A Politburo Standing Committee meeting was held to consider the global economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Official media emphasized that China had made major progress toward controlling the coronavirus epidemic.
Xi Jinping: Provide Strong Scientific and Technological Support for Winning the Battle for Epidemic Prevention and Control
3.15 Qiushi published a speech Xi Jinping made during a 2 March discussion on work related to scientific research breakthroughs in epidemic prevention and control with officials from relevant departments and academic experts. In his speech, Xi commended the “resolute leadership of the Party Central Committee” for helping the epidemic situation to actively improve, praised the “national scientific and technological front” (全国科技战线) for “actively responding to the Party Central Committee’s call,” and thanked scientific and technological workers for their “excellent work style of hard work and dedication.” After stating that “the people’s war, the overall battle, and the defensive battle (人民战争、总体战、阻击战) of epidemic prevention and control still requires hard work,” Xi said that there was still much to learn about COVID-19, including its source, host, and means of transmission.
Xi also used his speech to emphasize seven points to which to “devote time and energy”: 1. “Strengthening the integration of drug and medical equipment research and development and clinical treatment and effectively improving cure rates and reducing mortality rates”; 2. “Promoting the organic integration of vaccine research and development and the industrialization chain and being well prepared for the possibility of normalized prevention and control work”; 3. “Making an overall plan for research on the origin of viruses and their means of transmission”; 4. “Doing work related to patient rehabilitation and psychological counseling [for those] isolated from the masses well”; 5. “Improving the integration of the systems for scientific research breakthroughs in disease prevention and control and public health across [both] peace and war time”; 6. “Persisting in launching patriotic health campaigns”; and 7. “Strengthening international cooperation on scientific research breakthroughs for epidemic prevention and control.
Central Government Group: Epidemic Prevention and Control Cannot Be Relaxed, Resuming Work and Production Requires Precise Policy Implementation
3.16 State Council Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰), head of the central government group set up to guide the epidemic response in Hubei, led an investigation of Wuhan’s work to resume work and production and spring ploughing. She called for relevant departments to improve measures to support Hubei’s industrial development, to carry out targeted work to help businesses, stabilize jobs, and expand employment, to resolve practical challenges and concrete problems in aspects such as taxation, financing and supply chains, and to help enterprises get onto a normal track as soon as possible.
Politburo Standing Committee Holds Meeting to Analyze the Domestic and Foreign Epidemic and Economic Situation, Xi Jinping Presides
3.18 Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo Standing Committee meeting to analyze the domestic and international epidemic situation and to study China’s economic and social development. Xi Jinping highlighted the recent improvements of the domestic epidemic situation while pointing out “new challenges” such as the impact of the overseas epidemic on the world economy, to which China ought to adjust its policies and respond accordingly.
The meeting stressed that China must persist in their prevention and control efforts in key areas such as Beijing and that Wuhan City must “gradually resume work and production.” In addition, China must strengthen human support services in the aftermath of the epidemic. On the international stage, Xi pointed out the importance of China’s cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and providing guidance and support to overseas Chinese citizens. Additionally, he urged to strengthen the analysis and forecast of global epidemic fluctuations and to improve strategies and policies on preventing incoming cases. The meeting highlighted the importance of keeping the international supply chain smooth, innovating the model of attracting investment, and ensuring the normal development of economic and trade activities.
PD Commentator Articles Series on the Coronavirus Outbreak
3.14-3.19 People’s Daily published a series of commentator articles about the coronavirus epidemic.
14 March’s commentator article emphasized that to win the “people’s war” against the epidemic, it is necessary to closely rely on the people. The article called on cadres to “do thorough and meticulous mass work well, mobilize the masses, and construct a people’s defensive line (人民防线) of mass prevention and mass control [of the epidemic].” It stressed that “[we] must continue to give full play to the community’s role in checking [the spread of the virus], give full play to the role of grassroots party organizations as a battle fort and the role of Party members as the vanguard model, bring the power of prevention and control down to communities, mobilize and organize community residents… [and] make all communities into staunch fortresses for epidemic prevention and control.”
15 March’s commentator article stressed that “resolutely winning the defensive battles for Hubei and Wuhan is the key to attaining comprehensive victory in the struggle for epidemic prevention and control.” After noting that “the epidemic prevention and control circumstances in Hubei and Wuhan are actively improving and have tentatively achieved the stabilization and reversal of the [epidemic] situation,” the article emphasized that “this is the result of the whole Party, the whole country, and the whole of society working together and uniting in struggle. It has not come easily!” The article also claimed that “victory in Wuhan means victory in Hubei and victory in Hubei means victory in the whole country” before calling on “all departments and committees in central and national organs” to “continue to increase the strength of their support for Hubei and help Hubei to resolve practical difficulties and concrete issues.”
16 March’s commentator article elaborated on Xi Jinping’s 10 March call for “all levels of party organizations and all party members and cadres” to carry out their “duty to defend the country” (守土有责) from the coronavirus and to use the “proper methods to defend the country” (守土有方) from the coronavirus. The article advocated “strengthening the assumption of responsibility” to achieve the former and “improving work skills” to achieve the latter. Its conclusion insisted that “we certainly can defeat the epidemic and also certainly can maintain our country’s good momentum in economic and social development and realize a decisive victory for the goals and tasks of the tough battle of poverty alleviation.”
17 March’s commentator article reiterated Xi Jinping’s call for all party organizations to “inspect and identify cadres at the front line of the struggle [against the coronavirus]” for admission to the CCP. To make its case, the article argued that “true Communists” are those who “rush forward at critical moments and make sacrifices at times of crisis” and that “the power of good examples is endless.” Its conclusion stated that “promptly admitting advanced elements who performed outstandingly on the anti-epidemic front line embodies the value orientation of communists, gives full play to the important role of encouragement and guidance, and more broadly consolidates the powerful force of epidemic resistance.”
18 March’s commentator article reflected on Xi Jinping’s letter to younger generation Party members of a Peking University medical team sent to Hubei, which praised the dutifulness, hard work, and vitality of such youth. The article hailed the role of youth in “answering the Party’s call” and contributing to efforts to fight the coronavirus epidemic. The article claimed the hardships of the epidemic were “an extremely precious life experience” for young people as they matured, allowing them to witness the nation’s strength, popular unity, and the advantages of China’s political system.
19 March’s commentator article praised China’s international role and “outstanding results” in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, claiming that China “fought for precious time for every country in the world’s epidemic prevention and control, making an important contribution, winning the international community’s widespread acclaim.” The article praised the Party, army, government, people of Wuhan, and medical workers across the nation, saying the results of their efforts “displayed to the whole world Chinese strength and Chinese spirit, manifesting the Chinese people’s national feeling of keeping watch for each other.” The article expressed gratitude for international aid and claimed that “all along, China has had an open, transparent, and responsible attitude, promptly releasing information on the epidemic domestically and abroad,” cooperating, communicating, and sharing research and advice with other countries. It concluded that the transnational nature of the epidemic meant it had to be addressed through international unity, and the world must establish the concept of a “community of shared future for mankind” (人类命运共同体) to protect global health.
Zhong Sheng: The American Side’s Mistaken Attitude of Making Contradictions Will Have Disastrous Consequences
3.18 A commentator piece under the Zhong Sheng (钟声) byline, denoting an authoritative commentary on international relations, warned that the State Department’s recent restrictions on Chinese journalists working in the US would not just have consequences in the journalism sphere but would “undoubtedly bring a negative influence and new uncertainty to bilateral relations.” Noting that the US’ creation of “contradictions” “not only harms China-US bilateral interests but also threatens the common interests of every country in the world,” the article warned, “the American side should change its tune (改弦更张) and correct its mistake on the disguised expulsion of the Chinese side’s journalists as soon as possible and make responsible choices to ensure the holistic stability of China-US relations.”
3.17 Yang Zhenbin (杨振斌) was appointed secretary of Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s party committee.
3.18 Gong Tanghua (龚堂华) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervision Commission’s discipline inspection and supervision group at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
3.18 Sun Xinyang (孙新阳) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervision Commission’s discipline inspection and supervision group at the Ministry of Public Security.
3.19 Mo Gaoyi (莫高义) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervision Commission’s discipline inspection and supervision group at People’s Daily.
3.20 Zhu Hexin (朱鹤新) was appointed secretary of CITIC Group’s party committee.