Weekly Report 3|28 4.25.2020-5.1.2020
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and National People’s Congress (NPC) announced the rescheduling of this year’s Two Sessions for 21 and 22 May, respectively. Originally delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the scheduling marks the official resumption of leadership focus on this year’s development agenda (see Senior Leaders section).
Senior leaders and official propaganda focused on resuming poverty alleviation work and drove home the message that this year's poverty alleviation goals cannot be abandoned due to setbacks brought on by COVID-19 (see Senior Leaders section and Propaganda Work section).
Official propaganda singled out US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his role in spreading a “political virus” by antagonizing China during the coronavirus pandemic (see Propaganda Work section).
Xinhua reported that a draft law revision concerning the People’s Armed Police (PAP) Force had been proposed to the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. The draft “strengthened supervision of the PAP’s authority and operations,” clarifying that “the Central Military Commission (CMC) supervisory committees and the PAP supervisory committees at all levels are the legal supervising organs of the PAP in its execution of its role…” (see CMC section).
Wang Yang Inspects Poverty Alleviation Work in Yunnan and Guizhou; Emphasizes Focusing on Difficulties to Ensure the Timely Eradication of Poverty
4.26 Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang’s (汪洋) took a trip to Yunnan and Guizhou, where he emphasized the necessity of “ensuring poverty alleviation as scheduled.” He urged cadres to implement the requirements set forth by Xi Jinping and focus on the ways in which the epidemic had brought about hardships for people living in poverty. He emphasized employing migrant workers in order to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on that particular population, accelerating the resumption of production, and helping poor laborers seek employment.
Central Government Team Leaves Hubei, Returns to Beijing
4.27 The central government group for coronavirus epidemic response work returned to Beijing from Hubei, where it had overseen epidemic prevention and control measures. State media reported that Hubei and Wuhan had completed their transition to “normalized prevention and control.”
Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform Holds Meeting, Xi Jinping Presides
4.27 Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, during which he described the Party’s leadership and the advantages of China’s socialist system as playing a vital role in both China’s epidemic prevention and control work and the resumption of work and production. Politburo Standing Committee members Li Keqiang, Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Han Zheng (韩正) were also in attendance.
The meeting highlighted medical supply security as essential to winning the “people’s war” (人民战争) against the coronavirus, for which the Central Committee and the relevant departments were described as having taken decisive action to ensure ample production. It further noted that improving accessibility to emergency public health materials requires strengthening top-level design and increased coordination between departments. The meeting discussed medical insurance management and characterized success in ensuring that coronavirus detection and treatment is not a financial burden for patients as proof of the superiority of China’s socialist system. It also stressed that despite China’s success at containing the virus, it is imperative to pursue the “six stabilities” and “six safeguards,” conduct reforms to prevent risks and ensure the people’s livelihoods, expand economic opening up, accelerate market-oriented allocation, and solve practical problems to carry out reform in line with current conditions and the expectations of the people.
Two Sessions is Scheduled
4.29 The dates of the next “Two Sessions” (两会) (the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and the National People’s Congress (NPC)) were announced for 21 and 22 May, respectively. The dates were approved by separate meetings of the NPC Standing Committee and the CPPCC Chairperson’s Council Meeting. Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang, who presided over the CPPCC Chairperson’s Council Meeting, emphasized the importance of convening the Two Sessions with the backdrop of the normalization of epidemic prevention and control. The NPC Standing Committee’s meeting noted that “under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core” and through the hard work of the entire country and the masses, the coronavirus epidemic situation continued to improve and economic and social life were returning to normal, making conditions appropriate for holding the Two Sessions.
Xi Jinping’s Speech at the Symposium on Fighting the Tough Battle against Poverty Well
4.30 Qiushi journal published Xi Jinping’s speech at the 12 February symposium on “fighting the tough battle against poverty well.” During his speech, Xi stressed the importance of “deeply understanding the decisive progress that our country’s battle against poverty has attained,” “grasping the difficulties and challenges in winning the tough battle against poverty with a clear head,” and “comprehensively fighting the poverty alleviation battle well.” Xi first praised the Party’s anti-poverty achievements, stating that it had “established a system with Chinese characteristics to battle against poverty” and “contribute to the global poverty alleviation undertakings.” Xi especially highlighted the leadership role of the Party in bringing about these successes. Xi also pointed out the existing challenges of poverty alleviation work, including “formalism” (形式主义) and “bureaucratism”(官僚主义). At the end of the speech, he urged the Party to persist in reaching the goals, improve funding management, and organize cadre training to completely eradicate poverty.
PD Commentator Series on Xi’s Inspection Tour of Shaanxi
People’s Daily launched a new commentator series to cover Xi Jinping’s trip to Shaanxi from 20 to 23 April. The series focused on achieving China’s economic goals in spite of the coronavirus epidemic.
4.25 The first article, entitled “Solidly Manage the Matter of People’s Livelihoods Well,” focused on Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Shaanxi, in which he discussed the impact of the epidemic on the battle against poverty and urged cadres to carry on with poverty eradication goals. The article called on cadres to strengthen policy measures to stabilize employment, particularly for key groups such as college graduates, migrant workers, and veterans, and in general to implement the “Six Stabilities” (六稳) and “Six Safeguards” (六保) well. Noting that this year is the final stage of China’s poverty alleviation plan, it acknowledged that there were many “hard bones to bite” (硬骨头要啃) and that the pandemic has only increased the difficulties. It thus stressed the need for “vigorous and effective measures” to achieve the poverty alleviation targets on schedule, particularly focusing on the most impoverished people and regions.
4.26 The second article was entitled “Clear Waters and Green Mountains are Natural Wealth and Economic Wealth.” Reviewing Xi Jinping’s inspection tour of Shaanxi, the article made no mention of the coronavirus epidemic, instead concentrating on the construction of an “ecological civilization” (生态文明). It devoted a section to the ecological protection of the Qinling Mountains (秦岭山脉) in particular, which it called an “important ecological security barrier” in China. More generally, it noted that pollution prevention was one of the “Three Tough Battles” (三大攻坚战) and stressed that economic development could not come at the expense of destroying the ecology.
4.27 The third article, entitled “Take Bigger Steps in Promoting High-Quality Economic Development,” elaborated on Xi’s statement that “the basic trends of economic stability and long-term good prospects have not changed.” It repeated his exhortation that “it is necessary to strengthen our confidence, maintain our strength, and accelerate the transformation of economic development methods, to strengthen, improve, and optimize the real economy, especially the manufacturing sector, to deploy innovation throughout the industrial supply chain, to deploy industry chains based on innovation, and to take greater steps to further high-quality economic development.”
PD Commentator Series on “Reflecting on the Great Practice of Struggle Against the Epidemic”
People’s Daily appears to have ended its months-long commentator series rallying people to contribute to the effort to control the coronavirus epidemic. This week it began a new series that focuses on the lessons learned from the outbreak.
4.26 The first article, entitled “Crossing the River in the Same Boat (同舟共济), Unity Is Strength (众志成城),” glowingly reviewed how “during this grim struggle,” the Chinese people have “manifested the national spirit of crossing the river in the same boat, keeping watch, and defending each other.” It also claimed that “the Chinese people are a people with great unity of spirit.”
4.27 The second article held that the anti-epidemic struggle “manifested a governance concept that holds the people supreme” and “vividly brought out a value system that holds life supreme.” It concluded with Xi Jinping’s remarks that “The people are the real heroes. As long as we closely rely on the people, we will overcome all difficulties and obstacles and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
4.28 The third article declared that this struggle had “demonstrated the Party’s strong leadership and the significant advantages of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics” as well as “the remarkable effectiveness of [China’s] national governance system and governance capacity.” It also admitted that the epidemic exposed shortcomings in China’s epidemic prevention and control systems and mechanisms and pledged that the government would examine and resolve these problems.
4.29 The fourth article highlighted the mobilization of medical workers, community workers, security officers, cadres, journalists and others at the grassroots level to participate in epidemic prevention and control. It stressed that “[doing] everything for the people and relying on the people is at the root of our party prevailing over every risk and challenge on the path forward and unceasingly moving from victory to victory.”
4.30 The fifth article emphasized the importance of international solidarity and cooperation in defeating a pandemic: “facing the virus, this common enemy of humanity, China has upheld the concept of the community of shared future for mankind (人类命运共同体), all along cooperated with the international community, and called on the international community to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to win hand-in-hand the common struggle with this major infectious disease.” The article lauded China’s initiative and transparency in sharing information and its experiences with the world, highlighted the support other countries gave to China, and warned against politicization, evasion of responsibility, and stigmatization as obstacles to cooperation.
Zhong Sheng: It’s Hard to Escape Guilt for Spreading Poison This Way
4.27 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng (钟声) article, which communicates the views of the paper on foreign affairs, strongly criticizing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for spreading a “political virus” (政治病毒), “fanning the flames with prejudice and arrogance, starting rumors and creating trouble, sapping humanity’s strength to jointly combat the novel coronavirus, and trying to pull the whole world into a situation of antagonism and conflict.” After forcefully refuting Pompeo’s allegations against China and defending the CCP’s handling of the pandemic, the article “strongly advise[d] Pompeo and his ilk to stop chattering anti-China noise, abandon [their] untimely Cold War mentality, respect and safeguard people’s equal right to life and health, raise [their] heads to look at the facts, shut up and listen to public opinion.”
Zhong Sheng: Must Resist Provocations Against Modern Civilization
4.28 People’s Daily published another Zhong Sheng article responding to an illustration in the Australian publication The Daily Telegraph which depicted the Chinese national emblem in the shape of a coronavirus. The Zhong Sheng article accused the Australian paper of “politicizing the epidemic” and “seriously hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.” It characterized The Daily Telegraph as blatantly using the virus to stigmatize China and incite racism, conduct which is “a provocation against modern civilization.” The article described tracing the origins of the virus as a “scientific question” and cited the WHO as saying that “the origin of any disease is possible anywhere.” Despite receiving condemnation by the Chinese Consulate-General in Sydney as early as 1 April, the article claimed that The Daily Telegraph had continued to defame China and the Chinese people and showed no interest in reflecting the objective realities of China’s successes both in domestically controlling the virus or in contributing to global health.
PD Editorial: Gather Energy and Strength to Achieve Victory in Establishing a Comprehensive Moderately Prosperous Society
5.1 To mark Labor Day, People’s Daily published an editorial recognizing the efforts of laborers who devoted themselves to fighting the coronavirus epidemic and urging them to turn their efforts toward achieving a moderately prosperous society by the end of the year. After stating that this year is the year for comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society and completing the 13th Five Year Plan, the editorial acknowledged that “the epidemic brought challenges to our achievement of these fixed goals.” “We must enhance our sense of urgency, responsibility, and mission, comprehensively implement the Central Committee’s strategic decisions, stick closely to the mission and task of comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society, persevere with seeking progress while maintaining stability…” it said. It called for “carrying forward the spirit of labor” in order to achieve this.
United Front Work
Hong Kong Individuals that Love the Country and Love Hong Kong Establish the Hong Kong Coalition
4.26 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Vice Chairmen and former Hong Kong Chief Executives Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) and Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) announced the formal establishment of the Hong Kong Coalition (HKC/香港再出發大聯盟).
They stated that with the mission of “adhering to ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and jointly building a stable and prosperous Hong Kong,” the HKC would focus on helping the Hong Kong Government find solutions to the difficulties the HKSAR has faced over the past year due to the anti-government protest movement and the COVID-19 pandemic. Tung and Leung explained that the HKC would aim to recruit more than 1,000 Hongkongers of all ages and from all social circles as co-founders. They added that National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee member Tam Yiu-chung (譚耀宗) would serve as the HKC’s secretary-general and that NPC Standing Committee Basic Law Committee Deputy Chair Maria Tam (譚惠珠) would serve as one of the coalition’s 11 deputy secretaries-general.
Central Military Commission
China Intends to Amend People’s Armed Police Force Law
4.26 Xinhua reported that a draft law revision concerning the People’s Armed Police (PAP) Force had been proposed to the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. The revision primarily concerned the adding of an “Organization and Command” chapter and the reworking of the “Mission and Duties” chapter into separate chapters on “Duties” and “Duties and Authorities.” In addition to identifying “handling emergencies, counter-terrorism, maritime rights-defending law enforcement, and emergency assistance and defensive combat” as duties of the PAP, the draft “refined regulations on the scope of [its] role” by adding details on the scope of its counterterrorism, emergency response, and emergency rescue roles. In the maritime realm, the draft recommended guidelines for the PAP’s maritime rights-defense law enforcement role and defensive combat role. According to the Xinhua report, the draft “strengthened supervision of the PAP’s authority and operations,” clarifying that “the Central Military Commission (CMC) Supervisory Committees and the PAP supervisory committees at all levels are the legal supervising organs of the PAP in its execution of its role and when carrying out its duties, handling emergencies, fighting terrorism, enforcing the law to defend legal maritime rights, and [providing] emergency assistance, [the PAP] accepts the social supervision of the People’s Government, the relevant organs, and citizen, corporate, and other organizations.”
International Liaison Work
4.28 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) took part in a teleconference on anti-epidemic cooperation with Indonesian political parties. The other participants came from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, the Golkar Party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party, and the Nasdem Party.
4.28 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with French Ambassador to China Laurent Bili.
4.29 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) attended and delivered a speech at a teleconference between the ruling parties of China and Nepal on novel coronavirus diagnosis and treatment plans and prevention and control measures. Other participants included International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou, China Academy of Engineering academician and National Health Commission High-Level Expert Team Head Zhong Nanshan (钟南山), Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Secretariat member and former Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, NCP Secretariat member and Nepali Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ishwor Pokhrel, the provincial NCP committee secretaries from all seven of Nepal’s provinces, and medical experts from both countries.
4.27 Jiang Xiwei (蒋希伟) was appointed vice president of the China Media Group.
4.27 Han Zhanwu (韩占武) was appointed deputy head of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration.
4.29 Huang Runqiu (黄润秋) was appointed minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
4.29 Tang Yijun (唐一军) was appointed minister of the Ministry of Justice.
4.29 Sun Jinlong (孙金龙) was appointed deputy minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
4.30 He Rong (贺荣) was appointed vice president of the Supreme People’s Court.