Weekly Report 4|14 2.6.2021-2.12.2021
Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang visited Guizhou and Shanxi, respectively, where they both celebrated the successful eradication of poverty and emphasized the importance of food price stability (see Senior Leaders section).
Central Party leaders sent Lunar New Year’s greetings to retired CCP leaders, who returned their greetings by communicating their support for Xi Jinping and urging everyone to uphold his leadership (see Senior Leaders section).
The State Administration of Religious Affairs issued new guidelines for managing religious clergy, which mandates a national database for authorized religious leaders (see United Front Work section).
Xi Jinping Visits Guizhou Ahead of Spring Festival, Sends New Years Regards to All People and Ethnicities Nationwide, Wishes Happiness to all, Prosperity and Strength to the Motherland
2.5 Days before Chinese New Year, Xi Jinping went on a three-day visit to Guizhou. His trip reflected several diverse policy themes: poverty alleviation, environmental protection, epidemic prevention, technological innovation, and party history.
Xi inspected Bijie, a formerly impoverished city, and Huawu village, with predominantly Miao communities. He visited villager Zhao Yuxue’s home in Huawu and learned about how her living standards were transformed by poverty alleviation. Xi emphasized the importance of developing indigenous rural industries in creating local employment opportunities, so that local communities can be empowered.
Xi then went to the banks of Wujiang, the biggest river in Guizhou. He inspected local fish conservation and river cleaning initiatives. Xi said that environmental protection must progress alongside economic development.
Xi continued his visit to Guiyang on February 4th, where he went to a local grocery store in Guanshanhu District for price inspection. He told accompanying provincial officials, Guizhou Party Secretary Shen Yiqin (谌贻琴) and Governor Li Bingjun (李炳军), to ensure food safety and supply for the holidays, in conjunction with prevention and control efforts against coronavirus outbreaks. He also said that this grocery store presented an innovative small-business model that benefits farmers and urban consumers, a model worth replicating elsewhere. In addition, Xi also praised grassroots party organizing and social services coverage in Guanshanhu.
Next, Xi met with research personnel responsible for the 500-meter wide radio telescope, known as “Tianyan” (中国天眼). After watching a video demonstration of “Tianyan”’s operations, Xi spoke about the importance of science and technology innovation in China’s development.
Xi’s Guizhou visit concluded with hearing work reports from provincial officials. During the morning meeting on February 5th, Xi emphasized Guizhou’s importance in party history, as the province of the Zunyi meeting and of the Long March. Xi urged provincial officials to study party history, and apply the spirit of the Long March to development and anti-corruption in the New Era.
Secretary of the Central Secretariat Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥), Vice Premier Liu He (刘鹤), Head of the Central Organization Department Chen Xi (陈希), and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference He Lifeng (何立峰) accompanied Xi during this trip.
Xi Inspects Air Force Aviation Division Ahead of the New Year, Sends New Year Regards to All PLA and People’s Armed Police Commanders, Soldiers, and Staff
2.6 After Xi concluded his 3-day visit to Guizhou, he visited an aviation division in the PLA Air Force to send his New Year’s regards to commanders, officers, and epidemic prevention staff.
During his visit, he first went to the division’s hospital to hear reports on the epidemic prevention and control efforts for the troops and their support of local civilian epidemic control. Xi cautioned vigilance for the New Years ahead, as local population movement would increase and as Covid-19 infections abroad are still severe. Xi also visited a crew members’ building to learn about their daily life and New Years celebration preparations.
In particular, Xi inspected a certain special aircraft and its functions. The name of the aircraft was not specified, but it is important in information warfare. Xi said, control of information is the key to winning modern wars.
Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia (张又侠) accompanied the visit.
Ding Xuexiang at National Meeting of Party History and Archives Departments: Deepen the Study of Xi Jinping Thought on the New Era, Keep Creating New Outlooks for Party History and Archives Work
2.7 Secretary of the Central Secretariat Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥) held a virtual conference meeting with party history and archives departments across the country. He emphasized the importance of deepening the study and propaganda of party history, especially Xi Jinping Thought. This year’s most important work of all, Ding said, is to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Party history education should revolve around the important occasion. It’s the party history and archives departments’ duty to urge party members to strengthen the ‘four consciousnesses’ (四个意识), consolidate the ‘four confidences’ (四个自信), achieve the ‘two defends’ (两个维护). Officials responsible for party history departments should further the research and interpretation of Xi Jinping Thought on the New Era.
Xi Jinping’s Reply to Letter sent by Party Members in Beizhuang Village, Hebei: Better Unite the Villagers, Let Village Life be More and More Vibrant
2.9 Grassroots party members in Beizhuang Village, located in Xibaipo township, Pinshan County, Hebei, wrote a letter to Xi Jinping about local poverty alleviation efforts, and how the famous song “Uniting is Strength” (团结就是力量) has inspired them to strive for a better life for villagers. The song was originally composed in 1943 by party members in Xibaipo, but it quickly became a rallying song for all party members across the country. Xi’s reply referenced the lyrics of the song, “this strength is iron, this strength is steel.”
He expressed his joy for Beizhuang village’s success in eradicating poverty. He praised local party members as having inherited the “red gene.” Their achievement, Xi said, demonstrated that the history of the CCP is a 100 years of leading the masses to strive for a better life.
The full version of Xi’s reply letter was not published. According to the article, the full reply will be released at a later date.
Li Keqiang Inspects Shanxi: Meet the Expectations with Dedication and Hard Work, Concretely Fulfill Work to Better People’s Wellbeing
2.9 Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) visited Shanxi accompanied by provincial Party Secretary Lou Yangsheng (楼阳生) and Governor Lin Wu (林武). He went to the township and rural areas of Yuncheng City. Similar to Xi’s visit to Guizhou, Li also went to markets for the New Year and to a formerly impoverished village. In addition, his visit focused on local-level social services designed to improve rural residents’ well-being.
At the New Year's markets of Dongguo township, Li Keqiang bought local new year specialties and inquired about food prices and supply status.
Li then visited a local village home in Wu village, where poverty was recently eradicated. He asked about the villagers’ living standards and whether they have the necessities for the winter. Li said that heating sources should be tailored to suit local needs, whether they be coal, or gas, or plant-based materials.
Li also went to a local home in a low-quality housing neighborhood. Residents told Li about the poor water management and the lack of heating, and that they earnestly want the neighborhood to be renovated. Li said that the national government would respond to people’s wishes and begin neighborhood renovations soon.
Lastly, Li visited a Zhongtong logistics center to inspect how it deals with demand surge for deliveries over the New Year. After hearing that the delivery cost has consistently dropped for two years, Li emphasized that delivery and logistics services are key arteries of economic circulation.
Secretary General of the State Council Xiao Jie (肖捷) and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference He Lifeng (何立峰) accompanied Li during the visit.
Central Party Leaders Send New Year’s Greetings to Old Comrades
2.9 Central party and state leaders led by Xi Jinping sent their New Year’s regards to old comrades, who were previously part of the central leadership. The article listed the names of the 110 old comrades. Among them were former General Party Secretaries Jiang Zemin（江泽民）and Hu Jintao（胡锦涛）(in that order), former premiers Zhu Rongji (朱镕基) and Wen Jiabao (温家宝). There were also former Chairmen of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo (吴邦国）and Zhang Dejiang（张德江), former Chairmen of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Li Ruihuan (李瑞环), Yu Zhengsheng（俞正声）, and Jia Qinglin (贾庆林）, and former Vice President Zeng Qinghong. Former Party Secretaries of Xinjiang were also included in the list.
According to the article, the old comrades all expressed approval for Xi’s governance as head of the Party and the Chinese government, saying that he had delivered “an answer acceptable to the Chinese people” and “worthy of being recorded in history.” They urged all Chinese people and nationalities to unite around Party leadership with Xi Jinping at its core.
The article demonstrates unanimous support for Xi at the head of the Party and attempts to cast out doubts among those who might suspect previous generations of leaders disagree with Xi’s leadership style. In the context of the 20th Party Congress taking place in 2022, this article could also be providing justification for Xi to remain as the head of state.
CCP Central Committee and State Council Hold a Spring Festival Reception
2.11 People’s Daily published an article on the CCP Central Committee and State Council’s Spring Festival reception on 10 February. The article gave a recap of Xi Jinping’s speech, highlighting the main points. In his speech, Xi noted the “unstable and sudden changes” and “encouraging moves forward” this past year and cited examples of China’s successes in many fields as evidence of the strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Party’s leadership. He stated that “comprehensively building a well-off society to achieve the first centenary goal” is a “milestone” but that it is only one crucial step toward the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and that more work remains to be done. Afterwards, he highlighted the importance of implementing the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the CCP, the new development concept, constructing a new development pattern, and starting off the “14th Five-Year Plan” well.
Xi also lauded the achievements of the CCP in the past 100 years and encouraged further progress, noting that the CCP has “developed into the world’s largest Marxist ruling party, which has gone through a glorious course of one hundred years, has been the ruling party in the largest socialist country for more than 70 years, and has more than 91 million party members” and that “[It] has received the most widespread support and endorsement of 1.4 billion Chinese people.” He concluded his speech by making an analogy about 2021 being the year of the ox, noting that “[the ox] is a symbol of hard work, dedication, advancing bravely, and strength” and that people should carry forward the spirit of the ox.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克强), Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Politburo Standing Committee member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee Chair Wang Yang (汪洋), Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning (王沪宁), Politburo Standing Committee member and Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Zhao Leji (赵乐际), Politburo Standing Committee member and Vice Premier of the State Council Han Zheng (韩正), and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山) attended.
Zhong Sheng: Firmly Oppose the Rude British Suppression of Chinese Media
2.6 People’s Daily commentator Zhong Sheng （钟声）voiced strong opposition against the British regulator Office of Communication (Ofcom)’s decision to revoke the license of China Global Television Networks, the international branch of China Central Television (CCTV). The regulator’s decision was based on CGTN’s political affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party, which violated British broadcasting laws. Zhong called the UK move as political manipulation, violating the principle of media without barriers, and harming the common interests of the Chinese and British people.
Zhong said the political assault against CGTN was planned all along. Back in February, 2020, Ofcom launched an investigation against CGTN operations in the UK. In May, Ofcom said it would be issuing restrictions against CGTN for its reporting of the “violent riots in Hong Kong.” Zhong defended CGTN’s report as “objective and impartial” as it regularly reported the violence committed by rioters. Zhong called British actions as senseless and enforcing double standards, preaching media freedom on the one hand and on the other hand cracking down on Chinese media for political purposes.
Zhong stated that CGTN has a good international reputation and has a team of journalists dedicated to “objective, fair, true, and accurate” reporting. The Chinese authorities reserve the right to respond to British actions and to defend the rights and interests of Chinese media.
On February 11th, the National Radio and Television Administration issued an announcement to prohibit all operations of BBC within China. The announcement cited “lack of true and objective reporting,” “hurting Chinese national interest,” and “undermining the unity of the Chinese people” as reasons behind the ban.
United Front Work
Wang Yang Attends Spring Festival Symposium for Leaders of Religious Groups
2.7 Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) attended a Spring Festival symposium for national religious leaders in Beijing. At the symposium, he extended New Year’s greetings to national religious leaders and religious believers throughout the country on behalf of Xi Jinping and the CCP Central Committee.
In his official remarks, Wang emphasized the role of religious groups in “uniting the masses of religious believers” in service of the Party’s and country’s development, according to the 14th Five Year Plan. Noting the juncture of the Chinese Communist Party centennial, Wang called for the development of “unity and cooperation” between Chinese religious groups and the CCP, stating that religious groups should “firmly support the CCP’s leadership and continuously promote the ‘five identities’ [五个认同].” He also stressed the need to “persist in the ‘sinicization’ of religion”--a longstanding priority of the CCP’s religious work--and to construct a “religious ideology with Chinese characteristics.” Addressing the education, training, and oversight of religious personnel, Wang highlighted the importance of “improv[ing] internal systems and norms,” improving management and self-regulation, and “strengthen[ing] religious groups’ influence and cohesion in the fight against religious chaos.” Secretary of the CCP Central Committee Secretariat and United Front Work Department Head You Quan (尤权) also attended.
“Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” Released, Scheduled to Go into Effect on May 1st 2021
2.9 The State Administration for Religious Affairs released the “Administration Measures for Religious Clergy” set to go into effect on May 1st this year. Since the publication of the amended “Regulations on Religious Affairs” in August 2017, "Measures" is the second regulations document dedicated to managing religious affairs in China. It creates an national database of authorized religious clergy. According to the official website of the United Front Work Department, “Measures” is key in advancing the “sinicization” of religion in China.
The first chapter emphasized that religious personnel must be patriotic. They must support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and embrace the socialist system.
The second chapter specified the rights and obligations of religious personnel. They have the right to organize religious activities, charity events, and conduct religious research, but they are also obligated to instruct religious groups to be patriotic, law-abiding, and to prevent the spread of religious extremism and foreign religious interference. They are prohibited from engaging in separatist, terrorist, and subversive activities, nor are they allowed to spread religion outside religious schools or through non-profit work. Donation acceptance, domestic and foreign, is subject to national regulations.
The third to six chapters elaborated on documentation, registration, and certification of religious personnel. These regulations required close cooperation between local religious groups and local bureaus of religious affairs. The coordination between local and national administrative levels was to be strengthened as well. In particular, article 33 of chapter five proposes a national database of religious personnel managed by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, with up-to-date personal information provided by local officials.
Violations were to be dealt with accordingly based on the “Regulations om Religious Affairs.”
Former Vice Mayor and Public Security Head of Shanghai Gong Dao’an Fired from Party Membership and Posts for Violation of Laws and Principles
2.10 According to the Central Commission of Discipline and Inspection (CCDI), Former Vice Mayor and Public Security Head of Shanghai Gong Dao’an chronically used public funds and cars for banquets, violated regulations in appointing cadres for self-benefit, illegally pursued for-profit businesses himself and facilitated such activities for his relatives. He abused his power to accumulate wealth through bribes and illegal reimbursement of expenses by subsidiary bureaus and by private enterprises. The CCDI decided to revoke his party membership and to fire him from his posts.
International Liaison Work
2.8 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) held a videoconference with United Russia General Council Deputy Secretary Andrei Klimov.