xinhua reported that Xi Jinping had made important comments on retired military cadre work at a teleconference on the subject. After expressing his gratitude for the retired cadres (“retired military cadres made important contributions to the cause of Party-led revolution, construction, and reform; the Party and the people will never forget”), Xi called on “party committees and administrative organs at all levels and those who engage in retired military cadre work” to “advocate for the Chinese people’s traditional virtue,” “respect and love the elderly, wholeheartedly serve, and unceasingly promote the innovative development of retired military cadre work.”
Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Zhang Youxia (张又侠) also attended the teleconference. After praising and summarizing Xi’s directives, Zhang issued general calls for “resolving the problem of real contradictions, ensuring improved circumstances, and improving the policy system to increase retired military cadres’ sense of happiness and gain” and “accelerating the construction of a new kind of service guarantee system.”
PLA Daily Commentator: Continuously Promote Innovation and Development in Veteran Military Cadres Work
12.10 The PLA Daily carried a front page commentator article expounding on Xi Jinping’s remarks on veteran cadres. “Our Party and military have always highly valued veteran cadre work, and has had the good tradition of respect and love for the aged [veterans],” the piece proclaimed. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, “military veteran cadre work is entering the New Era at key period of transformative development, and must further adapt to new circumstances, innovate veteran cadre service management models, and strive to establish a new phase of new era’s veteran cadre work.” Beyond the imperatives including “solving actual contradictions” and “continuously increasing retired cadres’ senses of fortune and gain,” no concrete details were given as to what such adaptation might entail.
Military Discipline and Inspection Organs Promote Studying Regulations to Adapt to the Needs of Supervisory Institutional Reform
12.12 PLA Daily reported that the second round of training for military discipline inspection and supervision cadres on two party regulations regarding discipline inspection and law enforcement work had begun. During the first round, the cadres reportedly studied new regulations, familiarized themselves with the duty and procedure, and heightened the awareness of exercising power in accordance with regulations and law.
It also released a related commentary titled “earnestly improve the level of rule of law in military discipline inspection and supervision work.” It called on military discipline inspection and supervision cadres to clearly recognize their missions and political responsibilities, demonstrate commitment to party principles, and fulfill the missions of supervising, enforcing discipline, increasing accountability, and conducting investigations.
International Liaison Work
12.5-12.8 At the invitation of the Philippine Democratic Party–People’s Power (PDP–Laban), Beijing Municipal Committee Standing Committee member Wang Ning (王宁) led a Spirit of the Fourth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee Foreign Propaganda Group to the Philippines. While there, the group met with leaders from the major political parties in the ruling coalition, including House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
12.9 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with a Dominican United Left Movement (MIU) delegation led by MIU General Secretary Miguel Mejía.
12.10 Li Jun met with the fourth United Socialist Party of Venezuela cadre seminar led by Constituent National Assembly Undersecretary Carolys Pérez.
12.10 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with Portuguese Communist Party Central Committee Secretariat member Alexandre Araújo.
12.12 Qian Hongshan met with Bulgarian Ambassador to China Grigor Porozhanov.
12.13 Li Jun met with a Panamanian Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) cadre study group led by the PRD National Secretary for International Relations.
12.9 Yu Hongqiu (喻红秋) was appointed council director of the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives.
12.10 Pu Yufei (蒲宇飞) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervision Commission’s discipline inspection and supervision group at the Ministry of Emergency Management.
12.11 Hu Jianhua (胡建华) was appointed general manager of China Merchants Group.
12.12 Qu Wenqian (屈文谦) was appointed deputy secretary of Wuhan University’s Party committee.
12.12 Mei Bing (梅兵) was appointed secretary of East China Normal University’s Party committee.
12.13 Lu Zhipeng (陆志鹏) was appointed deputy general manager of China Electronics Corporation.