Weekly Report 4|16 2.27.2021-3.5.2021
This year’s Two Sessions commenced in Beijing, with the fourth session of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opening on 4 March and the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) opening on 5 March (see Two Sessions section).
The CCP continued to promote its new Party History Study and Education campaign throughout the entire Party and military in order to mark the first centenary of the CCP’s founding (see Senior Leaders and CMC sections).
Wang Yang: Transform the Advantages of the CPPCC System into Effective National Governance
3.4 Politburo Standing Committee member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman delivered a work report at the opening of the fourth session of the 13th CPPCC.
The central achievements of the CPPCC in service of the party center during 2020 were described as:
“Deepening theoretical study and consolidating a common political and ideological foundation.” CPPCC members have been organized to study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Party Congress. Study formats include study panels, reading groups, and online forums, etc.
“In-depth consultation and performance of duties to deliver effective epidemic prevention and control.” CPPCC members have coordinated with local party and government bodies to restore economic production and maintain epidemic control and prevention measures. They have submitted policy recommendations through online consultation forums and conference discussions. For example, 669 proposals were submitted, and inspection groups made up of CPPCC delegates from 34 sectors visited Hubei.
“Extensively building consensus and gathering positive energy for unity and cooperation.” Consultation meetings with democratic parties, national industrial and commerce associations, representatives from ethnic minorities, religious communities, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and the Chinese diaspora.
“Promoting the spirit of the Central Committee and CPPCC Work Conference.” The institution of political consultation was standardized, including consultation procedure, format, principles, and platforms. The process affirmed social consensus-building as the central objective of the CPPCC and its role in transforming Party directives into consensus across society.
“Strengthening self-construction and improving the quality of the work of the CPPCC.” Performance evaluation systems for CPPCC members were improved, which clarified members’ work responsibilities.
The work report laid out the focuses of the CPPCC in 2021:
“Focus on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CCP and strengthening ideological and political guidance.” Organize celebration activities for the Party centenary through study groups, reading groups, and lectures; Study and propagate party history and Xi Jinping Thought.
“Focus on serving the implementation of the 14th Five-Year Plan and enhance the effectiveness of consultation and suggestions.” Standing committee meetings should be held on topics such as the new development concept and building a peaceful China. Consultations should be held on rural revitalization and population aging. Other important topics under the 14th Five-Year Plan, such as supply chain modernization, technological development, higher-quality education, decarbonization, and public health safety should also be discussed.
“With the goal of creating solidarity and unity, strive to gather wisdom and strength.” CPPCC members should be active in reaching out to non-party intellectuals, ethnic minorities, religious figures, private sector workers, and people from emerging social classes. Members should adhere to “patriots governing Hong Kong” and strengthen efforts to unite people from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora. Themed consultations should be organized on youth patriotic education in Hong Kong and Macau and increasing cross-Strait economic and cultural cooperation.
“Promote system implementation to improve work effectiveness.” Improve proposals, site visits, report on social and public sentiments, and propaganda. Organize seminars on CPPCC propaganda thought work, and research seminars on utilizing the consulting role of specialized consultative institutions. Resolutely oppose formalism and bureaucratism.
The following points were made about what must be done in order to transform the CPPCC system in “effective national governance.”
“Profoundly grasp the institutional advantages of specialized consultative institutions.” Specialized consultative institutions are a key part of “Chinese governance” and a key governance platform of the development of democratic socialism. Members should reflect upon epidemic prevention and control efforts and poverty alleviation campaigns in order to understand the political advantage of socialist consultative democracy.
“Continuously improve the work systems of specialized consultative institutions.” Enhance consultative institutions through experimentation. Cultivate consultative culture and inherit elements of traditional Chinese culture. All groups should abide by, respect, protect, study, and implement such institutions.
“Strive to improve the performance capacity of specialized consultative institutions.” All CPPCC members should improve their ability to grasp politics, to reach the masses, and to work toward consensus. They need to do well in political thought guidance, in turning expert opinion into policy options, and in serving as the bridge to solidify consensus.
The Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress Opens in Beijing
3.5 The Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) opened in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang read his annual government work report on behalf of the State Council, which reviewed the government’s work in 2020, outlined key achievements during the 13th Five-Year Plan period and the main objectives and tasks for the 14th Five-Year Plan, and laid out key tasks for 2021.
He said the past year has been an extraordinary one in the history of New China. Under the strong leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, people of all ethnic groups across the nation achieved major strategic results in epidemic prevention and control. He pointed out that China is the only major economy that achieved positive economic growth during 2020 and that it had been victorious in the fight against poverty.
After reviewing the achievements of the 13th Five-Year Plan, he said that the 14th Five-Year Plan period will mark the first five years of comprehensively building a modern socialist nation. He said that the plan focuses on improving the quality and efficiency of development and maintaining “sustainable and healthy” economic development. It calls for persisting in innovation driven development, forming a strong domestic market, persisting in rural revitalization and the new-type urbanization plan, promoting coordinated regional development, deepening reform and opening up, and promoting green development.
He set this year’s GDP growth target at above 6 percent, and set employment growth targets as well, with urban employment growth at 11 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
NPC Standing Committee Vice Chairman Wang Chen (王晨) explained the draft amendment to the National People’s Congress Organic Law, which concerns the organization and work system of the NPC. He explained that the amendment was necessary in order to implement Xi Jinping’s instructions on upholding and improving the people’s congress system as well as developing socialist democratic politics. Modifying procedural rules were said to be an important part of upholding the leadership of the Party and strengthening the political construction of the NPC.
An NPC draft decision on improving Hong Kong’s election system was also announced, which changes methods for the selection of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council in order to “close loopholes” in the election system that led to chaos in Hong Kong society. The decision will empower Hong Kong’s Election Committee to elect a larger proportion of Legislative Council members and to “participate” in the nomination of all candidates for the legislative body.
CCP Central Committee Issues Notice of Party-Wide Party History Study and Education
2.27 The CCP Central Committee issued a “Notice on Carrying out Party History Study and Education throughout the Whole Party,” which laid out instructions for all Party cadres at all levels to study Party history. The party history education campaign was launched by Xi Jinping on 20 February and is intended to celebrate the achievements of the CCP during its first 100 years of existence.
In order to gain momentum for future progress, the notice stated, all cadres should deepen the study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and solidify last year’s “Remain True to the Original Aspiration, Keep the Mission Firmly in Mind” (不忘初心、牢记使命) education campaign. The notice said that the Party has led the masses for one hundred years that were “glorious and brilliant” but also “arduous and extreme.” The Party’s one hundred years of struggle have enabled the Chinese nation to stand up and to get richer and stronger.
The notice pointed out that the Party is currently at an “important juncture in history,” “a key stage in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” and that “the world is currently experiencing profound changes unseen in a century” (百年未有之大变局). Thus, the notice argued, now is the ideal moment to study Party history and to reflect on its lessons so that unity can be deepened in thought, will, and action. A stronger Marxist ruling Party can then be achieved.
In terms of content, the notice first emphasized the study of the important speeches by Xi Jinping on Party history, referring to Xi’s recently published book On the History of the Chinese Communist Party. Second, the Notice stressed that Party cadres should study the achievements of the Party during the past one hundred years and the great contributions of the Party to the country and to the Chinese people. All cadres should comprehend the Party’s original mission of serving the masses and the Party’s ideological achievements in the sinicization of Marxism. Lastly, the Notice emphasized that Party history education is an important political mission for Party secretaries and Party groups at all levels. They should treat this initiative seriously, with high levels of organization. Although the study of Party history is a Party-wide effort, special emphasis is placed on Party cadres who are at the county-level and up.
Xi Jinping to the 28th Politburo Collective Study Session: Perfect a Social Security System that Covers All People
2.26 Xi Jinping hosted the 28th Politburo collective study session in Beijing in which he made a speech about the importance of improving the social safety net across the country. China Social Security Institute Director Hu Xiaoyi (胡晓义) also delivered a report on how to improve the existing social security system.
In his speech, Xi first commended past improvements in social security coverage. Since the 18th Party Congress, Xi said, retirement social security has been unified between urban and rural areas. The National Healthcare Security Administration (国家医疗保障局) has been established. Some state-owned assets have been transferred to complement the social security fund. Xi declared that a comprehensive social security system has mostly been formed, with medical social security covering 1.36 billion people, and retirement social security covering 1 billion people, essentially the largest social security system in the world.
However, Xi said, there are still areas of improvement required to confront the future challenges of an aging population, urbanization, and the changing structure of the labor force.
In order to prepare for such challenges, Xi recommended the following:
Pay close attention to public concerns and frustrations regarding the social security system and aim to address those problems.
Accelerate the development of a multi-layered, multi-pillared retirement social security system.
Promote provincial-level management of healthcare, unemployment, and occupational injury social security; further clarify the division of labor between central and local authorities.
Incorporate rural social assistance into the rural revitalization strategy.
Improve coverage for farm workers, workers with flexible employment, and workers employed in new sectors, and encourage their enrollment in the social security system.
Improve coverage for veterans, the elderly, as well as for the disabled population and orphans.
Continue medical insurance reform in the areas of medical supply acquisition and payment methods in order to improve the performance of medical insurance.
Pass relevant legislation to protect the social security system, especially against social security fraud and the embezzlement of social security funds.
Facilitate the digital transition of social security management systems and service networks.
Lastly, Xi emphasized that the social security system must be uniform and standardized nationwide and that local-level bodies must closely follow reform directives from central leadership.
Xi Jinping Hears Work Report from Politburo, Top State and Judicial Officials
2.28 Politburo members, the Secretary of the Central Secretariat, party group members of the State Council, party group members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the State Council, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and party group secretaries of the Supreme People’s Court and the People’s Procuratorate, delivered their work reports to Xi Jinping several days before the Two Sessions.
Upon hearing the work reports, Xi emphasized that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the first year of the 14th Five-Year Plan and a critical juncture for achieving the two centenary goals. All groups need to deepen the study 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). All groups should strengthen the forward-thinking mindset in their respective roles, continuously improve political judgement, political understanding, and political execution, and set an example of self-discipline.
Xi laid out five areas needing improvement:
Resolutely implement policy directives from the central Pparty leadership and Xi Jinping’s important remarks in concrete ways. Treat the “two defends”--to defend central Party leadership with Xi Jinping at the core and the core status of the Party and to defend the authority of central Pparty leadership--as the highest political principal.
Lead in the study and understanding of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the Fifth Plenum of the 19th Party Congress.
Under the delegation of central Pparty leadership, manage the work of epidemic control and prevention and social and economic development well.
Adhere to democratic centralism. All groups should report important problems, events, and developments to Xi Jinping. Democracy should be fully exercised in respective fields and centralism should also be correctly exercised.
Adhere to the comprehensive and strict rule of the Party. Deepen the rectification of formalism and bureaucratism. All groups need to exercise self-restraint and do the same for family members and staff.
Xi Gives Speech to Central Party School Young Cadre Training Program Initiation, Emphasized Goal to Carry On Party’s Honorable Traditions, Wang Huning Present
3.1 Xi Jinping spoke at the Spring opening class ceremony of the Young Cadre Training Program at the Central Party School. Politburo Standing Committee Member and Secretary of the Central Secretariat Wang Huning (王沪宁) was present, as well as Secretaries of the Central Secretariat Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥) and Huang Kunming (黄坤明) (also the head of the Central Propaganda Department). Secretary of the Central Secretariat, Head of the Central Organization Department, and President of the Central Party School Chen Xi (陈希) hosted the initiation ceremony.
In his speech, Xi stressed that young cadres must set their goals to inherit the honorable traditions and excellent work ethic of the Party. He explained the criteria for such honorable traditions in the following six points:
Loyalty to the Party.
Connect theory with reality: Policies should be made according to real-life situations, only then can they solve problems in concrete ways.
Always put the masses as the priority before oneself: Young cadres should make friends with those who are from the grassroots so that they can understand the real concerns of the people.
Party members should conduct self-criticism: They must self-reflect and help their peers discover their shortcomings, which shows their responsibility and commitment to the well-being of the Party and their comrades.
Young cadres should dare to struggle, be good at the struggle, and be able to struggle: The Party is here today because of its past struggles, and only through struggle can it win the future.
Young cadres should be frugal and diligent: Frugality, hard work, and abstaining from extravagance helps the Party succeed. Young cadres must be vigilant against hedonism and luxury.
Chen Xi said that young cadres should deepen the study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, as well as the history of the Party, New China, Reform and Opening Up, and the development of socialism.
He Yin: Be a Strong Promoter in World Poverty Alleviation
2.28 People’s Daily’s He Yin (和音) column declared China will continue striving alongside other countries, in order to build a community of shared future for mankind, one that is without poverty and with widespread prosperity.
He Yin argued that China has always been an active champion and strong promoter ofin world poverty alleviation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) both treat elimination of poverty and realization of development as basic human rights, He Yin said, and the first sustainable development goal (SDG) for 2030 is also the elimination of poverty.
He Yin’s reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights served as a rebuke to the recently concluded UN Human Rights Council meeting, during which China was heavily criticized for its Xinjiang policies. He Yin’s mention of the ICESCR, but not the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at framing China as a human rights defender in light of its poverty alleviation campaign, rather than a human rights violator.
Next, He Yin demonstrated that anti-poverty theory with Chinese characteristics has made international contributions. Experts from many countries have visited China to learn from its poverty alleviation efforts. The 73rd UN General Assembly passed the resolution on eliminating rural poverty, which included phrases such as “targeted poverty alleviation” (精准扶贫) and “win-win cooperation” (合作共赢), both of which were Chinese theoretical contributions.
He Yin then cited other examples of Chinese international cooperation in poverty alleviation. China has worked with other international organizations in helping developing countries in East Asia and Africa to reduce their poverty levels. Such assistance included road and water infrastructure by the Mekong River and advanced seed technology to improve agricultural yields. Other assistance recipient countries included Madagascar, Nigeria, and Mozambique. Lastly, He Yin identified the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as institutions through which China assists other developing countries. The two initiatives have also enhanced South-South cooperation, He said.
He Yin concluded that these achievements demonstrate that China has assumed the responsibilities of a great power.
Zhong Sheng: Spreading Lies Is the Same as Trampling on Human Rights
2.28 People’s Daily published a Zhong Sheng (钟声) commentary in response to the Canadian House of Commons’ motion on genocide in Xinjiang. The commentary argued that the motion “seriously distorted facts” and was “a gross inference in China’s internal affairs and a malicious provocation against the Chinese people.” It emphasized that China’s policies in Xinjiang are meant to combat terrorism, extremism, and separatism and implement the UN “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.” The commentary asserted that the Canadian House of Commons’ charge of “so-called ‘genocide’” was “complete nonsense” since Xinjiang’s Uyghur population had grown from 2010 to 2018. After accusing “some politicians in Canada” of violating human rights themselves by attempting to undermine social stability in Xinjiang with their lies, it detailed Canada’s history of violating the rights of indigenous people and urged the country to undertake a self-examination. The commentary concluded, “China’s determination to defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests is unswerving. In Canada, which is notorious for its misdeeds (劣迹斑斑) in the human rights situation, some politicians indulge the impulse of ideological confrontation and concoct anti-China farces. [This] is doomed to be a scheme hatched in vain (枉费心机) and will inevitably be spurned.”
PD Editorial: Work Together to Make a Good Start on the Fourteenth Five Year Plan
3.4 People’s Daily published an editorial congratulating the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee on the launch of its fourth session, which is taking place at Beijing’s annual Two Sessions meeting beginning 4 May. The editorial issued encouragement to the CPPCC in its implementation of the 14th Five Year Plan. In lauding the CCP’s accomplishments in 2020, it focused especially on the COVID-19 pandemic. The editorial stated that, “in the history of New China, 2020 was extraordinary.” Yet, “in the face of grave and complex tasks and unprecedented risks and challenges, the Party center with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core united to lead the entire Party, nation, and people of all ethnicities to work with common purpose [to] meet difficulties, coordinate epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, [and to coordinate the] deepening of reform and opening, and [the] response to foreign pressure.” The editorial also highlighted the Party’s capacity--along with the nation and people of all ethnicities--over the previous year to “grasp the ‘six stabilities’ (六稳) work well and implement the ‘six guarantees’ (六保),” while “achieving victory in comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society and fighting the battle of poverty alleviation.” It further noted that with hard work Beijing had successfully fought the epidemic and its economic growth rate had gone from negative to positive.
Turning to the future, the editorial emphasized that “the CPPCC adheres to taking Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as its guide” as well as adhering to the leadership of the CCP over its work and to “the two major themes of unity and democracy.” Describing the work of the CPPCC, fighting the epidemic was again given significant attention, especially their work alongside non-Party groups. The editorial stressed the importance of unity and noted that this was the first centenary of the founding of the CCP and therefore a significant year for China’s modernization process. Consequently, drawing on Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening and Improving the Important Work of the CPPCC, it should, “strengthen the establishment of special consultation mechanisms, fully use the political advantage of moving in the same direction with one mind, the intellectual advantage of [China’s] talent pool, the democratic advantage of equal consultation, the unity advantage of cohesion, the functional advantage of coordinating relationships, and the advantage of having a wide range of contacts” to raise the level of political consensus-building, governance, advising, and consultation work. In this way, the CPPCC can use its advantages to positively affect the national situation, developing solidarity and unity with Chinese people at home and abroad to “make a good start on the 14th Five-Year Plan.” The Editorial concluded by saying that through the work of the CPPCC to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan, China would achieve “a new victory in comprehensively building a modern socialist country and [would] realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
He Yin: Focus on China at the Intersection of History
3.4 People’s Daily published a commentary under the He Yin (和音) byline about the upcoming Two Sessions being a “window” for other countries to see China’s economic and social development and understand it better. It noted that 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP and the first year of the “14th Five-Year Plan.” First, the commentary stated, “Through the window of Two Sessions, every country can discover the experience of China’s economic and social development.” It declared victory over “the main goals and tasks of China’s ‘13th Five-Year Plan’” and asserted that “international public opinion universally believes that along with the implementation of the ‘14th Five-Year Plan,’ China will have greater strength to make important contributions to the global economic recovery. Second, the commentary stated, “Through the window of the Two Sessions, every country can increase [its] understanding of ‘China’s rule.’” It touted the success of China’s anti-epidemic efforts and the “global influence” of “China’s rule.” Third, the commentary stated, “Through the window of the Two Sessions, every country can perceive further opportunities to join hands and cooperate with China.” It mentioned China’s commitments to international anti-epidemic cooperation, sustainable development, and scientific and technological innovation. The commentary concluded by discussing the importance of the Two Sessions and China’s new stage of development, noting that “this is also a journey for China to walk hand in hand with every country in order to jointly build a world of lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, open tolerance, and clean beauty.”
Central Military Commission
CMC Issues Notice on Carrying Out Party History Study and Education for the Whole Military
3.4 The Central Military Commission (CMC) issued a notice instructing the entire military to implement Xi Jinping’s important speech at last week’s Party History Study and Education Mobilization Meeting and carry out the year-long education initiative throughout the entire military. The notice explained that the initiative is open to all but should focus on officers at the regiment-level and above. Officers are instructed to organize special lectures and activities in order to learn about the glorious history of the CCP over the past century, the great contributions of the CCP to the nation, the major theoretical achievements of the CCP in the sinicization of Marxism, the CCP’s success in advancing revolution, construction, and reform, and the strength manifested by the Party’s absolute leadership of the military. The notice indicated that the education initiative is a “major political task.”
International Liaison Work
3.3 International Department Deputy Head Shen Beili (沈蓓莉) held a videoconference with Argentine Republican Proposal (PRO) President Patricia Bullrich, PRO Secretary of International Relations Fulvio Pompeo, and former Argentine Ambassador to China Diego Ramiro Guelar.
3.1 Li Guoying (李国英) was appointed minister of the Ministry of Water Resources.