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  • David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl

Weekly Report 3|14 1.18.2020-1.24.2020


Party media responded to Tsai Ing-wen’s “provocative” BBC interview with warnings not to “overestimate her strength” (see Propaganda Work section), while Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang oversaw the 2020 Taiwan Work Conference (see United Front section).

The Central Military Commission released a revised outline for the military’s grassroots construction and trial regulations for military supervision work (see CMC section).

Xi Jinping ordered a swift and transparent response to the coronavirus, as did Politburo member Sun Chunlan on an inspection of Wuhan (see Senior Leaders).


Senior Leaders

Xi Jinping Gives Important Instructions on the Coronavirus

1.20 Xinhua reported that by 6pm on 20 January, the new coronavirus epidemic had already affected 217 people, of whom 198 lived in Wuhan, Hubei. According to Xinhua, Xi Jinping gave strict instructions to Party committees, governments, and relevant departments to take effective measures to prevent and control the development of the epidemic, lead public opinion, and ensure a safe Spring Festival. According to Xi, the government must strive to identify the cause of viral infection, strengthen monitoring of the confirmed cases, and standardize the treatment process. In addition, it is crucial to release information on the epidemic in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation.

Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the importance of “early detection, early reporting, early isolation, early treatment, and centralized treatment measures.” Specifically, he said it was critical to “scientifically disseminate information on epidemic protection, coordinate with the World Health Organization, relevant countries and Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions well in order to form a joint force, and hastily prevent the spread of the epidemic.”

Following these instructions, the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism held a video conference on 20 January to discuss the prevention and control of the epidemic. The National Health Commission set up a leading group to guide local governments in their epidemic responses. In addition, the Commission urged that Hubei province and other relevant regions to take on responsibility and take practical and effective measures to prevent and control the epidemic.

On Inspection Tour of Qinghai, Li Keqiang Emphasizes Doing the Work on Safeguarding and Improving People’s Livelihood Well, Working Hard to Make Life Better for the Masses of All Ethnicities

1.21-1.22 Premier Li Keqiang conducted an inspection tour of Xining, Qinghai with Qinghai Province Party Secretary Wang Jianjun (王建军) and Governor Liu Ning (刘宁).

While inspecting a market in order to understand meat prices and give New Year’s greetings to vendors and shoppers, he stated that stable prices and sufficient supply must be ensured for the New Year’s festivities and that everyone should be able to enjoy beef, mutton, or pork. Meeting with Han and Tibetan workers in Heicheng village who rely on temporary work in Xining for their income, Li said that temporary work is an important channel through which to promote the rise of rural people from poverty, the West must promote “new type” urbanization, and that by using urban centers as a source of income growth and job opportunities for migrants, more rural residents can leave poverty behind and become prosperous.

Li inspected the site of a recent pavement collapse in Xining that injured residents and urged local authorities to “earnestly inspect and fix the potential safety hazards of public infrastructure.” He said that urban infrastructure cannot merely be good on the “surface” but must also have good “substance.” Meeting with the head of a local hospital about the new coronavirus, Li pointed out the issue of workers returning home in crowded transport for the holidays, urging effective, vigilant, and thorough measures encompassing the surrounding region and a transparent, public response. Finally, visiting a district of old and outdated housing, Li discussed social services, household amenities, and plans for transforming the district with residents. He stressed that the Party will improve housing, social services, and other elements of the people’s living conditions amidst development.

Sun Chunlan Inspects Wuhan Epidemic Control and Prevention Inspection Work and Stresses: Fulfill Responsibilities, Rigorous Implementation, Firmly Containing the Spread of the Epidemic

1.22 In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Politburo member and State Council vice premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) conducted an inspection tour of Wuhan. After touring the Wuhan airport and discussing the disease with experts at the Hebei provincial center for disease control, Sun issued a call for officials to redouble their efforts: “The prevention and control of the Wuhan epidemic situation affects the overall epidemic and control situation; the current spread of the epidemic still has not been intercepted. Government and party officials at all levels of Hebei Province and Wuhan City must carry out their responsibilities, assume [new] roles, concentrate their energy on carrying out the strictest prevention and control measures, optimize and increase the efficiency of prevention and control, [and] firmly prevent the spread of the epidemic to other areas.” Sun also admonished officials not to be careless and called for the concentration of medical resources and personnel to deal with the problem, among related measures.


Propaganda Work

In Provoking the Mainland, Tsai Ing-wen Truly Misjudges Her Strength

1.17 In a column responding to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 14 January interview with the BBC, the People’s Daily Overseas Edition criticized her “provocative” “undisguised ‘pro-Taiwan-independence’ remarks” just after Taiwan’s election, claiming that her interview had “set off intense worries and condemnation in public opinion on the island.” The column accused Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of dashing the hopes of “some observers on the island” by not only refusing to “keep a low profile while benefiting,” but even making the “extremely headstrong choice” to set off cross-Strait tensions and put Taiwan in danger. It argued that intentional cross-Strait antagonism is a typical DDP strategy for winning elections in Taiwan, but Tsai’s remarks after her victory could only be explained as like the folkloric wolf who “only gets more savage after his wishes are met” (子是中山狼,得志便猖狂). It suggested that Tsai is dangerously “self-inflated” from her win and now “dares to say any ravings.” Having won the election by playing on hate and fear, she will “continue battering away” in the belief that it will secure the DPP’s position, a “very dangerous line of thinking and serious misjudgement of the situation.”

According to the article, the election results can be attributed to a “strong irrational element” among the electorate, which was “perhaps briefly controlled by fear and hatred, but once passions subside, everyone wishes for a candidate who can bring them peace and stability.” Not only do DPP voters only represent a fraction of Taiwan’s total population, even those who voted for Tsai “didn’t vote for ‘Taiwan independence,’ upheaval, and war,” and the people of Taiwan will be unwilling to “get dragged onto the tank of ‘Taiwanese independence’ and go with [Tsai] into the abyss.” The column accused Tsai of being the major source of cross-Strait conflict over the past three years by attacking the Mainland’s political system and Taiwan policies, seeking “soft” and “cultural” Taiwanese independence, rejecting the “1992 Consensus,” and encouraging hostility between the compatriots on the two sides of the Strait. Tsai’s “anxious rush to sign the Anti-Infiltration Act” and persecute the Kuomintang (KMT), demonstrated that the DPP will “stick to a more extremist, radical course” for Tsai’s second term. Emphasizing the sacred integrity of Chinese territory and the impossibility of separating Taiwan from the Mainland, the article concluded that anyone attempting Taiwanese independence will end up in a complete defeat and fall from grace. Despite her claims to the contrary, Tsai is consistently pro-independence. By “trying to sound out the Mainland’s bottom line,” she is dangerously “playing with fire. And those who play with fire must get burned--do not say you were not forewarned!”


United Front Work

Wang Yang Attends 2020 Work Conference on Taiwan in Beijing

1.19 During the 2020 Work Conference Taiwan, Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) delivered a speech. According to Wang, the situation in the Taiwan Strait will get increasingly “complicated and grim” in 2020. As such, Wang urged the attendants of the meeting to continue to “adhere to the One-China Principle and firmly oppose and curb any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities.” Additionally, he stressed the need to improve the effectiveness of institutional arrangements to promote bilateral exchanges, deepen bilateral integration and development, and ensure the welfare of Taiwanese compatriots.

Wang Yang Attends a National Spring Festival Meeting for Religious Personnel

1.21 Wang Yang attended a Spring Festival symposium for heads of China’s official religious organizations. On behalf of the Central Committee and Xi Jinping, Wang extended New Year blessings to religious figures and masses from all over the country.

Wang emphasized that all religious groups must thoroughly study Xi Jinping’s important speeches on religious work, fully implement the party’s policies on religious work and the revised “Religious Affairs Regulations,” and adapt to the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. According to him, all religious groups ought to adhere to the sinicization of religion and strengthen the study of religious classics that are conducive to social harmony and to a flourishing and healthy civilization. In addition, religious groups should lead their followers to increase productivity, improve livelihoods, and work hard. Wang urged them to improve their internal management and self-management, strengthen the cultivation of religious talents, and maintain religious harmony.

According to Wang, religious groups are key actors in connecting the Party and the government to religious figures and people. He affirmed that the CCP and Chinese government will always value its cooperation with religious people, support their work, and safeguard their legal rights and interests. Wang instructed relevant departments in all regions to enhance communication with religious groups and assist them in solving practical difficulties.


Central Military Commission

CMC Releases Revised “Outline for Military Grassroots Construction”

1.18 The Central Military Commission (CMC) recently issued a revised “Outline for Military Grassroots Construction,” which will be implemented on 1 February, 2020. The revised outline focused on strengthening the military in the new era and aligning its strategic principles with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Specifically, it aimed at forging a solid base that is capable of winning battles, and “listens to the Party (and) follows the Party.”

According to the outline, grassroots party and military organizations must integrate their work on combat readiness, military training, ideological and political work, and daily management, and promote innovative reforms. The CMC requires that all parties implement the revised outline to promote the development of grassroots units and to provide a solid foundation for advancing the cause of a strong military.

CMC Chairman Xi Jinping Signs Order to Issue Trial Military Supervision Work Regulations

1.20 Xi Jinping, in his capacity as chairman of the CMC, signed an order to issue a trial version of “Military Supervision Work Regulations,” set to take effect on 1 February. The Regulations are intended to “thoroughly implement Xi Jinping’s Thoughts on a Strong Military (习近平强军思想), comprehensively implement the CMC Chairman’s responsibility system, and strive to construct an all-encompassing military supervision system with a unified leadership and effective authority.”

The Regulations’ 10 chapters and 62 articles cover the setup of the supervisory committee; the scope and jurisdiction of supervision; the coordination of inspection, investigation, handling of cases; and other aspects of supervisory work. They stress that military supervision work must adhere to standards of combat effectiveness and serve war preparedness; use facts as a basis and the law as a yardstick; unite authority and responsibility and investigate breaches of responsibility; deal with violations early to prevent more serious problems in the future; and construct long-term mechanisms in which people “do not dare to be corrupt, cannot be corrupt, and do not want to be corrupt.”


International Liaison Work

1.19 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov.

1.21 Qian Hongshan met with Lithuanian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Neris Germanas.


Organization Work

1.18 Zhang Ke (章轲) was appointed head auditor of the National Audit Office.

1.18 Meng Dong (孟冬) was appointed deputy head of the National Radio and Television Administration.

1.20 Bai Tao (白涛) was appointed chairman of State Development & Investment Corporation and secretary of its party group.

1.21 Dai Houliang (戴厚良) was appointed chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation and secretary of its party group.

1.21 Zhang Yuzhuo (张玉卓) was appointed chairman of China Petrochemical Corporation and secretary of its party group.

1.21 Kou Wei (寇伟) was appointed general manager of China Datang Corporation.

1.21 Ye Xiangdong (叶向东) was appointed general manager of China Huadian Corporation.

1.21 Li Zhengmao (李正茂) was appointed general manager of China Telecommunications Corporation.

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