- David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, Elsa Katz
Weekly Report 3|30 5.9.2020-5.15.2020
The Politburo Standing Committee met to discuss the coronavirus pandemic both at home and abroad, “normalized epidemic prevention and control measures,” and industry chain and supply chain stability and competitiveness. The next day, the Politburo met to review the Government Work Report that will be reviewed by the National People’s Congress this week (see Senior Leaders section).
Official propaganda continued to defend China’s record on its response to the coronavirus outbreak and cast China as assuming a high level of responsibility in the global fight against the pandemic (see Propaganda Work section).
The Party continues to focus on poverty alleviation efforts. A commentary featured on the CCDI-NSC website emphasized that “as the end [of poverty] is reaching the string must be tightened” (see Party Discipline section).
Xi Jinping Visits Shanxi for Inspection and Investigation
5.11 Xi Jinping traveled to villages in Shanxi to investigate poverty alleviation work in the area. Following improvements in the efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, Xinhua reported Xi continued to “press the fast forward button” (快进键) on overcoming poverty. On one stop, Xi toured a daylily farm, which has been a leading industry of the area for years, to investigate and research the situation of villagers relying on industry to “shake off poverty and build a fortune” (脱贫致富). During his tour, Xi was pictured sitting on a "kang" (土炕) with villagers, emulating the focal point of life in northern China. Xi also toured the Yungang Grottoes.
Xi Jinping Presides Over Politburo Standing Committee Meeting
5.14 The Politburo Standing Committee met to discuss the coronavirus pandemic both at home and abroad, “normalized epidemic prevention and control measures,” and industry chain and supply chain stability and competitiveness.
During his speech, Xi Jinping said that the situation of the epidemic at home was “generally good,” but that abroad the situation remains “severe and complex” and that preventing a rebound of the outbreak is still an arduous task. He demanded cadres overcome apathy (麻痹思想), war-weariness (厌战情绪), wishful thinking (侥幸心理), and a ‘slackening’ mentality (松劲心态). Xi also emphasized the importance of anti-rebound work and said that places like Heilongjiang and Jilin should be targeted for strengthening prevention and control measures.
The Standing Committee concluded that:
Normalized prevention and control measures should be put into effect and that “[those who] fail to implement the Party Central Committee’s decision-making and deployment are to be dealt with seriously.”
More flexible and effective measures need to be put in place to prevent reimportation of the virus from abroad.
It is necessary to deepen supply-side structural reform, give full-play to the advantage of China’s large-scale market and domestic demand potential, “construct a new development pattern of domestic and international circulation promoting each other.”
Strengthening international cooperation and coordination to jointly maintain the safety and stability of industry and supply chains is necessary.
Politburo Holds Meeting, Discusses Government Work Report
5.15 The Politburo met to review the State Council’s Government Work Report that will be submitted to the third meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress. Xi Jinping presided over the meeting.
The Politburo concluded that “over the past year, China’s development has faced many difficult challenges,” but that the “Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core united and led people of all ethnic groups to overcome difficulties, complete the main goals and tasks of the year, and laid a decisive foundation for the comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society.”
The body emphasized that the “current pandemic situation and global economic situation remain grim and complex and the challenges facing China’s development are unprecedented” and therefore emphasized the necessity of “doing this year’s government work well” “under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.”
Finally, the Politburo said that “we must not relax normalized epidemic prevention and control efforts at all and strive to do a good job in all aspects of economic and social development.”
PD Commentator Series: Join Hands in the Global Fight Against the Pandemic, Manifest China’s Responsibility
People’s Daily began a new commentary series about China’s role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
5.8 The first article, entitled “[China] Hands Out ‘China’s Answer Sheet’ for The Epidemic Defensive War,” focused on applauding China’s epidemic control and prevention measures. Calling the epidemic a “great test” (大考), the article stated that Xi Jinping was personally involved in researching, deploying, and mobilizing resources. It referred to China’s response to the epidemic as taking a “closed-book exam,” in which China successfully contained the spread of the virus. The article cited a research in Science Magazine that showcased the success of China’s prevention and control measures, which precluded “hundreds of thousands of infections.” It stressed that “China’s Answer Sheet” to the epidemic not only “recorded [China’s] arduous and extraordinary efforts” and demonstrated the perseverance of “hundreds of millions of people,” but also embodied China’s “willingness to take on responsibility,” thus conveying “great hope” to the world.
5.9 The second article, entitled “China’s Fight Against the Pandemic Can Be Called ‘A Live Broadcast,’” praised China for its “open and transparent” disclosure of the epidemic information. It stated that “China’s anti-epidemic process has constantly been [shown] in front of the camera, shared on the Internet, and therefore can be called ‘a live broadcast’ to the world.” The article stressed that, since January, Chinese experts have published more than 1,100 papers in English-language academic journals sharing their epidemic research with the international medical community “without reservation.” The article further criticized “some Western politicians” for “wantonly smearing” and “vilifying [others] at all costs” and stated that “those who criticize China for ‘hiding’ are trying to hide something.” The article concluded that China is putting the “concept of a community of shared future for mankind” into practice.
5.10 The third article entitled “‘Life Above All Else’ Demonstrating the Brilliance of Humanity” applauded Xi Jinping, the CCP Central Committee, and the Chinese government for putting people’s life above all else. It listed Xi’s requirement to “make epidemic prevention and control work the most important work at present,” the Central Committee’s decision to lock down Wuhan and mobilize over 40,000 medical workers to support Hubei, the Chinese government’s policy of covering treatment costs for COVID-19 patients, and China’s foreign aid as examples of China’s “humanitarian spirit.”
5.11 The fourth article, entitled “Unite and Win the ‘People’s War’ (人民战争),” praised the Chinese people for their solidarity, strength, and unity in overcoming the epidemic. It quoted Xi as saying that “Chinese people are the ones that give us strength and confidence to overcome this epidemic” and that “the people are the real heroes.” To demonstrate Chinese people’s unity and patriotism, the article highlighted the “great sacrifices and dedication” of the residents of Wuhan, medical workers, scientists, and party cadres. It stated that these “countless civilian heroes” showed love and loyalty to their country before saying that united, “this ‘people’s war’ against the epidemic will be won.”
5.12 The fifth article, entitled “Chinese Assistance Is Evidence that ‘the Wind and Moon Are Under the Same Sky’” called for the world to uphold the concept of a community of shared future in collaborating to maintain global public health security. It stated that “Chinese people will never forget the support and help given by the international community” and that they have strived to give back to these countries by sending supplies and holding online meetings between experts. At the end, it pledged that China will “actively contribute China wisdom (中国智慧), China experience (中国经验), and China strength (中国力量)” to the international community to combat the virus.
5.13 The sixth article entitled “Join Hands in Scientific Research to Share a Destiny” stressed the importance of science and international cooperation to build a warmer and stronger world. It lauded China for creating seven COVID-19 treatment plans and six prevention and control plans within 50 days, publishing over 1,100 papers on English journals, promoting international cooperation in scientific research, and sharing its experience with the world. It stressed that China “deeply believes ‘international cooperation is the only way out in the global anti-pandemic [battle]” and thus, China proposed the concept of building a “a community of human health” (人类卫生健康共同体).
5.14 The seventh article was entitled “Chinese Products Help the Global Anti-Epidemic [Fight].” It praised China for exporting “strategic supplies,” including masks, protective clothing, test kits, and ventilators, to 194 countries and regions. It stressed that China has never applied any restrictions on its medical supply exports — while 80 countries around the world have or had banned or restricted such exports. It stated that all products were subject to quality assurance checks and that China’s exports of anti-epidemic supplies have substantially increased since April. It stressed that the rapid increase in exports embodied “Chinese people’s deep understanding of sharing a destiny [with the world] and Chinese enterprises’ bravery and willingness to take on responsibility for the global [fight] against the pandemic.”
Zhong Hualun: On the Great Historic Achievement of National Rejuvenation——China’s 2020 Anti-Epidemic Record
5.10 Xinhua published a commentary under the pen name “Zhong Hualun” (钟华论), which likely stands for “China commentary” (中华评论), tracking China’s success in combating the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The article began with cheers of achievements in combating the epidemic alongside pictures praising fearlessness or noting hard work in combating the virus. One picture reads, “No matter how slow and long the winter is, it cannot prevent the spring’s footsteps.” Continuing to commend efforts across China, the article noted Xi Jinping’s personal effort to help the country succeed and the importance of the Party in guiding the people. Much of the article focused on Wuhan and the CCP’s assistance in overcoming the crisis. Underscoring national unity in support for Wuhan, Zhong Hualun wrote, “Wuhan was never an ‘isolated island,’ Hubei was never a stranded army in battle.” The article continued to note the importance of party leadership in the midst of crisis: “Since reform and opening, our party has led people to adapt to turbulent situations, to level storms, combat floods, guard against SARS, defy earthquakes, and control pandemics, repeatedly arriving at a single conclusion: Socialism With Chinese Characteristics has strong vitality and outstanding superiority.”
Zhong Jingwen: The Great Test of ‘Novel Coronavirus’ — An Outstanding Answer Sheet on the Ability to Govern the Country and Manage State Affairs
5.11 The Economic Daily published a commentary under the pen name Zhong Jingwen (钟经文), likely standing for “important Economic Daily article (重要经济日报文章), praising China’s performance in controlling the coronavirus outbreak. The article identifies four “great tests” (大考) that China passed to ultimately succeed in achieving “major strategic results.”
The first “great test” was “establishing governance capacity.” This section praised China’s centralized response to the pandemic crisis: “Focusing immediately, the course of China’s pandemic fight and its results let the whole world again lament on China’s ‘national capabilities’ and the CCP’s ‘governance capacity.’”
The second was “the great test of technological innovation capacity.” This section praised not only Chinese doctors and medical researchers for devising methods for mitigating the spread of the disease but also the innovative approaches Chinese companies brought to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly drawing attention to how AI diagnosis technology made judgements from CT scans within 20 seconds and 5G technology propped up long-distance medical examinations.
The third test concerned “social administration.” This section stressed the importance of social governance in mitigating the spread of the virus, citing Xi Jinping during his inspection of Beijing: “The community is the front line of jointly preventing the epidemic from spreading, it is also the most effective defensive line for preventing the virus from entering [the community] and internally preventing the spread” of the virus.
The fourth test was of national morale. This section focused on the spiritual strength of the Chinese people and their ability to unify and persevere. Drawing on the example of Wuhan and writings from Chinese authors like Lu Xun (鲁迅), this section focused on the importance of confidence and unity in the face of crisis.
PD Commentator: Firmly Establishing the Conviction That Clear Waters and Green Mountains are Invaluable Assets
5.14 People’s Daily published a front page Commentator Article discussing green development initiatives. The article was published two days after Xi Jinping’s tour of Shanxi, where Xi emphasized revitalization of the Yellow River Basin ecosystem, which was termed “Two mountains, seven rivers, one river basin” (两山七河一流域). This ecosystem revitalization is designed to “guide the formation of green production and lifestyles” and “firmly win the battle of pollution prevention and management.”
“Green development” (绿色发展) has been a major focus of Xi’s recent inspections of Shaanxi, Zhejiang, and Shanxi. The article stated, “Since the 18th Party Congress, significant improvement in ecology and the environment has been one of the historic achievements that wins people’s hearts the most,” going on to say, “The more development is faced with difficulties and challenges, the more [we] have to implement the green development ideas, [we] cannot repeat going down the same old road of polluting first and then managing it after (先污染后治理的老路), [we] cannot make the destruction of the ecosystem the cost [of development].” The article repeatedly stressed the idea of “protecting [the environment] while developing, and developing while protecting [the environment]” (在发展中保护、在保护中发展) and the idea that development in harmony with the environment can produce clean water and air, economic and social benefits, and “a new beautiful China.”
Zhong Sheng: The Farce of Litigating without Restraint (滥诉) is Trampling on International Rule of Law
5.14 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng (钟声) article that decried “some American politicians” for using the law as a tool of “political blackmail” instead of as a means to “maintain fairness and justice.” The article touched on US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s introduction of the “COVID-19 Accountability Act” on 12 May, which would threaten China with sanctions if it does not provide a detailed record of the events surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. According to Zhong Sheng, current international law does not contain any provisions on holding the country that first discovered a virus accountable. It also stressed that the international scientific community had generally formed a consensus, which is that “the novel coronavirus is not man made or genetically modified,” and that “the origin of the novel coronavirus cannot be confirmed at this moment.” The article accused “some US politicians” of using China to “cover up the US government’s own issues” and concluded by recommending that those politicians “prioritize safeguarding people’s life, safety, and health rather than repeatedly harming others and themselves.”
United Front Work
Li Keqiang Presides Over Symposium for Democratic Party Central Committees, ACFIC Head, and Non-Party Affiliated Representative to Hear Suggestions for Government Work Report, Han Zheng Attends
5.11 Li Keqiang held a symposium for the representatives from all democratic parties, the heads of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC, 全国工商联), and non-partisan representatives to hear suggestions on a draft of the “Government Work Report” ahead of the Two Sessions this week. The symposium was also attended by Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正). “Inviting [these figures] to provide opinions and suggestions on the Government Work Report is an important reflection of the CCP-led multi party cooperation and political consultation system,” Li said. Xinhua reported those who spoke agreed “this year, [we] faced the serious shock of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the entire country struggled arduously, and was able to effectively control the epidemic within a short period of time.”
At the meeting, leaders from each party put forward different policy proposals and plans to move forwards and aid various sectors in Chinese society and the economy. Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (民革中央) Chairman Wan Exiang (万鄂湘) centered on helping small and medium sized companies, China Democratic League (中国民主同盟) Central Committee Chairman Ding Zhongli (丁仲礼) discussed macro-policy regarding unemployment and the capacity for employment, China National Democratic Construction Association (中国民主建国会) Central Committee Chairman Hao Mingjin (郝明金) pushed for the upgrade of industrial industry and the remodeling of outdated communities, China Association for Promoting Democracy (中国民主促进会) Central Committee Chairman Cai Dafeng (蔡达峰) proposed bolstering public services, the Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party (中国农工民主党) Central Committee Chairman Chen Zhu (陈竺) focused on strengthening the establishment of public health systems and discussed winning the tough battle on poverty alleviation, China Zhi Gong Party (中国致公党) Central Committee Chairman Wan Gang (万钢) discussed mass undertakings of innovation, Jiusan Society (九三学社) Central Committee Chairman Wu Weihua (武维华) focused on strategies to expand domestic demand and protect the industrial chain (产业链), Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (台湾民主自治同盟) Central Committee Chairman Su Hui (苏辉) focused on programs to aid the elderly and further prompting the integrated development of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, the ACFIC Chairman Gao Yunlong (高云龙) focused on improving business environment, and the representative for non-party affiliated representative Xi Nanhua (席南华) focused on improving skilled labor.
Afterwards, Li Keqiang thanked the participants. He noted the effects coronavirus pandemic and global economic decline and promoted the implementation of the “six stabilities” (六稳) and “six safeguards” (六保; Safeguarding people’s employment, people’s livelihood, the market, food and energy security, industrial and supply chain stability, and basic operations.)
China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Newspaper Commentator: Conscientiously Grasp Supervision to the End and Fully Guarantee Victory in the Tough Battle Against Poverty
5.11 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervision Commission (NSC) website released a commentator article from China Discipline Inspection and Supervision Newspaper, which reaffirmed the Party Central Committee’s commitment to poverty alleviation, emphasizing greater effort and strict attention as efforts against poverty continue. The article cited Xi Jinping’s specific attention to the end game: “as the end is reaching the string must be tightened” (强调越到最后越要紧绷这根弦).
The commentator urged focusing on strengthening the “two no worries and three guarantees” (两不愁三保障；not worrying about food or clothing and guaranteeing compulsory education, basic medical treatment, and housing security), the “four do not removes” (四不摘; not removing responsibility, policy, aid, or oversight) after relieving poverty, and implementing monitoring and aid mechanisms to prevent a return of poverty.
The commentator also pointed out weaknesses in the efforts to relieve poverty, especially focusing on the tendency of some places and work units to be strict at first and slacken later (前紧后松), to be blindly optimistic, and stop to catch their breath (松口气).” Finally, the commentator called on inspection and supervision organs to be confident and resolute: “In accordance with the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CCDI, [they] should further deepen and strengthen their supervision work on anti-poverty [efforts], and strengthen their efforts in rectifying issues of corruption and work style surrounding the masses in order to ensure the complete success in accomplishing the mission of poverty alleviation.”
5.9 Shen Haixiong (慎海雄) was appointed chief editor of China Media Group.
5.9 Wang Junzheng (王君正) was appointed political commissar of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and chairman of the China Xinjian Group.
5.11 Liu Shi (刘实) was appointed head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervisory Commission’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Group at the State Council General Office.
5.13 Dong Xin (董昕) was appointed general manager of China Mobile and deputy secretary of its party group.