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Weekly Report 4|12 1.16.2021-1.29.2021


The Politburo convened a meeting to review work reports of state bodies (see Senior Leaders section).

People’s Daily’s Zhong Sheng column, which was primarily used to attack Trump administration officials over the past few years, struck a more conciliatory tone regarding the Biden administration, suggesting areas for mutual cooperation (see Propaganda Work section).

Xi Jinping spoke at the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s fifth plenary session (see Party Discipline section).


Senior Leaders

Xi Jinping: Correctly Understanding and Grasping the Important Problems in Medium- and Long-term Economic Planning

1.21 Qiushi reprinted a speech made by Xi Jinping on August 24th, 2020, at an expert panel on socio-economic development, hosted to gather feedback on the “Fourteenth Five-Year Plan”.

In the speech, Xi emphasized six points that would be crucial to China’s future development.

  • First, one should approach new opportunities and challenges with a critical mind. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences have disrupted the world order, and China has also entered a new stage of development. Such changes should be embraced proactively.

  • Second, Chinese economic development should be mainly driven by domestic circulation and complemented by international circulation. This signaled that future efforts would be focused on transforming China into a domestic consumption-led economy.

  • Third, technological innovation would be the key driver of future economic development. Self-sufficiency must be achieved in key emerging technologies.

  • Fourth, deepening reform would bring vitality to this new stage of development. Future reforms should be focused on perfecting laws and government regulations, as well as breaking down bureaucratic and institutional economic barriers.

  • Fifth, international trade and cooperation should be conducted at a higher standard. China should proactively engage with foreign countries, regions, and companies that are willing to work with Chinese counterparts. Interestingly, Xi also explicitly mentioned American states, localities and companies as a part of this list.

  • Sixth, equitable development must be pursued to maintain stability in a rapidly changing society. Better employment, a wider social safety net, a stronger public health system, and sustainable population growth are all essential in the development process.

To close the speech, Xi reiterated the importance of applying Marxist theories on political economy to understand China’s economic trajectory.

Guo Shengkun Emphasizes: Take a Clear-Cut Political Stand and Implement It in All Aspects and Processes of Political and Legal Work

1.16 Politburo member and Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Secretary Guo Shengkun (郭声琨) presided over the Commission’s plenary meeting, during which he emphasized the study and implementation of Xi Jinping’s recent important instructions regarding political and legal work.

Guo highlighted that political bodies are the most important among the political and legal work apparatus. Thus, political bodies must adhere to the centrality of party leadership, under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s Thought on the New Era. Guo demanded that all political and legal work should be based on the context of the new stage of development. They should focus on cultivating a systematic mindset, rule-of-law thought, and strong grassroot-level guidance. Social stability needs to be maintained to complement epidemic prevention and control work.

Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi (赵克志), President of the Supreme People’s Court Zhou Qiang (周强), and Attorney General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate Zhang Jun (张军) were also present at the meeting.

Xi Jinping Hears Work Report from Carrie Lam, Han Zheng in Attendance

1.27 Xi Jinping heard Carrie Lam’s 2020 work report on Hong Kong via video conference.

Xi said that he was “very concerned, and worried” about the fourth wave of Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, and that he sent his regards to all people of Hong Kong.

Xi acknowledged Carrie Lam’s efforts to stabilize Hong Kong over the past year, amid the anti-extradition bill protests, coronavirus outbreaks, and economic recovery. He said that such efforts “have yielded certain results.” He praised Lam for being resolute in reinforcing the National Security Law passed by the National People’s Congress. Her actions demonstrated her firm political stance on the question of national security, and showed her patriotism and her love for the people of Hong Kong.

According to Xi, the lesson from the stabilization of Hong Kong was that the “one country two systems” model must be resolutely upheld, and that we must adhere to “patriots rule Hong Kong,” a considerable change from “Hong Kongers rule Hong Kong,” which had been the usual rhetoric of the central leadership regarding governing Hong Kong. Only through “patriots ruling Hong Kong” (爱国者治港), Xi says, can the central government achieve comprehensive administrative authority over Hong Kong.

Lam expressed gratitude to the central leadership’s concern, and she promised that she would do all that she can to advance Hong Kong as a city.

Lastly, Xi sent his regards to the members in Lam’s government who are affected by “nonsensical” American sanctions.

Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正), Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Secretariat Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥), Politburo member and Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Secretary Guo Shengkun (郭声琨), Director of the Central United Front Work Department You Quan (尤权), Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Director of the State Council Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (夏宝龙) were all present.

Xi Jinping Hears Work Report from Ho Iat Seng, Han Zheng in Attendance

1.27 Xi Jinping heard Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng’s 2020 work report via video conference.

Xi Jinping congratulated Ho in Macau’s prevention and control efforts against the spread of Covid-19, with no local new infections for over 300 days. Xi expressed approval in the Ho’s governance of Macau, specifically in maintaining social harmony, and developing the economy.

Xi remarked that the central government pays great attention to Macau’s development. He said that central leadership would help Macau “moderately” diversify its economy and support Macau in upholding national security and continuing the “one country two systems” model.

Ho replied that he appreciates the concern and assistance of the central leadership. He would uphold national security and national laws, and align Macau with the “Fourteenth Five-Year Plan” development goals, all under the framework of “one country two systems.”

Vice Premier Han Zheng (韩正), Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Secretariat Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥), Politburo member and Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Secretary Guo Shengkun (郭声琨), Director of the Central United Front Work Department You Quan (尤权), Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Director of the State Council Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (夏宝龙) were all present.

CCP Central Committee Politburo Convenes a Meeting

1.28 The CCP Central Committee Politburo convened a meeting to review work reports by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (全国人大常委会), the State Council (国务院), the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (全国政协), the Supreme People's Court (最高人民法院), the Supreme People's Procuratorate (最高人民检察院), and the CCP Central Secretariat (中国共产党中央书记处). The most prominent themes of the meeting were building capacity for grassroots governance and inspection work. The Politburo “fully affirmed” the work of these committees in 2020 and approved their work plans for 2021. The meeting also highlighted its timing, marking both the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party and the beginning of the 14th Five Year Plan. To this end, Politburo members were urged to “adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, strengthen the ‘four consciousnesses’ (四个意识), consolidate the ‘four confidences’ (四个自信), and achieve the ‘two defends’ (两个维护) based on the overall situation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people strategy and the world [undergoing] great changes unseen in a century.”

The Politburo meeting also emphasized “moderniz[ing] the grassroots governance system and governance capacity” as an “important part of the work of fully building a modern socialist country.” It additionally emphasized the importance of “strengthen[ing] the Party’s leadership over grassroots governance” and of using the “political and organizational advantages of grassroots Party organizations” to achieve effective governance. The meeting stressed that this grassroots governance system would combine “autonomy, rule of law, and rule of virtue under the leadership of Party organizations,” and specifically addressed the prevention and control of Covid-19. Finally, the meeting discussed the work of the Central Leading Small Group for Inspection Work (中央巡视工作领导小组), affirming its work in 2020 and approving its work plan for 2021. Notable themes for inspection work included “adher[ing] to the political orientation of inspection work, in-depth implement[ation] of inspection work policy, accurately apply[ing] political inspection work requirements, focus[ing] on the fundamental mission of the ‘two defends’ (两个维护),” and closely supervising the major deployments of the 14th Five Year Plan.


Propaganda Work

Zhong Sheng: China’s Determination to Defend National Interests is Unswerving

1.22 People’s Daily published the first Zhong Sheng (钟声) commentary of 2020 following new US President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The commentary focused on the sanctions Beijing announced against 28 US individuals on 21 January. The commentary accused “some anti-China US politicians, due to their own selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred toward China, [of] disregard[ing] the Chinese and American peoples’ interests, repeatedly br[eaking] through the bottom line of morality and international law, and plot[ting] and promot[ing] carrying out a series of crazy actions.” It also criticized the politicians for “reviv[ing] the specter of ‘McCarthyism,’ damaging ties between China and the United States… thus once again dragging China and the United States into a trap of major power conflict and confrontation.” It asserted that the “poison” of these politicians’ views and actions had caused the Trump administration to make the “fundamental mistake” of “taking China as the [United States’] greatest strategic competitor,” thereby “bringing China-US relations into the most severe situation since establishing diplomatic relations.” The commentary maintained that “respect for one another’s core interests is the foundation and prerequisite for developing China-US relations” before naming Taiwan-, Hong Kong-, Tibet-, and Xinjiang-related issues as examples of China’s core interests and stating that China “cannot allow any external forces’ interference.” It warned, “No one can hope that China will swallow the bitter fruit of harming [its] national sovereignty, security, and development interests. China does not provoke trouble but is not afraid of getting into trouble. We have said many times that those who seriously harm China’s national interests will inevitably pay a heavy price. China does what it says. Any country and force should not have any fantasy about it.” The commentary emphasized the importance of “healthy and stable” China-US relations, noting that this is the “international community’s joint expectation” before concluding by stating that “We hope that the new US administration complies with the people’s wishes, views China rationally and objectively, meets the Chinese side halfway, and, based on the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, pushes China-US relations back to the right track of healthy and stable development as soon as possible.”

Zhong Sheng: Global Cooperation to Fight the Epidemic Requires Major Powers to Hold Hands

1.28 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng commentary that discussed the ongoing epidemic as an opportunity for China-US joint cooperation and mutual benefit. The commentary noted that “President Biden recently announced a national strategy to respond to the epidemic situation and signed many executive orders related to fighting the epidemic” and stated that “the international community… looks forward to the new administration strengthening unity and cooperation with all countries.” It then pivoted to criticize the Trump administration for “attack[ing] and withdr[awing] from the World Health Organization (WHO) at a critical juncture,” “‘politiciz[ing]’ and stigmatiz[ing]’” the epidemic, and “seiz[ing] supplies to fight the epidemic,” actions that “damaged the general trend of global unity to fight the epidemic and led to a great amount of criticism.” The commentary noted that “The United States is experiencing [its] darkest period since the outbreak of the epidemic situation” and has experienced a higher daily average of deaths in January 2021 than on 9/11. It further stated that “As the world’s two largest economies, China-US cooperation to fight the epidemic is in accordance with the interests of the two countries’ people and is also the international community’s common expectation.” The commentary cited the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2014 Ebola epidemic as examples of successful China-US cooperation and highlighted that cooperation between the two countries’ researchers and scientists is “not only in accordance with the interests of the United States, but also can help save the lives of people in other countries.” It also mentioned China’s large-scale donation of masks, gloves, and ventilators to the United States since March 2020 and asserted that “The Chinese side has believed all along that only by crossing a river in the same boat (同舟共济) and joining hands to cooperate can we protect the health and well-being of all of humanity.” The commentary concluded by urging the United States to “meet China halfway” to help the world “promptly leave the haze of the epidemic situation.”


United Front Work

National United Front Work Department Directors Meeting Held in Beijing, Wang Yang Present and Gave Speech

1.18 Politburo Standing Committee member and Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Wang Yang (汪洋) spoke at a meeting of United Front Work Department directors from around the country.

Wang said the New Era poses new challenges and complexities to united front work. “We need to unite all the forces that we can unite,” he said, “and we need to mobilize all active factors that we can mobilize.”

Wang made remarks about united front work pertaining to ethnic minorities and religious affairs. He emphasized that united front work among ethnic minorities should be pursued under the framework of the Chinese nation collective, and religion-related work should center around “sinicizing religion,” guiding religion integration with socialism.

Secretary of the Central Secretariat, Director of the Central United Front Work Department You Quan (尤权) also spoke at the meeting. He affirmed that all united front work must adhere to central Party leadership. All cadres should deeply study and implement the “CCP United Front Work Regulations,” as well as Xi Jinping’s important thoughts on improving united front work.


Party Discipline

Xi Jinping Delivers Important Speech to Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s Fifth Plenum

1.22 The Fifth Plenum of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) was held in Beijing. Xi made a speech on strengthening party discipline work at all levels as China enters the first year of the “Fourteenth Five-Year Plan” and toward building a modern socialist country.

Xi emphasized the importance of strict party governance at all levels. Although anti-corruption efforts since the 18th Party Congress have yielded strong results, many ills still run deep. Xi enumerated the intertwining political and economic problems and the more covert and complex nature of corrupt behavior as major challenges. Anti-corruption work is always an uphill battle against corrupt forces, Xi said.

Xi remarked that establishing clean party governance is always in progress and so is anti-corruption work. Cadres responsible for party discipline must always remain vigilant so that socialism with Chinese characteristics can triumph over the dynastic cycle of peak and demise.

Xi emphasized the need to establish effective oversight mechanisms. In particular, corrupt behaviors in the finance sector must be rein in through strengthening supervision. Party cadres at all levels must oppose the “privilege” mindset, and must prohibit their relatives and staff from privilege abuse.

Xi strongly condemned formalism and bureaucratism. Embezzlement of public funds must be cracked down to deliver justice to the masses. The fight against dark and evil forces must be normalized. Anti-corruption efforts should be especially directed to education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection, in order to better serve the people. The people should also be involved in fighting corruption.

Xi emphasized that the CCDI must strengthen its supervisory capabilities, perfect its oversight institutions, and ensure policy implementation at local levels. Only then can the iron army of party discipline cadres be built to commemorate the Party’s centennial.

The Party Secretary of the CCDI Zhao Leji presided over the meeting, and reiterated the importance of implementing Xi’s guidelines. In the afternoon, he delivered a working report titled “Promote High-quality Development of Disciplinary and Oversight Work, Celebrate the Party’s 100th Anniversary with Exceptional Marks.”

Premier Li Keqiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Yang, Party Secretary of the Central Secretariat Wang Huning, Vice Premier Han Zheng, President of the People’s Supreme Court Zhou Qiang, and Attorney General of the Supreme People’s Prosecutorate Zhang Jun were present at the meeting.

Other attendees include important NPC, CPPCC, and CMC cadres. The meeting was held through video and telephone conference. Provincial-level cadres all tuned in as well.

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Fifth Plenum Communiqué

1.24 People’s Daily released the communiqué from the CCDI’s fifth plenum. The communiqué emphasized eight points on enhancing discipline and inspection work for building a modern socialist country.

  1. First, all must implement the “two defends,” study and apply Xi Jinping Thought and Marxist theories. All work must be united around party leadership with Xi Jinping at the core, more tightly than before. All work should revolve around promoting high-quality development, improving people’s standard of living, and enhancing epidemic prevention and control efforts and economic recovery.

  2. Second, resolutely deepen the anti-corruption struggle, simultaneously promoting a system in which officials “do not dare to be corrupt,” “are not able to be corrupt,” and “do not want to be corrupt.” Anti-corruption oversight must deepen in state-owned enterprises, infrastructure building, public resource trading, science and technology management, and the financial sector.

  3. Third, all must further rectify formalism and bureaucratism. Hedonism and extravagance must be strictly punished. Leading cadres must adhere to the regulations regarding business activities of their family members. Abuse of privilege must be strictly restrained.

  4. Fourth, continue rectifying corruption among the masses so that fairness and justice can be delivered to the people and people’s legal rights can be protected. Anti-corruption must be enhanced in food and drug safety, social security, education, healthcare, and law enforcement. The fight against “protective umbrellas” and dark and evil forces must be resolute.

  5. Fifth, inspection of the provincial- and municipal-levels must be enhanced. Such inspections should be also extended to the local grassroots level.

  6. Sixth, various types of inspection and oversight mechanisms should be integrated in order to strengthen the efficacy of such efforts. Vigilance must be paid to behaviors such as buying and selling government posts and buying votes. All must adhere to regulations on protecting party cadre rights.

  7. Seventh, deepen inspection and oversight reform in order to perfect intra-party regulations and national supervision.

  8. Eight, disciplinary work cadres must exercise self-monitoring and self-restraint. They must strengthen their political thought and their knowledge of discipline regulations. Only by setting an example can the country have an iron army of discipline and inspection workers.

The Plenum elected Yu Qiuhong and Fu Kui as deputy party secretaries and standing committee members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.


International Liaison Work

1.21 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) held a videoconference with Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Chair Korneliya Ninova.

1.21 International Department Assistant Head Zhu Rui (朱锐) held a videoconference with Lebanese Future Movement (FM) General Secretary Ahmad El Hariri.

1.26 Qian Hongshan held a videoconference with Romanian National Liberal Party (PNL) Vice President Ioan Bălan.

1.26 International Department Assistant Head Li Mingxiang (李明祥) held a videoconference with Burkinabé People's Movement for Progress (MPP) President Simon Compaoré. Other participants included Chinese Ambassador to Burkina Faso Li Jian (李健) and Burkinabé Ambassador to China Adama Compaoré.

1.26 Zhu Rui attended the closing ceremony of an online training seminar for Iranian Islamic Coalition Party (ICP) cadres. Other attendees included ICP Secretary-General Asadollah Badamchian.

1.27 International Department Deputy Head Shen Beili (沈蓓莉) held a videoconference with Socialist Party of Chile (PS) President Álvaro Elizalde. Other participants included PS Vice President and Socialist International (SI) Vice President Isabel Allende, PS General Secretary Andrés Santander, and Chilean Senate PS Leader José Miguel Insulza.

1.27 Qian Hongshan met with Belgian Ambassador to China Jan Hoogmartens.

1.28 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with Nepali Ambassador to China Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.

1.29 Zhu Rui held a videoconference with Lebanonese Free Patriotic Movement President Gebran Bassil.


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