[Former Hong Kong Chief Executive and CPPCC National Committee Vice Chairman CY Leung founded the Hong Kong Coalition along with Tung Chee-hwa this week.]
Official propaganda this week focused on attacking the US for its rhetoric regarding China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Notably, a 3 May Zhong Sheng article brought back the suggestion that the virus may have originated in the US. Articles singled out individuals for their role in shaping US rhetoric, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (see Propaganda Work section).
A new united front organization, the Hong Kong Coalition, held its opening ceremony (see United Front Work section).
The CCP Politburo Standing Committee Holds Meeting, Xi Jinping Presides
4.29 Xi Jinping chaired a Politburo Standing Committee meeting. The meeting focused on containment and control of the coronavirus epidemic both domestically and internationally, pointing out the need to both provide defense against imported cases of coronavirus, and to contribute to international efforts against the virus. The meeting urged relevant parties to work with Hubei officials to implement the economic support packaged that the Central Committee had studied and approved for Hubei province as soon as possible. The meeting emphasized the importance of carrying out the “six stabilities” (六稳) and the “six safeguards” (六保). During the meeting, Xi Jinping gave a speech during which he acknowledged the efforts of the people of Hubei and Wuhan in particular. Xi noted the challenges posed by imported coronavirus cases from overseas, as well as risks of a second wave of infections. To this end, Xi Jinping emphasized the need to focus on at-risk locations and groups, naming Heilongjiang Province in particular, as well as public transportation systems in anticipation of the Labor Day holiday.
Zhao Kezhi: Faithfully Carry Out the New Era’s Mission Given by the Party and the People — Deeply Learn and Implement the Spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Speech at National Conference on Public Security
5.7 Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi (赵克志) wrote an article in People’s Daily discussing a speech Xi Jinping gave to the National Conference on Public Security (全国公安工作会议) last year on 7 May. Zhao reported, over the past year, public security departments all over the country have carried out the spirit of Xi Jinping’s speech and the “Remain True to Our Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” (不忘初心、牢记使命) education campaign.
Zhao emphasized six points to guide “writing the new chapter in public security work for the new era” as follows:
Unify knowledge with action and conscientiously enhance “political consciousness” (政治自觉), “ideological consciousness” (思想自觉) and “consciousness of actions” (行动自觉);
Remember that “public security’s last name is the party,” (公安姓党) and “resolutely adhere to and strengthen the party’s absolute leadership over public security work;”
Strengthen the mission and resolutely maintain national political security and wider social stability;
Adhere to fairness and justice, fully follow all requirements for strict, standardized, fair and civilized law enforcement;
Strictly manage police reform and improvement, and enhance the level of modernization of public security work without stop;
Strictly manage the Party and police, and focus on forging a “public security iron army” (公安铁军) using the “four ironclads” (四个铁一般). (The four ironclads define traits that can be found in all good cadres, which consist of ironclad faith, ironclad conviction, ironclad discipline, and ironclad actions).
Zhong Sheng Series: Starting Rumors to Slander “China’s Fight Against the Epidemic” Flouts International Justice
People’s Daily continued its Zhong Sheng series attacking US rhetoric on China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak with an article each day this week. Notably, the article published on 3 May brought back claims that the virus could have originated in the US, suggesting that the uptick in pneumonia cases due to e-cigarettes in the US could have actually been coronavirus cases and that the virus could have come from a Fort Detrick laboratory.
5.2 The second article in the series, entitled “How Does ‘Passing the Buck’ Save Lives?” accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “some American politicians,” and FOX News of putting out lies about the virus being leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, about China covering up the outbreak, and about the WHO not providing an early warning. It reiterated that the virus’ origin is “a serious scientific question that requires scientists to conduct rigorous and professional research” and stressed that scientists from around the world, including American medical experts, have refuted the notion that the virus is “man-made and leaked.”
5.3 The third article of the Zhong Sheng series, entitled “The Farce of Tracing Accountability and Demanding Compensation is a Disgrace to Civilization,” stated that “some American politicians... falsely called the novel coronavirus the ‘China virus’ and the ‘Wuhan Virus’” before asserting instead that “China was the first [country] that reported the epidemic, but the question of where the virus came from still requires science to answer.” It rhetorically asked whether the world had held the US accountable for the “Spanish flu” (the 1918 flu pandemic) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which it claimed originated in the US, and whether the US had compensated the world for the economic loss of the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, the article raised a series of questions for the US, including why CT scans of 2019 “e-cigarettes pneumonia” (电子烟肺炎) patients are so similar to the ones of COVID-19 patients, what happened in Fort Detrick, when the first case appeared in the US, why the US punished scientists who published their COVID-19 research, and why the US did not share its research progress on tracing the virus’ origin.
5.4 The fourth article, entitled “How Can You Talk About Human Rights While Ignoring the Sanctity of Life?” claimed that anyone criticizing China’s human rights record is “hiding their own failure in carrying out his or her responsibilities” and “disturbing anti-epidemic cooperation.” Before “strongly advising some American politicians to care about the lives and health of the American people,” the article criticized the US government for delaying its anti-epidemic response, suspending funding to WHO, and sanctioning Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela.
5.5 The fifth article, entitled “Doubting China’s [Virus] Illness and Death Rates is a Purely Politicized Conjecture,” focused on defending the accuracy of the COVID-19 statistics released by the Chinese government. It stressed that China had always been “transparent and open” and that “some American politicians” had lied about China for political purposes. In its conclusion, the article strongly advised those politicians that “speculation cannot replace facts and defamation can definitely not erase the truth.”
5.6 The sixth article, entitled “Despite ‘Love Others as Oneself’ Prattle, [the US] is Actually Selfish and Cold-Hearted,” asked “what has the US done for itself and the world amidst the pandemic?” and accused the US of slandering China by calling the Chinese aid to other countries “generosity politics” (慷慨政治), “geo-expansion” (地缘扩张), and “mask diplomacy” (口罩外交). It further criticized the US for ignoring the WHO’s early warnings, “passing the buck” to China, the WHO, and immigrants, and sanctioning Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.
5.7 The seventh article, entitled “Shifting Blame and Responsibility is Naked ‘Political Extortion,’” denounced the US for spreading the rumors that China concealed epidemic information and that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab. It quoted the WHO’s statement and an article from the journal Nature Medicine to argue the natural origin of the virus and mentioned a few crises for which the international community could have demanded from the US, including the “Spanish flu,” AIDS, and the 2008 financial crisis. The article ended by recommending US politicians to spend more time on preventing and controlling the epidemic and treating patients and less time on false accusations and extortions.
PD Commentator Article: “What Rubbish Is this Living Fossil of the Cold War Trying to Sell?”
5.4 People’s Daily published a page-three Commentator Article criticizing former Senior Counselor to the President as a “living fossil of the Cold War” (冷战活化石) for accusing China of concealing information, profiting from the pandemic, and even manufacturing the virus. After claiming that a recent series of remarks from Bannon “imagine a sensationalized ‘Cold War situation’” and “have incited some American politicians to propose anti-China legislation in Congress,” the article stressed that “starting rumors to smear China’s anti-epidemic actions is a challenge to international justice and universally accepted truth and is also a provocation to the 1.4 billion Chinse people. The international community will not accept [this], and all Chinese people also absolutely will not tolerate [it].” The article added that “authoritative research results” and “international organization specialists’ conclusions” both constituted “a forceful counterattack on those words and deeds that stigmatize China.” It concluded: “Bannon is moving against the tide and opposes the general trends of the world. His ugly and comical performances, no matter the aim he would like to achieve [through them], inevitably will not prevail.”
United Front Work
Hongkongers that Love the Country and Love Hong Kong Launch the “Hong Kong Coalition”
5.5 A ceremony was held for the founding of the Hong Kong Coalition (香港再出发大联盟). The organization’s Joint Statement called for adherence to “One Country, Two Systems” and held that a “return to the rule of law” is necessary to save Hong Kong’s economy from decline. According to Xinhua, the organization aims to “unite people from all walks of life, gather consensus, and find a way out for Hong Kong.” The new organization is headed by Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) National Committee Vice Chairmen Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) and CY Leung (梁振英), both former chief executives of Hong Kong, and claims 1,545 members. Members include Hong Kong’s wealthiest man, Henderson Land Development founder Lee Shau-kee (李兆基), Chinese University of Hong Kong President Rocky Tuan (段崇智), former Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen (袁國強), and world-renowned epidemiologist Gabriel Leung (梁卓偉).
The CCP Central Committee Holds a Symposium with Non-CCP Members, Xi Jinping Presides and Gives an Important Speech
5.8 The CCP Central Committee held a symposium in Zhongnanhai (中南海) with other political parties’ members, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC, 全国工商联), and non-party affiliated persons, to hear opinions and suggestions on coronavirus prevention and control. Speeches were made by Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (民革中央) Chairman Wan Exiang (万鄂湘), China Democratic League (中国民主同盟) Central Committee Chairman Ding Zhongli (丁仲礼), China National Democratic Construction Association (中国民主建国会) Central Committee Chairman Hao Mingjin (郝明金), China Association for Promoting Democracy (中国民主促进会) Central Committee Chairman Cai Dafeng (蔡达峰), the Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party (中国农工民主党) Central Committee Chairman Chen Zhu (陈竺), China Zhi Gong Party (中国致公党) Central Committee Chairman Wan Gang (万钢), Jiusan Society (九三学社) Central Committee Chairman Wu Weihua (武维华), and Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (台湾民主自治同盟) Central Committee Chairman Su Hui (苏辉). The ACFIC Chairman Gao Yunlong (高云龙) Sun Qixin (孙其信) made a speech on behalf of non-party affiliated personnel. They spoke on how the entire Chinese nation has united to achieve strategic results in the battle for epidemic prevention and control under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core.
Afterwards, Xi Jinping gave a speech in which he said the party insists on placing the lives and health of the people first and celebrated the achievements in controlling the situations in Wuhan and Hubei within three months. Xi Jinping praised the important role played by the democratic parties, ACFIC, and non-party affiliated people in fighting the epidemic, emphasized adhering to centralized unified the leadership of the CCP in the struggle against the virus, and the importance of regional integration and coordinating. Xi went on to say that the challenges of coronavirus have exposed the weaknesses in China’s epidemic prevention measures and public health system, requiring additional reform. Xi Jinping advised firmly following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, promote and implement the “six stabilities” (六稳) and “six safeguards” (六保), and help create a positive atmosphere in the realm of public opinion.
Li Keqiang (李克强) delivered information about the overall epidemic prevention and control situation. Wang Yang (汪洋) and Wang Huning (王沪宁) were in attendance.
5.6 International Department Assistant Head Li Mingxiang (李明祥) delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of an online seminar for Ethiopian Prosperity Party (PP) cadres. The ceremony also featured a speech from PP Public Relations and International Relations Department Head Awelu Abdi.