Weekly Report 4|35 7.24.2021-7.30.2021
The General Office of the Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council published a joint notice with guidelines for alleviating the educational burden on students by decreasing homework load, regulating off-campus tutoring, and investing in after-school programs. (See Senior Leaders section)
People’s Daily continued its Commentator Article series “On the Spiritual Pedigree of Chinese Communist Party Members” and its Zhong Sheng series “Political Tricks Can Hardly Cover Up the Truth About the United States’ Insufficient Anti-Epidemic Measures.” (See Propaganda Work section)
The General Office of the Central Committee of the CCP and the General Office of the State Council Published “A Suggestion Concerning Further Progress in Easing the Burdens of Homework and Off-Campus Tutoring on Students During their Period of Compulsory Education”
7.24 The General Office of the Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council published a joint notice with guidelines for alleviating the educational burden on students by decreasing homework load and regulating after-school activities. These aims are referred to as the “Two Alleviations” (双减). The guidelines first addressed “decreasing the burdens of amount and duration of homework on students,” to “ protect students' right to health, rest, and learning quality; and to help lighten the burden placed on parents.” The suggestions for implementation included prohibiting teachers from asking parents to look over and correct their child’s homework; to have no written homework assigned in grades one and two, assigning homework that takes only one hour to complete for children in grades three to six, and no more than 90 minutes for middle school students; and to replace “mechanical, ineffective, repetitive, or penalizing homework” with “flexible and personalized homework.” It also asked teachers to take grading papers seriously and give timely feedback, explanations, and analysis, answering any questions that the student may have. The guidelines then counseled after-school programs to be put in place and end at the average time parents would be clocking out of work, and to offer activities and programs that are of interest to the students. It also instituted strict rules against teachers offering paid lessons outside of class time and encouraged students to use free, high-quality online learning resources.
A substantial portion of the notice was dedicated to the supervision and regulation of off-campus tutoring programs. It prohibited these from having excessive capital investment, using false original prices or discounts, and from advertising in mainstream media or using misleading advertising in any form. The goal is to “heavily reduce subject-based after-school tutoring,” especially due to situations in which some companies have had “disordered management, lack of qualifications, or taken advantage of opportunities to collect money.” The guidelines alternatively pushed for teachers to get involved in after-school programs, and implied that the future evaluation of teachers and schools would be based in part on their after-school services and tutoring. The notice particularly stressed that foreigners outside of China are forbidden from running tutoring activities online, and that foreigners inside China will need to comply with the standards and rules contained in the guidelines. The publication also stated that the government is committed to setting standard fees for off-campus training institutions and will work to prevent problems of customers not getting refunds or people absconding with payment or funds.
Finally, the guidelines explained that the aforementioned goals and implementations are meant to “narrow the education gap between urban and rural areas,” “decrease the pressure of examinations,” and standardize and regulate classroom content, which will hopefully lead to educational equity and decreased competition in high school enrollment. The General Offices of the Central Committee and the State Council ended by sharing the expectation that each province will be accountable for implementation of the “Two Alleviations” initiative, announced the plan to establish pilot programs in many cities to test specific regulations, and clarified that the principles of these guidelines can also be applied to preschool and highschool students, but specified that tutoring for children ages 3-6 is prohibited, including for the study of foreign languages.
While Inspecting XJPCC Work, Wang Yang Emphasized Passing on Red Blood, Keeping in Mind [One’s] Duty and Mission, and Forging Ahead to Make New Contributions on the New Journey
7.21-24 While on an inspection tour in Xinjiang, Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Chair Wang Yang (汪洋) also conducted an inspection of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XJPCC). Wang stated that it was important to “study and understand the spirit of the Third Central Xinjiang Work Conference, fully and accurately implement the Party’s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era, conscientiously implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions and the Central Committee’s strategic decisions and deployments, adapt to the new requirements for increasing social stability and border security capacity in a new era, expand self-strengthening in reform and innovation,” as well as increasing political and ideological consciousness in order to ensure long-term stability. From 21 to 24 July, Wang visited the Fifth, Eighth, and Tenth Divisions of the XJPCC, touring enterprises, schools, hospitals, museums, and industrial sites, among other sites belonging to the Corps.
Wang highlighted the important historical role played by the XJPCC, saying that they had made “indelible contributions” to history. He further noted that maintaining stability and border defense remained the priority of the Corps, and in peacetime they would need to pursue exchanges and promote mutual aid with all ethnic groups, deepen reforms, and address development challenges. Finally, Wang said that the XJPCC should deepen their study of Xi Jinping’s “important ‘1 July’ speech,” use the “great party-building spirit,” adhere to ideals and convictions, “pass on the XJPCC’s red blood (红色血脉), [and] carry on promoting love of the motherland.” He encouraged them to walk the path of the New Long March (新的长征) well, not failing to live up to the Central Committee’s great trust and expectations.
Central Organization Department Publishes Notice Demanding Amply Giving Play to the Role of Grassroots Party Organizations as Battle Fortresses and Giving Play to the Role of the Vast Majority of Party Members as Vanguard Models in Flood Control and Disaster Relief People’s Daily
7.25 The Central Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published a notice titled “On Amply Giving Play to the Role of Grassroots Party Organizations as Battle Fortresses and Giving Play to the Role of the Vast Majority of Party Members as Vanguard Models in Flood Control and Disaster Relief.” With the stated purpose of “deeply implementing and carrying out the Party Central Committee’s strategic plans on flood control and disaster relief work and the spirit of Chairman Xi Jinping’s important instructions,” the notice discussed three main points. First, the notice told “leading cadres at all levels” to “ensure the people’s and masses’ lives, property, and safety;” go to areas most affected by flooding and where the need was greatest to “strengthen... on the spot guidance” and reduce damage; and monitor changes in meteorological conditions to effectively respond to disasters and “guarantee safely passing through floods.” Second, it encouraged “every level of departments, units, and party organizations [involved in] flood control ” to increase planning, coordination, and scientific allocation of rescue support forces,” as well as utilizing “party member commando units” and “ party member vanguard posts” to place party members and cadres at the forefront of flood control efforts. Furthermore, it called on party organizations in civil administration and epidemic prevention departments and units to assist in natural disaster relief and defense, help life return to normal in affected areas, aid in resettlement, and carry out “assistance, health, and sanitary and epidemic prevention work.” Third, it outlined responsibilities for “grassroots party organizations, party members, and cadres in disaster areas,” urging them to “become the disaster-stricken masses’ backbone.” Among other things, the notice told aforementioned groups and individuals to “resolve every type of risk and hidden danger in a timely manner” and for those at the town and village level specifically to take care of the needs of those impacted by the disaster. For party organizations, members, and cadres not in disaster-stricken areas, the notice urged them to assist in flood control and disaster relief and “amply embody the warmth of the big socialist family.” The notice concluded by urging “party committee organization departments at all levels” to use performance in flood control and disaster relief as an “important basis” for cadre evaluations and to promote the actions of “advanced grassroots party organizations and outstanding party members.”
Li Keqiang Issued Important Instructions at Video Conference on Optimizing the National Birth Policy, Emphasized Alleviating the Birthing, Rearing, and Education Burdens on People and Implementing the Three Child Birth Policy Well; Sun Chunlan Attended the Conference and Gave a Speech
7.27 Politburo Standing Committee member and Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) issued important instructions at a video conference on optimizing the national birth policy. He explained that the three child birth policy is a “major measure” to “promote long-term balanced population development and high-quality development.” He stressed the importance of raising the level of prenatal and postnatal services; accelerating the construction of an inclusive childcare service system; linking economic, social, and childbirth policies; and reducing the burden on people of childbirth, child rearing, and education. Li instructed “governments at all levels and relevant departments” to formulate implementation plans and support policies and measures related to the birth policy. Politburo member and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) also attended the conference and gave a speech, emphasizing implementing the spirit of Xi Jinping’s important instructions on population-related work, implementing Premier Li’s instructions, focusing on the implementation of the three child birth policy, and improving the support systems to reduce the burden of childbirth, rearing, and education. She pointed out the necessity of revising relevant laws and regulations, accelerating the standardization of maternal and child health care institutions, expanding maternal and child health resources, providing various forms of childcare services, and safeguarding women’s labor and social rights.
The Politburo Central Committee Convened a Meeting to Analyze and Study the Current Economic Situation and Economic Work; General Secretary Xi Jinping Presided
7.30 A 30 July Politburo meeting reviewed economic plans and the economic direction for the next half of the year. It began by reviewing the last half of the year, in which it claimed China had “effectively implemented macro-economic policies, continued stable economic recovery, actively advanced scientific and technological self-reliance, increased reform efforts, obtained effective safeguards for the lives of the people, made new progress in high-quality development, and stabilized the present conditions of [its] society.” The meeting recognized that the world is increasingly complicated, and that continued stability will require intentional work. Specific action points included efforts to keep the RMB stable, ensure the supply of bulk commodities, stabilize prices, etc. The meeting called for “tap[ping] into the potential of the domestic market; accelerat[ing] the development of vehicles with new power sources, the integration of urban and rural e-commerce and distribution systems, and the construction of major construction projects in the 14th Five-Year Plan; and encouraging corporations to invest in technological transformation.” Additionally, the meeting called for the development of small- and medium-sized businesses, viewing houses as places for living rather than for speculation, and “strengthening employment services for college graduates, unblocking migrant workers’ employment channels, and improving labor rights protections for flex employees.”
People’s Daily Commentator Article Series: On the Spiritual Pedigree of Chinese Communist Party Members
People’s Daily featured two additions to the Commentator series launched the previous week on the spiritual pedigree of Chinese Communist Party members.
26 July’s article, entitled “The Spirit of the Soviet Area Must Be Forever Engraved in [Our] Mind and Passed On For Many Generations,” began by talking about the “red land in the old Soviet area produc[ing] revolution” and quoting Xi Jinping’s emphasis on the Jinggangshan spirit and Soviet area spirit as the “valuable spiritual wealth of our Party.” The article reflected on the first National Congress in 1931 that announced the establishment of the Provisional Central Government of the Chinese Soviet Republic, which was the “first nationwide power of workers and peasants in Chinese history.” It also noted that the Jinggangshan and Soviet spirits “span time and space” and “encourage us not to forget our original aspirations.” The article mentioned the importance of the history of the Central Revolutionary Base and the Chinese Soviet Republic and urged Party members and cadres to learn from and gain inspiration from that history. It described several anecdotes to depict the great struggles the people have endured in the past and the obstacles they overcame before shifting to the future, asserting that “the prospects are bright, the burden is heavy, and the road is long” and reminding people to keep in mind the original mission and promote the spirit of the Soviet area. It emphasized strengthening convictions, serving the people, and working hard. It concluded by reflecting on the past 100 years of the CCP, noting the “road to achieve the goals of the second centenary struggle,” and re-emphasizing the spirit of the Soviet area.
29 July’s article, entitled “Energetically Promote the Great Long March Spirit on the Road of the New Long March,” began by celebrating the “valuable spiritual wealth” that is the “great Long March spirit” forged by the “lives and blood” sacrificed by Chinese Communist Party members and Red Army officers and soldiers. Citing Xi Jinping, the Commentator Article said that this spirit was defined by a willingness to place “the fundamental interests of the nation’s people and the Chinese people above everything [else],” as well as “strengthening revolutionary ideals and beliefs,” and [strengthening] the spirit of believing firmly that the “righteous cause would inevitably prevail.” It further stipulated that this spirit entailed “not fearing any untold difficulties or dangers in order to save the nation and the people, unstintingly paying the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life”; adhering to “self determination,” “seeking truth from facts,” [and] “proceeding from reality in all things”; “taking the big picture into account,” maintaining discipline, seeking unity, and remaining close to the masses. The article went on to review the history of the Long March, its impact and its historical legacy, calling it a “towering achievement in the historical process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Likening the Long March to the contemporary situation, the Commentator Article stated that there were still many “‘snow-capped mountain,’ and ‘grasslands’ that must be crossed,” and many “‘Loushan Pass[es]’ and ‘Lazikou Pass[es] that must be conquered.”
Noting that the Chinese Communist Party had achieved the first centennial goal, the Article said that the Party is now enthusiastically moving toward achieving the second centennial goal of “comprehensively building a modern socialist country” emphasizing that the New Long March (新的长征) requires unity, maintaining ideals and convictions, prioritizing the interests of the people and relying on the people, proceeding from reality, and strengthening “common ideal of socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Finally, the New Long March requires building a “consolidated national defense and strong army commensurate with China’s international status and adapted to China’s national security and development interests.” The commentary concluded with an exhortation to “continue to propel the great cause initiated by revolutionary predecessors forward,” saying that [the Chinese people] could “write a new chapter for the New Long March.”
Zhong Sheng: Political Tricks Can Hardly Cover Up the Truth About the United States’ Insufficient Anti-Epidemic Measures
People’s Daily continued its Zhong Sheng commentary series begun the previous week. New installments included condemnations of the United States’ “pseudo-multilateralism” and anti-science actions within the series’ broader scope of characterizing US handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as inadequate while using it as a tool in political manipulations abroad.
26 July’s article, “Why Has the United States Sunk to Being a Producer and Spreader of Rumors?” accused the United States of ignoring its domestic anti-pandemic responsibilities and creating a “political virus” (政治病毒) which has “already become a global public hazard.” Saying that the United States’ “selfish considerations for how to suppress China geopolitically” was the true motivation behind its actions, the commentary asked rhetorically whether the United States would use lies similar to the Iraq and Syrian ‘laundry detergent incident’ and ‘white helmet videos’ to make its case on virus traceability. The commentary asserted that when it comes to “creating and disseminating rumors, the US does everything in its power.” It further stated that these “American rumors are the direct cause of [its] recent ‘Asian-hate,’” and that the United States’ pandemic situation is evidence of the negative impact of spreading rumors.
The Zhong Sheng commentary specifically criticized the United States calling the virus the “Chinese Virus,” the 57-page book on the coronavirus sent to GOP candidates by the National Republican Senatorial Committee(which advised candidates to attack China aggressively), the “laboratory leak theory,” asking US intelligence organizations to look into the issue, and using the pretense of “investigating terrorism’ to intimdate the WHO and scientists to abandon their objective positions.” The commentary also noted that China refuses to participate in a second phase of virus tracing until an investigation is launched into the United States. It claimed that the first phase had conclusive and scientific results, and further investigation would simply be a response to US politicization of the issue, because the United States “cannot accept the fact of China’s strong development.” Of the initial investigation, the article said, “the experts went where they wanted to go and met with whom they wanted to meet,” and that any further efforts would be pointless. At the time of this article, 12 million Chinese netizens had signed a petition for a virus-tracing investigation in the United States. The article ended by stating with confidence that US rumors will be exposed, quoting President Lincoln as saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
27 July’s article, titled, “‘America First’ is the Biggest Harm to Multilateralism,” characterized US “multilateralism” claims as amounting to pseudo-multilateralism—a disguised unilateralism that is part of US efforts to legitimize its own attempts to discredit other countries. The article said that this reveals that “the US politicians who say ‘America is Back’ still think ‘America First’ in their hearts.” The commentary drew attention to the rising COVID-19 diagnoses in the United States, a sign of the neglected situation which has “caused the American people to suffer enough,” and a result of the United States rigidly clinging to unilateralism under the guise of multilateralism, because “the only standard of multilateralism that the United States supports is when it is useful [for America].” It said that the United States’ continual “stigmatizing of the epidemic, virus labeling, and traceability politicization” are nothing new, and that this behavior “completely violates international consensus and is false multilateralism, through and through.” It also noted 13 million Chinese netizens are now calling for virus tracing in the United States, particularly at the Fort Detrick Biolab, which Stephen Kanazawa, a researcher from Brown University, claims is a biowarfare research center and was helped by Japanese war criminals. Finally, the article also reminded readers that “the United States cannot represent the international community, and even more so, is unqualified to act in its name as it criticizes others and seeks to direct [the international community].”
28 July’s article, “The ‘Force for Leadership’ the United States Wants to Rebuild is Actually a ‘Force of Destruction’” sought to expose US rhetoric and behavior concerning virus tracing as a sign of its “zero-sum confrontational thinking in international affairs.” The commentary cast suspicion on US commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation, because the United States is apparently “willing to step on them to preserve its hegemony.” It then claimed that the current US Government is walking the same path as the previous administration, looking to “shift [attention away from] its failure in anti-epidemic prevention work and shift [attention away from] domestic dissatisfaction for failing to resolve bipartisan disputes, social divisions, and economic recovery.” Zhong Sheng recalled that the previous administration “backed out of international groups, broke contracts, and bullied other countries,” and explained that although the current administration seeks to “turn over a new leaf“ (痛改前非), the “beautiful rhetoric of US politicians fails to conceal that the new foreign policy is merely old wine in new bottles.” The Zhong Sheng commentary emphasized that “The United States mistakenly thinks that pseudo-multilateralism can restore the international leadership it has lost,” and then stated that “true leadership is in promoting unity and cooperation in the international community, not in shirking one's own blame,” and that “the United States is more focused on fighting over influence and suppressing other countries than on the lives and health of its people.” The commentary later declared that, “major countries need to look like major countries and display a true undertaking of responsibility,” implying that the United States has not done so. In a closing insult, the commentary stated that “the United States has already become the biggest obstacle to global unity and cooperation.”
29 July’s article, “When All Is Said and Done, It Is Self-Evident Who Is Breaking Scientific Norms,” defended China’s decision to oppose the second phase of WHO virus tracing within its borders, “to maintain the scientific standard and fairness of virus traceability.” It argued that the first phase was already completed, and that a second phase would be unnecessary, that it “unreasonably [overturns] the conclusions of the first phase,” and therefore must be a politically rooted decision. The Zhong Sheng commentary advocated tracing the virus in the United States instead [of China], because it “has not worked to get rid of the pandemic as fast as possible and has violated scientific norms.” This article was also a response to the WHO secretariat, who recently released a plan for continued steps in tracing the virus, which the commentary sees as a plan to “discredit China, not to trace the virus.” It said China has already provided “materials, knowledge, and vaccine assistance to the international community,” and was the first to share relevant data with the WHO and fully cooperate with them, and claimed the US has not even done its best to fight the spread of the pandemic in its own country, let alone in the world. The article then brought attention once again to the 60 countries who have written to the WHO in opposition to politicizing the virus and who have accepted the conclusions of the first phase, and then claimed that if the WHO goes through with this investigation, it will be “ignoring these voices of the international community, which should be respected.” It also claimed that scientists should feel obligated to discourage governments from the politicization of virus traceability, because, as the article quoted some experts as saying, “an insult to the IQ of experts who have spent months trying to find the root cause of the pandemic.” Lastly, it said if WHO officials want their standards to apply to all countries, and not just China, then all countries would need to “invite WHO experts to conduct traceability studies in their home countries, share and exchange research results, and describe the spread of the virus in a comprehensive, objective and scientific manner,” like China has already done.
30 July’s article, titled, “Opposing Science Has Led the United States Down a Path of Mistakes,” drew a comparison between the United States using virus tracing against other countries and Don Quixote using a lance against a windmill; it is using the wrong weapon against the wrong target.
This commentary was in large part a response to what Zhong Sheng described as a US official “slandering China for rejecting the second phase [of virus tracing],” which China refutes by saying its doing so is based on scientific rather than political grounds.. Zhong Sheng then turned the argument back to the United States, stating that, “regrettably, US politicians have not learned in the last year to focus on domestic problems and take steps to effectively combat the virus.” It further quoted Michelle Barry, director of the Global Health Innovation Center at Stanford University as saying, “Everyone is very frustrated and shocked by the loss of control over this virus in the United States. We have so much wealth and medical talent, why did we get to this point?” In response, Zhong Sheng noted that this question could not be simpler to answer: it is because “politicians opposing science have taken the United States in the wrong direction.” The commentary explained that the United States underestimated the pandemic from the beginning, calling it a flu and saying it was not especially contagious. It even “ignored the epidemic to kickstart its economy for its [presidential] election last year.” The commentary lamented that Americans are still debating over masks when the world agrees they are helpful and that the United States has “turned a medical issue into a political one.” To further this point, it quoted Georgetown professor of global health law Lawrence Gostin as saying, “Ignoring science can kill people. Unfortunately, US public health experts are being cast aside.” The commentary also quoted US public health experts as saying that, “tragedies that could have been avoided are still happening.” It proposed a solution for the United States to invite experts from many countries to come trace the virus in the United States, especially given its current situation, saying that doing so is the only way to turn back from the wrong path they have been walking down.
United Front Work
CPPCC National Committee Held Special Consultative Conference on “Vigorously Responding to the Aging Population and Promoting Balanced Population Development,” Wang Yang Attended and Gave a Speech
7.26 Politburo Standing Committee member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Chair Wang Yang (汪洋) attended and gave a speech at the CPPCC National Committee’s special consultative conference on “Vigorously Responding to the Aging Population and Promoting Balanced Population Development.” In his speech, Wang emphasized that it is necessary to understand Xi’s “important treatise on population work, accurately grasp the trend and aging rules for population development, concentrate on the overall national development situation and the well-being of millions and millions of people,” and promote the long-term balanced development of the population, among other things.” More than 90 national and local CPPCC members attended the meeting, and more than 40 members, experts, and grassroots representatives gave speeches. The committee members expressed that China’s population development is faced with the “double pressure” of an aging population and fewer children, an impact that is “comprehensive, deep, and enduring,” which must be responded to “promptly, comprehensively, and scientifically.” The old-age services system, insurance, and overall medical care should be promoted and improved and policies to gradually delay the retirement age, develop young people, and “change the downward trend of the willingness to bear children” must be earnestly implemented. Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) attended and gave a speech, emphasizing Xi’s work on population aging, and adhering to the Party committee leadership’s aging policies. She also stated that the construction of the three major systems--health services, elderly care services, and social services--will speed up policy improvements, work opportunities, and help respond to the aging population. Also in attendance were several vice-chairmen of the CPPCC National Committee and comrades of the relevant departments of the CPPCC.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Convened a Conference for Non-Party Members, Xi Jinping Presided and Issued Important Remarks
7.28 A domestic economic conference for non-CCP members reviewed the first half of the year and looked forward to the second half. It covered several action points from the Politburo meeting on the economy covered above (see Senior Leaders section), but also featured new remarks by Xi Jinping, who said that, “we should correctly understand the current economic situation, unify thoughts and actions in the analysis, judgement, and decision-making of the Central Committee on the current economic situation, and go deep into the grassroots to seek advice, strategies, and additional analysis.” At the conference, leaders listened to comments and suggestions from attendees, discussed promoting the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port, and spoke of the need to integrate planning for achieving peak carbon and carbon neutrality. Xi thanked everyone in attendance, encouraged further work in disaster prevention, and expressed his desire for everyone to understand the current economic situation, to “focus on the key tasks of economic and social development,” and to use party history study and education to “strengthen the guiding ideology of the Party and of the masses and demonstrate the power of China’s political system.”
Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) offered a briefing on the current economy situation for conference attendees, which was attended by Politburo Standing Committee Members Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Han Zheng (韩正); Politburo Members Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥), Liu He (刘鹤), Sun Chunlan (孙春兰), Hu Chunhua (胡春华), Wang Yong (王勇); Secretary General of the State Council Xiao Jie (肖捷); CPPCC Vice Chair He Lifeng (何立峰); and United Front Work Department head You Quan (尤权).
International Liaison Work
7.30 International Department Head Song Tao (宋涛) and Deputy Head Shen Beili (沈蓓莉) held a video call with Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) leader and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.