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  • David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl

Weekly Report 3|26 4.11.2020-4.17.2020


Qiushi published several articles exploring the international dimension of China's fight against the coronavirus, including a compilation of Xi’s remarks to international leaders on COVID-19, an article from Foreign Minister Wang Yi (see Propaganda Work Section), and an article from the CCP’s International Department (see International Liaison Work section). The articles discussed how China has been recognized globally for effectively handling the epidemic, how it has demonstrated its role as a responsible great power, how it can provide a model for the world on how to address the coronavirus, and how the pandemic can only be handled through international cooperation.


Senior Leaders

Li Keqiang Presides Over a Meeting of the Central Leading Group on Novel Coronavirus Epidemic Response Xinhua

4.13 Premier Li Keqiang presided over a meeting of the Central Leading Group on Novel Coronavirus Epidemic Response Work. The meeting emphasized the importance of increasing prevention measures to avert a second wave of outbreaks, enhancing screenings for incoming cases from overseas, strengthening international cooperation efforts in combating the virus, and resolutely implementing the “four earlies” (四早/ early identification, early reporting, early isolation, and early management) to ensure the timely detection of patients and confirmation of asymptomatic cases. It stressed the importance of treating foreigners and Chinese citizens equally and improving testing capabilities. It also urged strict supervision over medical supply exports and severe punishment of those who attempt to produce sub-standard medical supplies or engage in price extortion for medical materials.

Central Committee General Office Issues “Notice on Continuously Solving the Problem of Formalism that Troubles Grassroots [Officials] and Providing a Strong Work-Style Guarantee for the Comprehensive Establishment of a Moderately Prosperous Society”

4.14 Xinhua reported that the General Office of the CCP Central Committee issued a “Notice on Continuously Solving the Problem of Formalism that Troubles Grassroots [Officials] and Providing a Strong Work-Style Guarantee for the Comprehensive Establishment of a Moderately Prosperous Society.” The notice pointed out that the increased risks and challenges in 2020, combined with the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, created challenges for China’s development work. Thus, the notice stressed the importance of maintaining an excellent work style to implement central policies. It quoted Xi Jinping’s remarks on “firmly putting an end to various kinds of formalism and bureaucratism” and highlighted his directives on “guaranteeing a strong work style for realizing decisive victories in the comprehensive establishment of a moderately prosperous society and the tough battle of poverty alleviation.”

The notice issued eight requirements:

  1. Consolidate a strong ideological and political foundation to overcome formalism and bureaucratism and study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

  2. Firmly rectify the problem of formalism and treat it as a political problem.

  3. Cut unnecessary meetings and paperwork and streamline workflow, especially for epidemic prevention and control and the resumption of normal work and production (post-epidemic).

  4. Further improve methods of supervision, inspection, and assessment through the implementation of strict plan management and record management.

  5. Resolve the problems of formalism and bureaucratism in research. The notice stressed that this will allow policymakers to make accurate and scientific decisions for epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development.

  6. Improve incentive mechanisms for cadres. The notice suggested improving accountability methods and evaluation processes and increasing care for cadres working on the front lines of the battles against the epidemic and poverty.

  7. Deepen reform to modernize the grassroots governance system and governance capability; increase grassroots leaders’ responsibilities and resources and improve their ability to provide public services, manage conflicts, and respond to emergencies.

  8. Party committees and leadership groups at all levels should fulfill their duties and serve as examples.

Li Keqiang Attends ASEAN-China-South Korea-Japan Special Summit on Fighting COVID-19

4.15 Premier Li Keqiang attended a special ASEAN+3 teleconference with ASEAN leaders, South Korean President Moon Jae In, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Li suggested strengthening cooperation to raise the level of public health, possibly creating an ASEAN 10+3 center for emergency medical supply reserves. He also suggested lowering trade barriers, opening markets, encouraging investment within the region to help regional economic integration, stabilizing labor flows and supply chains, and signing the RCEP agreement within the year. He also called for close policy coordination, particularly on financial, food, and trade policy. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) head He Lifeng (何立峰) also attended.


Propaganda Work

4.11-14 People’s Daily continued its weeks-long Commentator Article series about the coronavirus epidemic. From 4.11-14, the articles focused on different factors for raising domestic demand as a way to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

11 April’s commentary called for long-term preparation to weather the global economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized that increased domestic demand would be key in responding to economic risks and alleviating pressures on the world economy. The article argued that a return to work and production would be necessary to expand domestic demand while stabilizing employment and the economy. It stressed, “Currently, the difficulties our country’s economic development faces have grown. All levels of Party committees and governments must increase their sense of urgency, responsibility, and mission, resolutely push the ‘fast-forward button’ on the resumption of work and production, and resolutely grab back [their lost] time and make up for [their] losses.”

12 April’s commentary focused on “unearthing the domestic market’s potential.” The article specifically highlighted consumption, investment, and innovation. It called for increased physical and continued online consumption, increased investment, and accelerated growth and investment in new business models and strategic industries. The article added that in response to risks in the world economy, China would continue to expand reform and opening up, relax restrictions on market access, improve its business environment, and actively increase imports and foreign investment, contributing to global economic stability. It stated that “only by promptly redirecting a section of foreign trade production capacity towards the domestic market can [we] strongly hedge against the epidemic’s effect and ensure losses caused by the epidemic are kept to a minimum.”

13 April’s commentary focused on “strengthening safeguards for and improving the people’s livelihood.” The article reiterated the importance of domestic demand in the face of external economic pressures, saying that the people’s livelihood was key to stimulating consumption and investment. It highlighted agricultural production and the pricing and distribution of food, effective policies and insurance programs to mitigate unemployment and its effects, and reassurance of consumers to encourage a revival of the service industry and physical shopping markets.

14 April’s commentary argued that supply-side structural reform was necessary for expanding domestic demand and hedging against the effects of the coronavirus epidemic. After stressing that “deepening supply-side structural reform and promoting high-quality economic growth [had been] important achievements of theoretical innovation in Xi Jinping Economic Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era since the 18th Party Congress,” it acknowledged that the coronavirus epidemic had impacted both supply and demand but denied that this had changed the “fact that the main aspects of the contradictions in the relationship between supply and demand are on the supply side.” Framing the epidemic as “both a challenge and an opportunity for industrial development,” the article noted that while “some traditional industries have suffered comparatively large shocks,” emerging industries like high-tech production have shown “strong growth potential,” and other industries have grown against the trend. It called for both taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by new technologies and “making a better environment for reform,” noting that if China could overcome the epidemic in a “relatively short time,” it could “most certainly restore [China’s] economy as soon as possible.”

Xi Jinping: Unity and Cooperation Are the International Community’s Most Powerful Weapons to Prevail Over the Epidemic Qiushi

4.15 Qiushi published a compilation of remarks from Xi Jinping to foreign leaders and multinational groups on the COVID-19 pandemic, organizing them into five themes.

  1. “Viruses do not know borders and epidemics do not know race": international unity is necessary to defeat the pandemic.

  2. “The Chinese government has been public and transparent and has maintained a responsible attitude all along, holding nothing back in sharing its experience of [disease] prevention, control, and treatment with the WHO and international community, actively launching international cooperation to fight the epidemic, [and] resolutely defending the Chinese people’s lives, safety, and health,” as well as that of all people of the world.

  3. “You see who your real friends are in tough times,” and China will gratefully remember and reciprocate the aid and support it received from the international community to the best of its ability.

  4. Public health challenges and pandemics are a threat to all mankind that the world must unify against.

  5. “China has promptly carried out decisive, effective measures, not only taking responsibility for the health of its own people, but also contributing to the cause of global public health. China has paid an immense sacrifice to resist the epidemic, [and] on this, the global community already has a shared opinion.”

Qiushi Editorial Department: Let the Sunshine of Cooperation Disperse the Haze of the Pandemic

4.15 Qiushi’s editorial department published an article praising the compilation of remarks from Xi Jinping it published (see above) for “presenting China’s experience, elaborating on China’s positions, and putting forward China’s initiatives,” as well as promoting Xi’s “important thoughts on comprehensively strengthening international cooperation on epidemic prevention and control and pushing forward the construction of a community of shared future for mankind.”

In a section entitled “Only Unity and Cooperation Can Fight and Win the War,” the article stressed that “no country can fight alone” against the pandemic and that “there is no absolutely safe utopia.” It reiterated Xi Jinping’s proposition that “humanity is a community of shared future, and only through unity and cooperation can we meet any global risk and challenge.” It included three major components of Xi’s remarks on a unified global response: “ideological power to guide the way forward,” “leadership power of consolidating consensus,” and “action power that brooks no delay.”

The next section laid out the major ways in which China has “manifest[ed its] responsibility as a responsible great power": it has “adopted the most comprehensive, most stringent, and most thorough prevention and control measures,” “openly and transparently released information about the epidemic from the first moments,” “actively taken the initiative to share prevention and control and treatment experience,” and “offered support and aid to the best of its ability.”

Third, the article highlighted examples of various foreign countries sending aid and support to China, and of China in turn providing public health assistance and medical supplies to countries around the world. “China’s...foreign assistance to fight the pandemic is the most concentrated, most wide-ranging instance of emergency humanitarian action since the founding of [the] New China.”

The fourth section laid out a series of views put out by Xi Jinping on strengthening international cooperation: 1) resolutely fight the global defensive war for prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic well, 2) effectively carry out international joint prevention and control, 3) actively support the role of international organizations, and 4) strengthen international macroeconomic policy coordination.

The final section focused on the international community’s opinion of China’s contributions to fighting the pandemic. It claimed that the international community generally believes that “the resolute and effective prevention and control measures adopted by China displayed remarkable leadership and capabilities to respond, organize mobilization, and implement, setting an example.” It added that “the international community fully affirms that China has actively carried out international cooperation against the pandemic based on an attitude of openness, transparency, and responsibility” and that “the international community highly praises the Chinese people [for] displaying China’s strength, China’s spirit, China’s efficiency, and the image of a responsible great power through the prevention and control of the epidemic.” The article supported all these claims with quotations from various foreign leaders, heads of international organizations, medical experts, and other prominent people, including the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and US President Donald Trump.

Wang Yi: Take Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy as a Guide, Promote the Construction of a Shared Future for Mankind amidst Global Anti-Epidemic Cooperation

4.15 Qiushi published an article penned by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on China’s epidemic response. After noting that the epidemic “cannot stop the Chinese nation from [taking] firm steps toward its great rejuvenation or stop the epochal current of the world’s people moving towards cultural improvement,” the article discussed four ways in which China had contributed to the global battle against the epidemic.

  1. China has had enormous successes in combating the epidemic (“The Chinese government rapidly implemented the most comprehensive, strictest, and most thorough prevention and control measures and constructed a prevention and control system that mobilized the entire population, [conducted] joint prevention and control, and was open and transparent in the shortest amount of time”), and its resumption of economic activity has “enormously aided [against] global scarcities of medical supplies and is beneficial to pushing the global economy to soon return to a normal development path.

  2. China “raised Chinese initiatives [and] clearly showed the correct direction for international anti-epidemic cooperation,” including through Xi Jinping’s own communications with foreign leaders and officials from international organizations.

  3. China “displayed China’s willingness to take upon itself [the burden] and offered powerful support for every country’s response to the epidemic,” including through its “maintaining close coordination with the WHO and relevant countries.”

  4. China “elucidated China’s positions [and] amassed a valuable consensus for humanity prevailing over the epidemic” through international communications.

The article also discussed three lessons China learned from the epidemic:

  1. That it is vital to “unswervingly persevere in Party’s centralized and unified leadership,” as the contributions of the Party Central Committee, Xi Jinping, the diplomatic front, and party members had “proven that persevering in the Party’s centralized and unified leadership is not only a political guarantee of prevailing over the domestic epidemic but also the source of our confidence in joining hands with every country to fight the epidemic.”

  2. The necessity of “unswervingly persevering in the work orientation of taking the people as the center.”

  3. The necessity of “unswervingly persevering in the grand goal of constructing a community of shared future for mankind,” as the crisis has constituted a reminder of every country’s shared destiny.

Finally, the article urged the “diplomatic front” to cooperate with the international community and “do a good job of theoretical and work preparation for long-term responses to changes in the external environment.” It noted the importance of “launching joint global prevention and control [to] contain the epidemic’s momentum as soon as possible,” “insisting on the principle of multilateralism [to] boost global public health governance,” and “strengthening the coordination and cooperation of all parties [to] amass a global consensus on fighting the epidemic.”


International Liaison Work

International Department: Leading Cooperation among Political Parties, Assisting the Global Fight against the Epidemic

4.15 Qiushi published an article penned by the International Department discussing China’s cooperation with the international community against the COVID-19 epidemic. Lauding the CCP as “a party that seeks the happiness of the Chinese people and that strives for the undertaking of human progress,” it noted three respects in which the CCP’s external work has aided international anti-epidemic cooperation through “strengthening [its] political leadership among political parties [from] every country.”

  1. China successfully pushed for more than 240 political parties from over 110 countries to issue a joint appeal on the virus, calling for all countries to cooperate and pool resources and to oppose the “politicization of public health issues.”

  2. It contributed “‘CCP strength’” (中共力量) to the international fight against the epidemic, communicating with other political parties’ leaders about China’s experience in preventing and controlling the epidemic and offering an “epidemic prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment plan” to approximately 400 political parties.

  3. It has “striven for the understanding and support of various countries’ political parties,” employing the Party’s communication channels to “push foreign political parties, political organizations, think tanks, and media to actively support our country’s battle against the epidemic, to objectively and fairly assess our country’s sacrifices and contributions for the global fight against the epidemic and the institutional advantages demonstrated through [these efforts], [and] to firmly refute the false arguments of a small number of political powers.”

The article then discussed “three widely-held beliefs” around the world about the CCP’s anti-epidemic work.

  1. "The CCP’s leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core is the fundamental reason China’s battle against the epidemic has achieved remarkable results."

  2. "China’s great efforts, sacrifice, and contributions have manifested the CCP’s missions and willingness to take on responsibility as a great power and great party."

  3. "The CCP’s advocacy and promotion of international cooperation against the epidemic is the correct path for winning the global fight against the epidemic."

Finally, the article offered three main ideas for “maintaining the strategic initiative in a changing world” that has been roiled by the epidemic.

  1. "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is our scientific theoretical weapon for grasping the patterns of the greatest changes facing the world in the past century."

  2. "The system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is the basic guarantee of our retaining the initiative amidst the greatest changes facing the world in the past century."

  3. "Strengthening political leadership among the world’s political parties is an important measure for us to promote progress in the direction of human civilization development amidst the greatest changes facing the world in the past century."

International Department

4.13-4.14 The International Department donated 10,000 face masks to Cyprus’ Democratic Rally (DISY) party and Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), respectively. Chinese Ambassador to Cyprus Huang Xingyuan (黄星原) delivered the masks to DISY Director General George Lysandrides and AKEL Central Committee Secretariat member Nikos Ioannou.

4.15 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) took part in an International Department-organized teleconference between Chinese and Indian medical personnel. The other participants included China Academy of Engineering academician and National Health Commission High-Level Expert Team Head Zhong Nanshan (钟南山), a team of experts from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Indian National Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Madhu Chandra.

4.15 An International Department official held a phone conversation with Mexican Labor Party President Alberto Anaya Gutiérrez.

4.16 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) held a phone conversation with United Socialist Party of Venezuela Vice President Diosdado Cabello Rondón.


Organization Work

4.13 He Rong (贺荣) was appointed deputy secretary of the Supreme People’s Court’s Party leadership group.

4.14 Sun Jinlong (孙金龙) was appointed secretary of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s Party leadership group.

4.14 Li Wenzhang (李文章) was appointed deputy secretary-general of the State Council and head of the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration.

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