Weekly Report 4|36 7.31.2021-8.6.2021
Politburo Member and State Council Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) traveled to Nanjing, Jiangsu to investigate epidemic prevention work amid the city’s COVID-19 outbreak. (See Senior Leaders section)
Xi Jinping presided over and gave a speech at a 30 July Politburo study session on achieving the military centenary goal. (See Senior Leaders section)
People’s Daily featured a Commentator Article series on the United States’ efforts to investigate COVID-19’s origins, calling it “origin-tracing terrorism” (溯源恐怖主义). (See Propaganda Work section)
Sun Chunlan: Strictly and Tightly Implement All Prevention and Control Measures to Resolutely Contain the Spread of the Epidemic from Gaining Momentum
7.29-8.1 Politburo Member and State Council Vice Premier Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) traveled to Nanjing, Jiangsu to investigate epidemic prevention work amid the city’s COVID-19 outbreak. While in Nanjing, Sun listened to the reports of frontline workers and experts, seeking to understand the situation from on the ground with regard to traceability, screening, hospital procedures, diagnosis, containing community spread, and other relevant information. She emphasized that it was necessary to “thoroughly implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions at the Central Committee Politburo Meeting according to the deployments of the Central Committee and the State Council, thoroughly search for loopholes, target the crux of the issue, implement the requirements of the ‘four earlies’ (四早/early detection, early reporting, early isolation, and early treatment), consolidate the ‘four responsibilities’ (四方责任/local, department, danwei, and personal responsibilities),” and contain the spread of the virus. Noting that the current outbreak began at the Nanjing Airport, Sun proposed a number of targeted measures to prevent further spread from that site. Turning to the state of the epidemic nationally, Sun said that preventing the virus entering China from foreign countries was of paramount importance in managing the epidemic situation.
At 32nd Politburo Group Study Session, Xi Jinping Emphasized Firm Determination and Willpower, Making an All-Out Effort to Get Things Done to Ensure Achievement of the Military Centenary Goal On Time
7.30 Xi Jinping presided over and gave a speech at a 30 July Politburo Study Session on achieving the military centenary goal. He emphasized that this is a “major strategic decision,” a “major task” for China’s national security and development situation, and an “extremely crucial step in the new ‘three-steps’ (三步走) of military modernization.” Xi noted that the Party had led the people’s army through periods of revolution, construction, and reform and that by continuing to adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s army, the people’s army can continue to develop. He also mentioned that the CCP Central Committee and the Central Military Commission have made “a series of strategic plans and deployments” to accelerate military modernization and emphasized the importance of prioritizing national defense and army building and accelerating the construction and consolidation of national defense and strengthening the army. Xi highlighted the 14th Five-Year Plan’s army-related content and stated the importance of strengthening planning and preparations for military struggle. He also stated the necessity of “strengthen[ing] breakthroughs in innovation, transform[ing] development concepts, innovat[ing] development patterns, enhanc[ing] development momentum, and ensur[ing] high quality development,” as well as accelerating research on key technologies for military construction. Xi pointed out that it is the responsibility of the army, the Party, and the entire country to realize the army’s centenary goals, calling on all levels of government to implement reforms and aid in national defense construction.
Qiushi Editorial Department: Listen to the Party’s Command, Strengthen and Prosper the Army
7.31 The Qiushi Editorial Department published an article directed at the army, saying that it is critical for it to be built up politically and ideologically as well as militarily, and that understanding the vital role of the Party’s leadership in the military’s success is crucial. It urged the army and its troops to remember their “glorious tradition.” Emphasizing the role of CCP leadership, the article pointed out that ever since the 18th Party Congress, Xi Jinping has “focused on building a people's army that listens to the commands of the Party, is able to be victorious, and is first-rate.” The article related Xi’s story about Zhou Guangcai (周广才), a soldier in the people’s army who ate half of his belt on the Long March and was the only one of his comrades to make it to Yan’an, in order to show the “faith and...heart of the Party,” as well as the suicide by Chen Shuxiang（陈树湘), who tore out his own intestines to avoid imprisonment in an enemy camp. The article made it clear that the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC) have complete control over the people’s army as part of its strictly ordered and unified structure. The article further emphasized that “the army was founded by the Party, has been closely connected to the Party ever since, and has operated and struggled under the Party’s absolute leadership all along.” It also made clear that the overall goal for the Army is to ensure that it is absolutely loyal, pure, and reliable.
Zhong Sheng: Political Tricks Can Hardly Cover Up the Truth About the United States’ Insufficient Anti-Epidemic Measures
This lengthy series criticizing the US handling of the COVID-19 pandemic saw its conclusion after three weeks of near daily installments.
31 July’s article, titled “Fake ‘Support’ Conceals Sinister Intentions” characterized US support of the World Health Organization (WHO) as disingenuous. It pointed out that “when the global anti-epidemic efforts were the most hard-pressed, and the funding needs of the WHO were highest, America withdrew,” exposing US claims that it “car[ed for]” and “support[ed]” the WHO as insincere. Zhong Sheng stated that the United States actually only supports the WHO Secretariat’s plan for the next stage of virus tracing, a plan that has “discarded principles of scientific objectivity and lacks the spirit of cooperation.” It also called out the United States’ “‘double-standard’” standpoint of always “saying something and doing another,” exposing the United States’ ill intent of shifting the blame to China. The commentary ended with a juxtaposition of US inaction—highlighted by the US “waiting until 40 days had passed since the WHO warning was issued before it declared a national state of emergency”—with China’s actions, which Zhong Sheng described as a quick response to initiate prevention and control measures. The commentary further quoted UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who praised the willingness of the Chinese people to “sacrifice normal life in their contribution to humanity.”
1 August’s article, titled “The United States Is Its Own Greatest Enemy” urged the United States to focus on fixing its domestic social issues instead of promoting confrontation with other countries. Contrasting itself with the United States, the commentary asserted that, “China’s development has never been premised upon US decline.” Zhong Sheng claimed US behavior exposes the “chronic problem of US democracy emphasizing political performance over effectiveness,” seen especially in the United States pushing for the second stage of virus tracing “even though it knows China will not accept it in the slightest,” which the article speculated was due to the US trying to earn “cheap political points” by looking strong against China in order to cover up the domestic problems it is failing to address. The article lamented that the United States has not chosen to work with China in the face of this pandemic, as it did in 2014 against Ebola, and counseled the United States that making China an “imaginary enemy” will do nothing to help its domestic problems, that this attempt to rally the nation will only “make the situation worse and undermine the United States’ other interests.” As evidence, it went on to highlight specific social issues in the United States, such as its gun violence, racial unrest, and rising COVID-cases, and claimed that “the US’ problems are self-made and are only self-solvable.” The commentary expressed its confusion as to why the United States “still wastes resources on provoking confrontations with other countries.” Zhong Sheng also criticized the US’ failure to promote a middle-class society, to pass the George Floyd police reform bill in Congress, and to act on bipartisan consensus to strengthen construction of domestic infrastructure. It ended by urging the United States to learn from a previous period of domestic unrest 50 years ago, when former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came to China and “opened up the door of association between the two countries,” benefiting the whole world.
2 August’s article, titled “The United States Creates Divisions on the Battlefield of the Global Fight Against the Pandemic” invited the United States to step up international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and to abandon its unilateral pursuits. Zhong Sheng claimed that “the United States has never stood among the international ranks [who were] united in fighting the pandemic. It did not [do so] last year, and it has not done so this year; it creates divisions, just as it has always done in the past.” The commentary noted that the pandemic is not over, citing the WHO prediction that the world will reach 200 million confirmed cases this week, and pleaded for international unity. It said US politicians speak about “unity” and how important it is in the international community, but only in times of crisis, asserting that its actions fool no one. The commentary echoed the WHO call for unity with a declaration that, “Humanity must unite and combine its powers if it is to defeat the pandemic,” and criticized US behavior, which has “erected a high wall of isolation between countries.” The commentary also condemned US vaccination and medication hoarding, its forming of “‘small cliques’” (小圈子), pseudo-multilateralism, “‘origin-tracing terrorism’” (溯源恐怖主义), and allowing attacks, abuse, and threats against scientists, which harm the scientific community. It went on to counter US claims of “returning home” to the international community and said that their real motive was to “recruit allies against China, not to promote solidarity and cooperation.” The commentary rejected the US idea that China is its greatest competitor and threat and is attempting to fill the vacuum left by the United States, predicting that such lines of thinking will obstruct “the progress of humanity in harmoniously facing global challenges.” Zhong Sheng concluded by asking when the United States will listen to its public health experts and stop moving down the path of damaging unity and causing divisions.
3 August’s article, titled “Any Card That the United States Tries to Play to Put Pressure On China Has No Chance of Succeeding,” made the case that, “US soft and hard power are both declining.” According to the commentary, this is why the previous and current US administrations see China as a significant threat, taking every opportunity to politicize the pandemic, trade, education, science and technology, and internet safety, and why they “continue to create a ‘China threat’ public opinion atmosphere and seek to suppress, isolate, and control China’s development.” The article asserted that, at present, the US’ primary tool for achieving this outcome is calling for COVID-19 origin tracing. The commentary attempted to discredit this approach by suggesting that the United States will simply have its intelligence organization concoct a story when it finds no evidence to support its claims. The article posited that the United States was shifting blame for the coronavirus to China because the current administration is “faced with maintaining a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives” and thus desires to redirect the dissatisfaction of the people. The article further claimed that the United States misunderstands China and that nothing can obstruct China’s great rejuvenation, especially not the US “playing any of its cards,” as “history, the present, and the future prove.” The article also observed that US origin tracing is almost paranoid, and only serves to harm its image, especially when it sought to discredit the results of the first stage of WHO-China virus tracing, “suppressing scientific workers with an objective standpoint, and other ‘origin-tracing terrorism’ practices that run counter to principles of science and justice.” It stated this behavior undermines the international view of the United States as a “scientific and technological powerhouse [and] a ‘city on a hill.’” The article encouraged the United States to “let the work of tracing the virus return to scientific principles instead of presuming guilt for political purposes,” or, as the commentary quoted Swiss biologist Wilson Edwards as saying: “stop pretending to be a virologist.”
4 August’s article, titled “US Hegemonic Thinking Turns a Blind Eye Towards the General Trend of World Development” argued that China is essentially a great power and should be treated as such, and that the US needs to stop its obsession with suppressing China. The commentary went so far as to claim that the United States has a “China Anxiety Disorder” (对华焦虑症), due to the United States fearing any threat to its hegemony and its inability to accept China’s rise, noting that its “current domestic predicaments...only exacerbate its impulse to demonize China.” Addressing US antagonism towards China’s rise, the article argued that the US’ “obsession has resulted in the decline of its influence,” warning the United States that it could not reclaim the leadership it once had by trying to suppress China, and that “politically, the glory of US democracy no longer exists” due to domestic unrest (e.g. the storming of the US Capitol, racial division, gun violence, etc.) and its international political manipulations. The commentary stated that no country, let alone the United States, can face today’s challenges alone. It juxtaposed China’s current situation with this bleak portrayal, claiming China’s economy is stable and unusually resilient, a “stabilizing force in the midst of great changes.” The commentary criticized the United States for pressuring China by visiting its neighboring countries in an attempt to encircle it and for “launch[ing] trade wars, wars of science and technology, and us[ing] protectionism and multilateralism to check China’s development.” Zhong Sheng claimed this was because the United States “still does not know how to handle a China courageous enough to undertake the responsibility of a great power and that is more confident and enterprising [than ever].”
The commentary stated that “China has already become the largest trading partner of the European Union and ASEAN. With a massive market of 1.4 billion Chinese people, there is no country willing to cut ties with China, no country able to handle the massive losses created by cutting ties with China. The international community clearly recognizes the harm of the United States forcing other countries to choose sides. [For example,] Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, pointed out that in many domains, ‘If one disregards China, one will never be able to find a solution.’” The commentary and series then concluded by calling upon the United States to recognize that 100 countries oppose the politicization of virus tracing, saying that it is up to the United States to find a way forward for peaceful existence between the two countries.
Xie Xinping: The Wind Fills the Red Flag at the Start of a New Voyage
8.1 This commentary tied together the history of the people’s army of China, recalled historic battles and heroes, and declared a bright future ahead for both the army and for China. It was written in celebration of the 94th anniversary of the PLA’s founding on 1 August, and drew a comparison between the historically significant six year gap between the founding of the Communist Party of China and the people’s army on the one hand and the six year period beginning with the CCP’s recently-celebrated centenary and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the people’s army. The commentary stated that “the people’s army is shouldering a heavy historical responsibility on the new journey,” and advised the army to “learn from history to create the future.” It further claimed that the army draws authority and power from the Party and from its homeland, strength from reform and innovation, and quoted Chairman Xi Jinping as saying, “We firmly believe that our heroic forces have the confidence and capability to defeat every invader and enemy! Our heroic forces have the confidence and capability to protect our country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, and to write the new chapter of a strong military.”
The article also specified China’s broad military plans and goals for the upcoming six years as: “continuing to strengthen the armed forces in political building, reform, science and technology, [and] talent and directing them in accordance with the law... moderniz[ing] military theory, structure, personnel, weapons and equipment...accelerat[ing] the integrated development of mechanization, information technology, and intelligence,” setting up new systems of administration and innovation, and “commission[ing] new domestic aircraft carriers, fighter jets, submarines and missiles.”
March Forward Courageously, Advancing in the Direction Led by the Party
8.1 A PLA Daily Commentator Article discussed Xi Jinping’s speech at the 32nd Politburo Joint Study Session preceding the annual 1 August celebration of the PLA’s founding. According to the Article, Xi expounded on the “great significance” of meeting the Army’s centenary goal, saying that the PLA had secured an “immortal achievement” for the Party and the people. He noted that the centenary goal also offered a way forward to accelerate modernization of national defense and the armed forces. The commentary went on to discuss PLA history, saying that the army had “always adhered to the Party commanding the gun (党指挥枪), with the Party leading the army to keep its original mission in mind” through all periods of the nation’s existence, maintaining its character and purpose, “overcoming all obstacles along the entire journey, [and] achieving one glorious victory after another.” Further, both history and the present have proven that when the PLA follows the Party’s absolute leadership and advances in the direction led by the Party, the PLA is able to unceasingly develop and expand, and provides a “strong and powerful support” for the enterprise of the Party and the people.
The Commentator Article underscored the relationship between the Party and the army, saying that the Party was critical to the PLA’s success and pointing out the deployments instituted by the 18th Party Congress. As well, it noted that the world was currently experiencing the acceleration of “changes unseen in a century” (百年未有之大变局) including the coronavirus pandemic and China’s indeterminate and unstable security situation. The commentary observed that the army was likewise critical to the Party’s ability to maintain national security in light of these evolving challenges. Continuing to expound on Xi’s speech, the Article emphasized the importance of modernizing the Army, saying that the 19th Party Congress had proposed the “three-steps” development strategy to modernize national defense and the armed forces (国防和军队现代化新“三步走”) and that the 19th Central Committee’s Fifth Plenum had stipulated that the army’s centenary goal would be achieved by 2027. Pointing out that this would need to be implemented systematically across all sectors, the Article claimed that the 14th Five Year Plan had provided a plan for doing so.
People’s Daily Commentator Article Series: On the Spiritual Pedigree of Chinese Communist Party Members
People’s Daily featured two additions to the ongoing Commentator Article series on the spiritual pedigree of Chinese Communist Party members.
3 August’s Commentator Article, “Persevere Unremittingly in Educating the Masses of Party Members and Cadres in the Yan’an Spirit” affirmed the “fine tradition and style” of the Yan’an period’s revolutionary generation, which composed the “valuable spiritual wealth” of the Party. Following Xi Jinping, the Commentator Article expounded on these points, saying that this spiritual wealth consisted of “cultivating the Yan’an spirit with its firm and correct political direction”; the party line of “seeking truth from facts”; the “fundamental aim of wholeheartedly serving the people”; and a self-reliant enterprising spirit. The commentary went on to review the history of the Chinese Communist Party’s time in Yan’an and its significance for winning the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression as well as for the establishment of the PRC. Noting that the world was now experiencing “changes unseen in a century,” the Commentator Article urged party members to draw on the Yan’an spirit to navigate these changes and overcome future challenges.
5 August’s Commentator Article, “The Great Spirit of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression Is the Valuable Spiritual Wealth of the Chinese People” identified the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression as a primary component of the spiritual pedigree of Chinese Communist Party members, saying that it continued to inspire them to “overcome all untold dangers and difficulties” and served as the motivation for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Article reviewed the history of the war against Japan, saying that China’s victory constituted the “great victory of righteousness prevailing over evil, light prevailing over darkness, and progress prevailing over reactionary [forces],” as well as setting an important precedent for repelling foreign invasions in the modern period. Consequently, these victories are at the foundation of China’s patriotism and national spirit. In the present, the spirit of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression must inspire a new generation to comprehensively build a modern socialist country.
People’s Daily Commentator Article Series: Global Pandemic Prevention Must Purge the “Political Virus”
People’s Daily featured a Commentator Article series on the United States’ efforts to investigate COVID-19’s origins.
5 August’s article, titled “Political Manipulation is Bound to be Unpopular” began by discussing the report on COVID-19’s origin published by a member of the US House of Representatives on 2 August that broached the “lab-leak theory,” calling it, among other things, “despicable behavior that completely lacked a moral bottom line.” Moreover, the article said that as the Delta variant of COVID-19 caused cases to rise rapidly, both in the United States and abroad, the United States nevertheless “politicized the epidemic, stigmatized the virus, and instrumentalized origin tracing.” The article said that these actions—which “interfered in and undermined the scientificness and solemnity of virus origin tracing and the general situation of global epidemic prevention cooperation”—were a “political virus” and were “only doomed to fail.”
Moving on, the article stated that, although investigating COVID-19’s origin was a “complicated scientific issue that should be viewed globally and launched with the global cooperation of scientists,” the United States ignored science and engaged in “origin-tracing terrorism (溯源恐怖主义)” by blaming China and using intelligence agencies to find evidence of the “lab-leak theory.” Furthermore, the article said that the United States was trying to “avoid responsibility for its failure in fighting the pandemic and find an excuse to suppress and contain China’s development.” Because the United States bullied countries to accept the “lab-leak” theory and attacked scientists, investigations into COVID-19’s origin must first eliminate the “political virus.” After describing international backlash over the United States’ “political manipulation” in regards to COVID-19’s origin, the article concluded by recalling the United States’ use of weak evidence to prove Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in 2003, asserting that “repeating the same tricks” was, among other things, a “serious misjudgment of China.” Instead, the article said that the United States should focus on fighting the pandemic and stop “political manipulation and the cheap tricks of passing the buck and shifting blame,” thereby having an attitude of responsibility towards its people and global public health.
6 August’s Commentator Article, titled “Passing the Buck and Shifting Blame Can Only Deceive Oneself” focused on the United States alleged tendency to blame others to distract from its rising COVID-19 infections, its mismanagement of the pandemic, and its implication in COVID-19’s origins. It opened by noting that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths had risen significantly in the United States, yet US politicians are “obsessed with “passing the buck and shifting blame and can’t wait to issue a new edition of the ‘Novel Coronavirus Origin Tracing Report,’ attempting to smear other countries to deflect blame for their failure to do their best at epidemic prevention.” The Commentator Article went on to suggest that part of the US’ failure to contain the pandemic was due to them spending too much time blaming other countries, and not enough time attending to their own pandemic situation, a choice that not only detracted from US COVID-19 prevention and treatment efforts but also weakened international efforts. Next, the commentary made a number of claims about US efforts to conceal early instances of COVID infection within its borders, including that the virus had appeared in Florida in early 2020, as well as underreporting current infection rates. The Commentator Article alleged that these efforts had been undertaken to bolster US attempts to shift blame for the pandemic.
Next, the Article addressed US hypocrisy with regard to the WHO. It pointed out that in passing the buck by appealing to the WHO, the US was “staging a “‘thief-shouting-“stop-thief!”’ (贼喊捉贼)-‘making-bogus-accusations’ (倒打一耙) farce.” China was not the one who was obstructing the work of the WHO; rather, the United States is, and only participates in the WHO when it suits them. In fact, China allowed the WHO into the country to conduct an origin tracing investigation, while the United States refused to answer questions about Fort Detrick or invite the WHO to investigate it. The commentary rhetorically asked, “What is the logic [behind] holding a flashlight and only shining at others, not on yourself?” saying that US politicians’ conduct clearly revealed that they “fundamentally did not care about facts or truth [and] were not interested in serious, scientific origin tracing, but only in using the epidemic for stigmatizing [other countries] and for political manipulation.” It urged the United States to “retrieve its conscience and reason as soon as possible, and immediately stop passing the buck and shifting blame.”
Zhong Sheng: The United States Is Seriously Disturbing and Undermining the Correct Orientation of Scientific Origin Tracing
8.6 In a Zhong Sheng commentary, Beijing characterized US attempts to blame China for COVID-19 as a “political virus” (政治病毒). Furthermore, like the origins of the coronavirus, the origins of the political virus also require tracing. The commentary described two paths forward with regard to origin tracing: the first is the “scientific” path advocated by China, which has twice invited the World Health Organization into the country and given it unfettered access to relevant sites. The second path is that pursued by the United States, which politicized the virus in order to deflect from its domestic failure to handle COVID-19 as well as from its own potential culpability, attempting to avoid any investigation into COVID’s origins at Fort Detrick or attention to its “over 200 biological labs” worldwide. The commentary also asserted that the United States was using the WHO as a tool, disguising its hegemonic agenda as “pseudo-multilateralism.” It concluded by reaffirming the need for scientific origin tracing, saying that “if the United States really cared” about identifying the virus’s origins, it would invite an investigation into Fort Detrick.
Zhong Sheng: “Using Taiwan to Control China” is Destined to be Futile
8.6 A 6 August Zhong Sheng commentary condemned the recent announcement of US arms sales to Taiwan. The commentary began by urging the United States to “keep its promises,” “scrupulously abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the China-US Three Joint Communiques, cease arms sales to Taiwan and US-Taiwan military relations, immediately retract plans related to arms sales to Taiwan, [refrain from] sending wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ splittist forces, and undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” It stated that the 4 August announcement of arms sales violated existing China-US policies with regard to Taiwan, as well as violating China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and international law. The commentary reiterated that the Taiwan issue concerned China’s “core interests” and was the “most sensitive issue in China-US relations.” As a result, the arms sales aggravated tensions between the United States and China; if the United States persists in this behavior, China would take “resolute countermeasures in accordance with developing circumstances.” Turning to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Zhong Sheng cautioned that “relying on foreigners to strengthen oneself” (挟洋自重) and undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait would inevitably result in them “eating their own bitter fruit.” The commentary concluded by advising the DPP to “rein in the horse before the precipice” and return to the right path in order to avoid disaster.
International Liaison Work
8.1 International Department Assistant Head Li Mingxiang (李明祥) attended and addressed an online celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the South African Communist Party (SACP). SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande delivered the keynote address at the event. Other participants included all of the SACP Central Committee members, leaders from the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) and other affiliated organizations, SACP veteran representatives, African National Congress (ANC) National Chair Gwede Mantashe, and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) First Deputy President Mike Shingange.
8.2 International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with World Health Organization (WHO) China Representative Office official Paige Snider.
8.4 Minister of Justice Tang Yijun (唐一军) was appointed Ministry of Justice Party group secretary.
8.5 Ren Hongbin (任鸿斌) was appointed vice minister of commerce.