Weekly Report 4|10 12.31.2020-1.8.2020
Xi Jinping delivered a New Year’s Message that lauded the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to simultaneously combat Covid-19 and deliver on development goals during 2020 (see Senior Leaders section).
The Central Committee issued revisions to the Regulations on Safeguarding Party Members’ Rights, which stipulate the appropriate channels for party members to criticize other members and party organizations (see Senior Leaders section).
Xi Jinping Delivers a New Year’s Message
12.31 Xi Jinping delivered a New Year’s message on the last day of 2020. Heavily centered on the coronavirus pandemic and China’s response, other prominent themes included the success of the recently-concluded Thirteenth Five-Year Plan and the launch of the Fourteenth Five Year Plan. Xi also touted “historic achievements” in achieving a moderately prosperous society and “decisive victories” for his poverty alleviation initiative, while reaffirming a commitment to “deepen[ing] reform and expand[ing] opening up.” These achievements were firmly situated within Xi’s “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” national agenda, bolstered by references to the Chinese Communist Party’s 2021 centenary.
The speech cast China’s encounter with COVID-19 as a heroic battle, saying that they had used “unity of purpose and fortitude to write the epic of pandemic resistance.” He emphasized that this effort had included the entire nation, citing “angels in white coats,” “people’s soldiers,” “scientific researchers,” “community workers,” “volunteers,” “building engineers,” “the elderly,” and the “post-1990s and post-2000s young generations” for their contributions. He added, “ordinary is great and heroes come from the people.” Building on the epic battle against COVID-19, Xi framed signature achievements in similar language, recounting progress in 2020 toward building a “moderately well-off society” and claiming the Party had “launched the final assault on the bastion of extreme poverty and cracked this ‘hardest nut.’” He also highlighted that China was “the first among the world’s major economies to achieve positive growth.” After commemorating the last hundred years of the Chinese Communist Party’s existence, Xi concluded his speech by looking toward the next hundred, saying, “Standing at the historical intersection of ‘two centuries,’ a new journey of building a modern socialist country is about to begin.”
CCP Central Committee Issues Revised Regulations on Safeguarding Party Members’ Rights
1.5 The Central Committee issued revisions to the Regulations on Safeguarding Party Members’ Rights, first issued in 2004. The regulations were revised in order to “ensure that party members correctly exercise their rights.” The notice of the revisions stated that party members must “correctly understand and handle the dialectical and unified relationship between obligations and rights, and that the exercise of rights must be based upon the premise of fulfilling obligations, assuming responsibilities, and observing discipline.” Article 1 of the regulations says that they are formulated to “uphold the leadership of the party, strengthen party building, promote democracy within the party, protect the rights of the party members, and enhance the vitality of the party.”
Among the most important changes are regulations stipulating how party members can express dissent within the party. Party members may criticize party decisions within approved channels but cannot express such views in public.
According to Article 11, party members have the right “to criticize any party organization or party member orally or in writing at party meetings, expose and demand corrections for shortcomings and problems existing in the work, (and) point out shortcomings and errors of leading cadres and other party members.” They also have the right to “report their opinions on the party organization, leading cadres, and other party members to the party organization to which they belong.” According to the regulations, and criticisms submitted in writing will be reported to the relevant organization. However, these criticisms of party members or organizations must be done through the correct organizational channels and “shall not be spread or disseminated on the internet at will, shall not exaggerate or distort facts, let alone fabricate facts, (or) falsely accuse or frame them.”
According to Article 16, “party members have the right to put forward different opinions within the Party. If they have different opinions on the Party’s resolutions and policies, they have the right to declare reservations to the party organization… and they can submit their opinions to the party’s superior organization…” However, “party members must not publicly express opinions that are inconsistent with decisions of the Central Committee.”
United Front Work
CPC Central Committee Issues Regulations on the CCP’s United Front Work
1.6 People’s Daily published the CPC Central Committee’s revised regulations on the CCP’s united front work. The notice accompanying the revision pointed out that the previous version of the regulations issued in May 2015 “played an important role in consolidating and developing the united front.” According to the notice, the revised regulations are guided by Xi Jinping Thought and “adhere to and strengthen the Party’s centralized and unified leadership on united front work,” among other things. It also stated that “The revision and implementation of the regulations provide extensive strength and support and have important significance for consolidating and developing the broadest patriotic united front, building a modern socialist country, and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.” The notice required Party committees at all levels to carry out united front work and called on the United Front Work Department to strengthen supervision and guidance to ensure the implementation of the revised regulations. The article included the full text of the revised regulations.
Basic Compliance with United Front Work in the New Era—The Head of the UFWD Answered Reporters’ Questions on the “Communist Party of China United Front Work Regulations”
1.6 People’s Daily published United Front Work Department Head You Quan’s press conference about the revision of united front work regulations. Introducing the regulations, he stated that the revision was based on a study of the spirit of the latest party congress, investigations in 20 provinces and autonomous regions, among other considerations. The revision is focused on solving new situations and new problems.
In response to a question about what new regulations have been issued in the revision, he cited Xi Jinping’s important thought on strengthening and improving united front work to “provide basic compliance with the development of united front activity in the new era” and noted that the revisions provide guiding principles for united front work. You Quan stated that a prominent characteristic of the revision is the Party’s centralized and unified leadership in united front work throughout the regulations, which has strengthened the Party’s central role.
In response to a question about specific revisions to united front work, he mentioned a variety of different areas, such as ensuring adherence to the socialist system with Chinese characteristics by democratic parties and people without party affiliation, strengthening the sense of community in ethnic work, adhering to the sinicization of religion in China, improving “One Country, Two Systems,” and opposing “‘Taiwan independence’ splittist activity.” He noted that chapters on “United Front Work on New Social People” and “Overseas United Front and Chinese Affairs Work” were added to emphasize guidance on building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the need to promote the reunification of China, among other things, respectively. He also answered questions on the standardization of united front work responsibilities, institutional set up, and cadre allocation, as well as on the implementation of the regulations. In his responses, he emphasized party unity at all levels, discipline, and accountability.
Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission Publishes “Provisional Regulations for the Management of Active Duty Military Officers” and Related Complementary Legislation with Chairman Xi Jinping’s Approval
1.1 With the approval of Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Xi Jinping, the CMC enacted and published several pieces of legislation pertaining to active duty military officers. The legislation included provisional rules for the selection, management, training, promotion and appointment, and retirement of active duty officers, opinions on the professional development and employment of military officers, and a notice on changes to the military hierarchy. A Xinhua report stated that the legislation “insists on the Party’s absolute leadership over the army, insists on a focus on war preparedness and warfighting, concentrates on the establishment of an officer professionalization system with Chinese characteristics, adjusts and reconstructs the officer hierarchy, [and] innovates and improves the system of the management of officer classification, active service, professional development management, and salary guarantees.”
Central Military Commission Publishes “Regulations for Chinese Communist Party Army Committee (Branch) Work”
1.5 The CMC issued regulations for CCP Army Committee branch work and “required that all levels earnestly implement and execute [them].” According to a Xinhua report, the regulations “implement the overall principles of military commission management and leadership, war zone battle command, and control of military construction”; “insist on a focus on war preparedness and warfighting,” and “set systemic regulations for the work of party committees at and above the regimental level, grassroots party committees, and party branches.” The regulations also “highlight mechanisms for optimized decision-making procedures,” “elaborate on and clarify different levels and different types of party organizations’ institutional setup, composition, and responsibilities,” “clarify secretaires’ and committee members’ basic requirements and responsibilities,” and “issue standards for leadership, supervision, and accountability.”