Several party bodies held meetings this week to begin the year, including the Politburo (see Senior Leaders), the CCDI (see Party Discipline), and the Central Military Commission’s Discipline Inspection Commission (see CMC).
Xi Jinping Presides Over Convening of the Politburo
1.16 The Politburo met to deliberate on reports from the Politburo Standing Committee on the work reports of the Central Secretariat and Party Groups of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, State Council, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, Supreme People’s Court, and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and a comprehensive report on the fourth round of the central inspection tour.
The meeting “fully affirmed [the above organs’] 2019 work and approved of their plans for 2020.” The meeting “emphasized that this year is the final year for obtaining victory in the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and the ‘13th Five-Year’ Plan.” The aforementioned organs should “from beginning to end remain highly unanimous with the Party Central Committee in ideology, politics, and action, persist in making ‘making progress while ensuring stability’ the keynote of their work, unswervingly implement new development concepts, closely and diligently fulfill their duties and take on responsibilities for the task of comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society, actively judge, guard against, and dispel all kinds of risks, and guarantee that the major policies and policy decisions of the Central Committee are carried out and implemented completely to the letter.”
The meeting also found that while inspection tours and increased supervision had been a clear success, “some prominent problems still exist,” and reforms and daily inspections must be strengthened. It emphasized the importance of inspection tours and Xi Jinping’s own participation in planning them, praising the effective results of inspection tours’ higher levels of standardization and systematization.
Xi Jinping’s Important Instructions on Political and Legal Work Emphasize, Strive to Raise the Modernization Level of Political and Legal Work, Build a Higher Level of Peace and Rule of Law in China
1.17 Xi Jinping recently put out instructions on political and legal work, which emphasized that political and legal bodies at every level must strengthen the “four consciousnesses,” resolutely uphold the “four self-confidences,” achieve the “two upholds,” carry forward the spirit of struggle, focus on advancing the comprehensively deepening reforms of the political and legal field, and increase the modernization of political and legal work.
Xi pointed out that in 2019, the political and legal front “achieved new results in fields such as defense of the nation’s political security, the dedicated struggle to crack down on crime and eliminate evil (扫黑除恶), comprehensive deepening reform of the political and legal fields, and protecting the people’s lives, property and security...2020 is the year to obtain victory in comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, and to fight the decisive battle against poverty.” He stressed the need to prioritize defending national political security, continue the struggle against crime, try hard to carry forward pilot projects in modernizing municipal social governance, and strive to build a China with an even higher level of peace and rule of law. He urged Party committees at every level to support all political and legal work units to carry out their duties according to the law, choose strong leading groups for political and legal organs, study and resolve system, mechanism, and policy problems restricting political and legal work, thoroughly carry out reorganization of political and legal cadre, and strive to build political and legal ranks that can be trusted and relied upon by the party and the people.
The Central Political and Legal Work Conference convened on 17 January. Politburo member, and Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Secretary Guo Shengkun (郭声琨) delivered Xi Jinping’s instructions.
Xi Jinping: Continue in Opening New Frontiers of Development in Modern Chinese Marxism Through Historical Materialism
1.15 In a speech first made to the Politburo in 2013 and reprinted this week in Qiushi, Xi Jinping praised the scientific accuracy and continuing relevance of Marxist philosophy, particularly dialectical materialism and historical materialism. He recalled the tradition of Marxist studies in China, praising Mao’s didactic writings from the Yan’an period as well as contemporary scholarship at the Central Party School. Citing a speech he made at the Central Party School in 2009 that in turn cited Chen Yun (陈云), he emphasized the centrality of Marxist classics to “unceasingly strengthening the principled, systematic, insightful, and creative” qualities of the Party’s work.
Xi credited the CCP’s political successes throughout history to its proper understanding and usage of historical materialism. He praised Mao for having the “correct attitude” towards Marxist-Leninism by advocating for its enthusiastic, popularized, in-depth study and arguing it “should not become seen as a dead dogma.” He summarized the relationship between Marxism and comprehensively deepening reform in the following points:
“Learn and grasp the analytical method for basic social contradictions, deeply and thoroughly understand the importance and urgency of comprehensively deepening reform.”
“Learn and understand the viewpoint that material production is the foundation of society and life, and accurately grasp its significant relationship to comprehensively deepening reforms.”
“Learn and understand the viewpoint that the masses are the creators of history, and closely rely upon them to drive reform.”
In conclusion, he reminded the Party of the massive responsibilities and challenges it bears and urged the whole Party to make study of Marxist classics central to their work, not as quotations to be memorized, but as practical guidance and a philosophical foundation.
The Qiushi Editorial Board further publicized the speech in a dedicated editorial.
United Front Work
CPPCC Convenes Consultation on Internet Policy
1.10 The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) convened a dialogue on Internet and data security, with participants calling in from provinces across China. The participants emphasized that while the Party places a high level of importance on the protection of personal information, existing laws and mechanisms have not been able to keep up with the developments of the internet age, and there are shortcomings in regulatory oversight, corporate accountability, and public awareness. Consequently, some participants proposed introducing laws to “clarify the concept of personal information [and the] applicable targets and rights [of data collection], to clarify the procedures for the gathering, handling, and use of personal information, and the regulations and relevant duties.” The meeting also proposed a crackdown on illegal data collection; greater oversight of facial recognition technology and data scraping; pressuring companies to take responsibility and “establish robust internal manage and control mechanisms;” raising the public’s awareness of security issues related to their personal information; and greater interdepartmental coordination, including through the establishment of an “integrated platform for supervision of personal information protection.”
Xi Jinping Greets the New Year with Non-Party Figures
1.14 On behalf of the Central Committee, Xi Jinping extended his New Year greetings to democratic parties, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, non-partisan representatives, and united front members in the Great Hall of the People.
The session started with Lu Jian (吕建)’s speech on behalf of the Central Committees of the Democratic Parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and other non-partisans. In his speech, he praised the Central Committee with Xi Jinping as its core for its achievements in 2019. Looking forward, Lu said he expects the united front to further unite around the Central Committee, thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to eventually achieve China’s rejuvenation.
Subsequently, Xi Jinping delivered a speech reviewing China’s 2019 accomplishments and laying out his expectations for 2020. First, Xi praised CCP-led multi-party cooperation and the political consultation system for succeeding to gather consensus, optimize decision-making, coordinate relations, and maintain stability. Second, Xi extended his thanks to all democratic parties for their active contribution to the country’s economic and social development. Specifically, he expressed his gratitude for their implementation of new development concept, promotion of high-quality development, and wise suggestions to the party. Finally, Xi recognized democratic parties’ contribution to poverty alleviation.
According to Xi, 2020 will be a decisive year in the fight against poverty and the end of the “13th Five-Year Plan.” Thus, he expected democratic parties, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and non-partisan figures to make new contributions to the modernization of the national governance system and to continue to be good counselors and colleagues of the CCP. Specifically, Xi emphasized the critical role of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce in promoting the healthy development of the private sector in line with the CCP’s ideology and political guidelines.
Xi Jinping’s Speech at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CCDI
1.13 Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) promoting the strict and effective governance of the CCP through enforcement of its discipline inspection system.
According to Xi Jinping, in order to implement the policy decisions of the Central Committee and achieve the establishment of a comprehensively prosperous society, party discipline organs must strengthen political supervision. Xi emphasized the importance for cadres to hold a “people-centered work orientation” in order to detach themselves from bureaucratic practices and collectively shape a culture of honesty and integrity. He urged for clearly understanding the seriousness of the battle against corruption.
Xi stressed the importance of further improving the discipline inspection and supervision system and integrating it into the national governance system. He stated that intra-party supervision should coordinate with the supervision over the National People’s Congress and executive and judicial organs, etc. The discipline inspection and supervision system should strengthen both daily and special inspections and incorporate their implementation into an assessment content ensuring direct accountability of relevant actors. He emphasized the efforts for strengthening the Party’s political construction, turning cadres into “loyal, clean, and responsible warriors that are adept at battle,” and set the example in strengthening self-supervision and self-restraint.
CCP Politburo Standing Committee member Zhao Leji (赵乐际) pointed out the speech’s role in providing an overview of the Party’s historical achievements, an important guide to a strict and comprehensive governance of the Party; in ensuring the continuous strengthening of the ‘four consciousnesses’ (四个意识), the ‘four confidences’ (四个自信), and the ‘two defends’ (两个维护).
Xi’s speech was further publicized in commentator article series appearing in People’s Daily (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and PLA Daily (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
Communique of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CCDI
1.15 133 CCDI members and 246 non-voting delegates attended the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CCDI in Beijing, which met from 13 to 15 January. Xi Jinping attended and delivered a major speech, with Li Keqiang (李克强), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Huning (王沪宁), CCDI Secretary Zhao Leji (赵乐际), and Han Zheng (韩正) also in attendance. In addition to Xi’s speech, the meeting reviewed the CCDI’s work during 2019 work and assigned tasks for the upcoming year.
Key guidelines for the attendees included the following: “continue to take the [Party’s] original aspiration and mission as the true meaning of politics and motivation to carry forward”; pay particular attention to corruption in the fight against poverty; continue to deepen reform of the discipline inspection and supervision system, better coordinate discipline and inspection programs while updating regulations on the rights of Party members; strengthen effective top-down supervision of Party organizations; consolidate and improve work style and practice with the help of supervision of the masses (群众监督) and public opinion supervision (舆论监督); create and reform communication systems between inspections and supervisions on different administrative levels and improve the effective reporting of findings.
In the anti-corruption campaign, the CCDI should construct systemic mechanisms to ensure officials “dare not, cannot, and do not want to be corrupt” to prevent damage to the Party’s policy goals and popular support, specifically strengthening anti-corruption efforts in finance, state-owned enterprises and the management of resources, land, planning, construction, and engineering projects. Finally, increase political training, professional specialization, and practical drills within the ranks of the CCDI, encouraging new methods that are more suited for the times while ensuring the discipline and loyalty of members.
Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission Discipline Inspection Commission Convenes in Beijing
1.17 The Discipline Inspection Commission of the Central Military Commission (CMC) convened in Beijing to discuss “resolutely implementing the requirement of comprehensively governing the Party strictly” and “providing a strong guarantee for advancing the cause of a strong army in the new era.” CMC Vice Chairman Zhang Youxia (张又侠) made a speech about advances in the army’s party building since the 18th Party Congress, saying the army has “persisted in listening to the Party’s command, advancing political training, deepening theoretical armament, striving to establish a strong organization, and vigorously promoting anti-corruption.” Today, he said, the military is “changed beyond recognition.”
He urged the CMC’s Discipline Inspection Commission to “strengthen regulations on policies and systems, build a scientific supervision system, improve innovation of models and methods, continue to do a good job in self-development, (and) comprehensively improve the quality and efficiency of supervision and discipline and law enforcement.”
International Liaison Work
1.13-1.15 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) led a CCP delegation to Vietnam.
On 14 January, Song met with Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Politburo member and CPV Secretariat Permanent Member Trần Quốc Vượng.
That same day, Song met with CPV Central Commission for External Affairs Head Hoàng Bình Quân.
1.15 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with International Conference of Asian Political Parties Secretary General Park Ro-byug.
1.15 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with Cuban Ambassador to China Carlos Miguel Pereira.
1.15 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with Kazakh Ambassador to China Gabit Koishibayev.
1.16 Song Tao and Qian Hongshan met with Swiss National Council President Isabelle Moret.
1.16 Song Tao and Li Jun met with Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza.
1.16 International Department Assistant Head Zhu Rui (朱锐) met with a Turkish delegation led by a Patriotic Party Central Executive Board member.
1.17 Qian Hongshan met with Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary of State for Eastern Policy and Asia Marcin Przydacz.
1.17 Mao Weiming (毛伟明) was appointed chairman of State Grid Corporation of China and secretary of its Party group.