- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl
Weekly Report 3|21 3.7.2020-3.13.2020
Xi Jinping visited Wuhan to inspect epidemic prevention and control work, projecting a sense of confidence that the situation was under control while continuing to demand officials' treat the virus as their top priority (see Senior Leaders section).
While propaganda work continued to focus on the coronavirus this week, official outlets reintroduced a secondary focus on poverty alleviation work, which has been singled out as the main hurdle toward achieving the Party’s first centenary goals by the end of this year (see Propaganda Work section).
Xi Jinping Inspects Novel Coronavirus Epidemic Prevention and Control Work in Hubei
3.10 Xi Jinping traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province to inspect the epidemic prevention and control work in the city. During his visit, Xi emphasized that although the situation had improved in Wuhan and Hubei, the tasks of preventing and controlling the spread of the epidemic remained “difficult and arduous” and called for treating epidemic prevention and control as the “most important work” at present.
Xi first visited the Huoshenshan (火神山) Hospital in Wuhan with Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰), Hubei Party Secretary Ying Yong (应勇), and Wuhan Party Secretary Wang Zhonglin (王忠林). While there, he urged the “relevant departments” to secure the provision of supplies and create policies for improving medical workers’ welfare. Xi also visited a local community and held a meeting. During the meeting, he stressed that “Party organizations at all levels and all Party members and cadres” must “thoroughly carry out the Party Central Committee’s strategic plans on the ground.” He also highlighted several important tasks, including prioritizing the treatment of patients, strengthening preventive measures, ensuring the provision of food and necessities, resuming work based on the epidemic situation, doing poverty-alleviation tasks well, and firmly opposing formalism and bureaucratism.
PD Commentator: Caring for Community Workers Must Be Implemented in Every Detail
3.7 People’s Daily published a front-page commentator article praising community workers for their contributions to frontline epidemic prevention and control and urging the implementation of Xi Jinping’s various remarks and a 3 March notice on caring for these workers.The article called for taking “concrete actions” to “reduce the burdens and stress of urban and rural community workers,” ensuring that “guarantees for all remunerations [for such workers] are in place,” and making sure that “care and support” for these workers is “meticulous and thoughtful.”
People’s Daily Commentator Article Series on Poverty Alleviation
3.8-3.12 People’s Daily published a commentator series on poverty alleviation.
8 March’s commentator article discussed the importance of meeting this year’s anti-poverty targets under straitened circumstances. The article declared, “The lifting from poverty of the entire impoverished rural population in 2020 under current standards is the Party Central Committee’s solemn promise to all the country’s people. It must be fulfilled as scheduled. This is a great historic undertaking with major significance for the Chinese people and humanity and must be resolutely completed.” Referencing Xi Jinping’s 6 March address, the article declared that “the tough battle of poverty alleviation is the major issue that General Secretary Xi Jinping is most concerned about and spends the greatest amount of energy on.” After lauding the country’s anti-poverty progress, the article acknowledged the difficulty of anti-poverty efforts during the outbreak but declared that “a promise has to be honored.” It added that “there is no flexibility or way to retreat. The closer [we] get to the end, the more [we] must stretch the strings tight. [We] cannot pause, we cannot be careless, and we cannot relax.”
9 March’s commentator article noted that the outbreak had made it more difficult for anti-poverty work but urged its audience not to “slack off” (松劲懈怠) in “winning the tough battle of poverty alleviation.” Citing as particular consequences of the outbreak the obstruction of workers, difficulties with the sale of poverty alleviation goods and with industries assisting in poverty alleviation efforts, and the cessation of anti-poverty projects, the article also called on local governments to “persevere in seeking truth from facts (实事求是)” and “guard against formalism [and] bureaucratism” in “overall planning to prevent and control the epidemic and fight poverty.”
10 March’s commentator article highlighted Xi Jinping’s speech at the 6 March poverty alleviation symposium. The article stated that Xi’s speech had “made important plans for ensuring that the goals and tasks of the tough battle of poverty alleviation were completed in a high-quality manner,” “mobilized the forces of the whole Party, the whole country, and the whole of society,” and urged the use of greater resolution and strength to push forward in the tough battle of poverty alleviation.” The article emphasized that in the face of the epidemic challenge, “only with a high-level sense of political responsibility and historic missions can the Party fulfill its solemn promise” of alleviating poverty. It further stressed that poverty alleviation is the “bottom-line mission” (底线任务) of the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and that the Party’s promise to its people must be fulfilled as scheduled, adding that “there is no flexibility or way to retreat” in fulfilling this promise.
11 March’s commentator article also highlighted Xi’s 6 March speech on poverty reduction and emphasized that “words must be credible and actions fruitful (言必信、行必果); the CCP most values conscientiousness, what it says should be accomplished.” Noting that the virus has added difficulties to anti-poverty efforts, the article emphasized how short a time remains in 2020 to win the battle against poverty and stressed that those involved “cannot halt, cannot be careless, [and] cannot relax.” Examining the course of poverty reduction to this point, the article pointed to the importance of central leadership and across-the-board party cooperation in achieving results thus far and stated that “withstanding the tests of history and the people requires a strong political guarantee for poverty reduction.” The article also stressed the importance of carrying out the strategic plans of the Central Committee and pointed out that “currently, the most prominent mission is assisting the midwestern region in reducing the influence of the epidemic on the battle against poverty.” The article called for “resolutely oppos[ing] formalism (形式主义) and bureaucratism (官僚主义)” and combating the virus and pursuing anti-poverty work at the grassroots level.
12 March’s commentator article declared that after China completes its battle against poverty this year, it will have achieved the poverty reduction goal set by the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule. The article declared, “there is no other country in the world that can help so many people rise from poverty in such a short time. This has major significance for China and the world.” The article again referenced Xi’s 6 March speech on poverty reduction and praised the Party and country’s efforts in alleviating poverty in previous years, noting that “our country’s unprecedented achievements in the battle against poverty have manifested the political advantages of the leadership of the CCP and our country’s socialist system.” The article also noted that the “difficulties and challenges” facing anti-poverty work were “still formidable” and called for “Party committees and governments at all levels” to “strive to minimize the influence of the epidemic.”
PD Commentator: Manifest Loyalty and the Assumption of Responsibility, Write the Truth of Great Affection
3.9 People’s Daily published a front-page commentator article praising Party members for responding to the call of the Party Central Committee and making voluntary donations to anti-coronavirus efforts. Lauding the donations as evidence of “Communist Party members’ assumption of responsibility at a time of crisis,” their “energetic response to the Party’s call,” and their “high degree of loyalty to the Party and the people,” the article noted the donors’ unity: despite their wildly different backgrounds, “they have one common identity: Communist Party member!” Citing the response as evidence of “the CCP’s powerful leadership, organization, and appeal” and the fact that “the CCP has always joined hearts (心连心) with the masses, breathed with them, and shared a destiny with them,” the article also noted that the anti-coronavirus effort is “a people’s war, an overall battle, and a defensive battle” of epidemic prevention and control.
Ren Ping: Strengthening Epidemic Prevention and Control Must Persist With Caution
3.12 People’s Daily’s Ren Ping (任平) byline reported on the recent improvements of the epidemic situation in China, specifically in Wuhan, while pointing out that the epidemic is still “severe and complex.” Thus, the article quoted Xi Jinping’s 10 March remarks in Wuhan and called for continuing the prevention and control efforts to prevent epidemic proliferation. “So long as a full victory is not attained, we can not easily call it a success,” the article added. Ren Ping further emphasized the need for an enhanced “sense of responsibility and urgency” in coordinating epidemic resistance tasks and economic and societal development. It required party organizations at all levels to diligently perform their leadership responsibilities and that assistance to companies, expansion of employment opportunities, and scientific research on the virus ought to remain unchanged. It stressed that the ever-changing epidemic situation poses new challenges with increasing personnel mobilization and the rapid spread of the virus overseas. Ren Ping ended by stressing the importance of “consolidating the results of the war” and “accomplishing the goals and tasks for realizing decisive victories in the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and the tough battle of poverty alleviation.”
Zhong Sheng: “Political Wall” Cannot Block the Great Trend of Scientific and Technological Cooperation
3.10 People’s Daily used its Zhong Sheng (钟声) column, which authoritatively transmits the opinions of the People’s Daily on matters of international affairs, to criticize the US’ stance on China’s 5G networks. Decrying recent US Senate actions targeting the use of Huawei in 5G infrastructure and US officials’ warnings against the use of non-US-approved 5G networks at the Munich Security Conference, the article asserted the unpopularity of the US’ attempts to “politicize scientific and technological cooperation.” Noting China’s heavy involvement in 5G infrastructure construction around the world, the article asserted that “cooperation confers enormous benefits on common development [and] cannot be erased by a few defamations and threats from the American side.” The article accused the US of “threatening the global industry chain, supply chain, and value chain and harming the shared interests of every country in the world” and noted that “in the process of researching and developing 5G communications and technology, China never avoided deep collaboration with Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, or other foreign companies.” The article concluded with a call for “global collaboration,” the only “rational and correct choice.
3.13 Chen Baojian (陈宝剑) was appointed deputy secretary of Peking University’s Party committee.