Party Watch Weekly Report 2|16 1.26.2019-2.1.2019
By David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, James Gannon, Ann Listerud, and Sandy Lu
The Politburo met to praise the work of the party groups of state bodies in 2018 and set their agenda for 2019 (see Senior Leaders section).Han Zheng hosted a meeting of the Leading Group for Advancing Belt and Road Development (see Senior Leaders section).Both the People’s Daily and PLA Daily elaborated on Xi Jinping’s speech to the Politburo last week on promoting media integration (see Propaganda Work section).
Xi Jinping Presides over Meeting of the Politburo
1.25 Xi Jinping presided over a Politburo meeting, which praised the work of the party leadership groups of six state bodies (the NPC’s Standing Committee, State Council, CPPCC National Committee, Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and the Central Secretariat) and agreed on the work arrangements for 2019. The Politburo Standing Committee had met to hear the groups’ work reports on 7 January.
It was emphasized that 2019, the 70th anniversary of the PRC’s founding, will be a critical year for “building an all-round moderately prosperous society.” The meeting also called for continued adherence to “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” the "four consciousnesses" (四个意识), and the “four confidences” (四个自信), as well as to “resolutely rectify the problem of ‘four forms’ (四风), especially formalism and bureaucracy.”
Much attention was given to the issue of party construction. The opinions of the Central Committee on reinforcing the Party’s political construction were reviewed at the meeting and were said to implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, as well as the spirit of the 19th Party Congress. The meeting stressed that it is necessary to ensure the whole party “complies with the center” and “defends the Party Central Committee’s authority and centralized and unified leadership.”
Finally, the revised “Regulations on the Selection and Appointment of Leading Cadres of the Party and Government” elaborates on the importance of “adhering to and strengthening the Party's overall leadership, putting political standards first, and continuing to precisely and scientifically select personnel.”
Ding Xuexiang: Take the Lead to Achieve the “Two Defends” and Promote the High-Quality Development of Party Building in Central and State Organs
1.31 CCP Politburo and Central Secretariat member Ding Xuexiang (丁薛祥) spoke at a meeting on the Party’s discipline inspection work. During his speech, Ding emphasized that “central and state organs, as the leading organs for promoting the implementation of the Party Central Committee’s decisions and plans on the governance of the country and the Party, must take a clear-cut stand on politics and, through proper understanding and action, take the lead in achieving the ‘two defends’ (两个维护).”
Han Zheng Hosts Meeting of the Leading Group for Promoting the Construction of the Belt and Road
1.31 Politburo Standing Committee member Han Zheng (韩正) hosted a meeting of the leading group on advancing the Belt and Road (BRI) development, where he discussed conscientiously implementing Xi Jinping’s August speech marking the fifth anniversary of the BRI.
Han told the group that this year it must focus on transforming the BRI into “high quality development” and “effectively respond to challenges brought about by changes in the external environment.” He also said it was necessary to “improve evaluation and assessment of projects, and raise the people’s sense of gain in countries where the projects are located.”
PD Commentator: Promote the Deep Integration of the Media, Expand and Strengthen Mainstream Public Opinion
1.26 People’s Daily published a commentator article praising Xi Jinping’s 25 Januaryspeech on media integration and the Party’s news and public opinion work since the 18th Party Congress.
The commentary argued that “practice fully shows that the Party Central Committee’s strategic plan for promoting the development of media integration is completely correct.” It also maintained that “practice tells us that if we actively promote the development of media integration, continuously expand the influence domain of mainstream values, and continue to improve the quality and level of positive propaganda, we can firmly grasp the initiative and predominance in public opinion and make the Party’s voice spread further, more widely, and more thoroughly.”
The commentary concluded by noting “media integration is the orientation of the times and a general trend. Whoever can adapt to this major trend and show the way in the all-media era can grasp the strategic initiative.”
PLA Daily Commentator: Create a New Type of Mainstream Media that Is Strong, Influential, and Competitive
1.26 The PLA Daily discussed Xi Jinping’s address to the Politburo last week about promoting media integration and consolidating the ideological base of the Party, nation, and people. In pursuit of that goal, Xi said that it is important to keep pace with new developments in media delivery and consumption.
According to the PLA Daily, the military media, which “shoulders the task of ‘raising flags,’ rallying popular support, educating newcomers, developing culture, and showcasing an image,” is no exception. It must “plan, move, and act” according to new trends and “ceaselessly strengthen its power of communication, guidance, influence, and credibility.” In this way, the military media can help "deepen reform and promote deep integration," as well as improve the "quality and level of positive publicity."
Results of 2018 Operation Skynet Released; 2019 Operation Skynet Begins
1.28 The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervision Commission’s (NSC) website released data on the results of the 2018 Operation Skynet (天网2018). The data shows that 1,335 fugitives were arrested and 3.54 billion RMB was retrieved in 2018. 307 of the arrested fugitives were Party members and state functionaries, and 5 of the arrested were on China’s Interpol Red Notice List.
On the same day, the Fugitive Repatriation and Asset Recovery Office of the Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group (中央反腐败协调小组国际追逃追赃工作办公室) held a meeting to study the international fugitive repatriation and asset recovery work in 2019 and announce the commencement of the 2019 Operation Skynet (天网2019). The NSC was assigned to lead the special operation for international fugitive repatriation and asset recovery work for duty-related crimes, the Supreme People’s Court to lead and develop an asset recovery special operation that accords with the illegal income confiscation procedure, the Ministry of Public Security to lead the “Fox Hunt” special operation, the People’s Bank of China to guard against and crack down on transferring assets overseas through offshore companies and underground banking with the Ministry of Public Security, and the Organization Department to regulate the illegal issue and possession of IDs for leaving the country for personal reasons with the Ministry of Public Security.
Former China Coal Technology Engineering Group Chairman and Secretary of its Party Committee Wang Jinhua Expelled from Party and Public Service
1.29 Former China Coal Technology Engineering Group Chairman and Secretary of its Party Committee Wang Jinhua (王金华) was placed under investigation for serious violations of discipline and law. The investigation showed that Wang had violated political discipline, resisted organizational investigation, received bribes, and interfered with the investments of major projects.
In light of Wang’s violations, he has been expelled from the Party and public service.
Reports on Central Special Inspections of Poverty Alleviation Efforts Released
1.30 Reports on the central special inspections of poverty alleviation efforts were released on the CCDI and NSC website. The reports indicated that “the inspection groups fully affirmed the accomplishments of Party organs and the contributions of the broad cadres working on poverty alleviation but also pointed out the existing problems.” The reports stated that some regions and units did not precisely study and implement the Party Central Committee’s plans on poverty alleviation or fully fulfill their responsibilities. The reports also stressed the importance of discipline, supervision, and organization departments reinforcing daily supervision and deeply addressing the problems of formalism and bureaucracy.
Zhong Jiyan: Be Brave Enough for Self-Reform, Unflinchingly Promote the Deep Development of the Comprehensive Strict Governance of the Party
2.1 A commentary under the byline “Zhong Jiyan” (钟纪言) discussed the most important takeaways from Xi Jinping’s speech at the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s third plenary session. The first lesson is that self-revolution--constantly self-purifying, self-refining, self-innovating, and self-improving--is the “distinctive feature and unique advantage of the Chinese Communist Party” and that “self-revolution is the key to our Party’s continued victory.”
The commentary then explained the components of self-revolution or “the four selves” (四个自我). “Self-purification” (自我净化) is to filter impurities, remove toxins, and cut out tumors. “Self-refinement” (自我完善) is to repair the body, improve the mechanism, and enrich functions. “Self-innovation” (自我革新) means keeping pace with the times and practicing self-transcendence. “Self-improvement” (自我提高) means to cultivate new capabilities and reach new boundaries.
The third lesson is to “promote the Party’s self-revolution with the development of high-quality discipline inspection and supervision for the new era.” The commentary explained that this includes, “shouldering the heavy responsibility of the ‘two defends’ (两个维护),” “conducting daily supervision precisely and carefully,” persevering with the anti-corruption campaign, and “continuing to deepen the reform of the discipline inspection system.”
Central Military Commission
CMC Releases Opinions on Comprehensively Strictly Managing Troops
1.30 The CMC released opinions on comprehensively strictly managing the troops (关于全面从严加强部队管理的意见), aiming to “deeply implement Xi Jinping’s thought on a strong military, accelerate the building of a new type of military management system, promote a fundamental change in the governing style of the military, and reinforce and improve the troop management in a new era.” The opinions emphasized the importance of focusing the troops’ management work on preparing for wars and improving the management system during wartime.
Central Military Commission
Xu Qiliang and Wei Fenghe Respectively Meet Australian Minister for Defence Pyne
1.24 CMC Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang (许其亮) and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) respectively met with Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne on the same day. During the meeting, Xu expressed hope that Australia will “continue to reinforce strategic communication and interaction at all levels between the two militaries” and “contribute to developing the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia.” Pyne stated that “the Australian side highly values the development of bilateral relations with China” and that Australia “is willing to improve mutual strategic trust with China.”
Comprehensively Deepening Reform
Carry Out Reform and Opening Up Unswervingly to the End
China Economic Daily
1.28 The Central Party School’s Center for Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era issued a commentary on Xi Jinping’s speech at the 40th anniversary of Reform and Opening Up. The commentary emphasizes that reform and opening up is the most distinctive feature of contemporary China, and that it has transformed both China and the world.
Reform and Opening is in essence the improvement and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics which has entered a new era. “Looking through the history of modern China, we immediately understand that without engaging in socialism, the only path is towards death (回溯整个中国近代史，就会懂得，不搞社会主义，只有死路一条).”
According to the article, when China’s political system, development model, and values succeed in ways the West does not recognize, it reveals the bankruptcy of the West and the final conclusion of history, which the West finds intolerable. It is important therefore to keep minds clear and not swerve from the direction of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, which has entered a new era. Deepening reform and opening requires walking along the socialist road through modernizing national governance and capacity, but never through Westernization or becoming capitalist. Reform and Opening must still climb through the mountains and struggle through hundreds of battles. We must bravely move forward and carry out Reform and Opening Up to create a new, bigger miracle to impress the world.
Increase the Intensity of “Cuts, Reduction and Strengthening”
China Economic Daily
1.29 China Economic Daily issued a commentary focused on supply side structural reform. Since the main contradiction of China’s economy is still its supply side structure, the Central Economic Work Conference stressed that supply side structural reform must be adhered to.
Over the past three years significant results have been achieved in reducing the asset-liability ratio in commercial housing and enterprise costs, and a large number of high pollution enterprises have been cleared out. Deepening supply side structural reform will stimulate the vitality of the market, and will improve the efficiency and quality of economic development. Of course, the reform process of the past three years has not been easy and not everyone has been happy. But today’s pain is the price to avoid greater pain in the future, and the fundamentals of long term economic development have not changed.
It must also be recognized that “three cuts, one reduction, one strengthening,” (三去一降一补) is not an expedient measure for removing problems. Rather, it is the first action to pave the way for new business and healthy growth. Some local governments still act as a protective umbrella for “zombie enterprises” (companies that remain in business despite consistently operating at a loss). It is imperative to dispose of zombie enterprises to free up valuable resources, then to foster and strengthen technological innovation, and finally to reduce costs for enterprises.
The commentary urges readers to not be careless about the contradictions and shocks that arise from this process, and advises that, whenever possible, zombie enterprises should be disposed of through mergers and acquisitions rather than through bankruptcy and liquidation. Care and importance must be placed on employment and preventing social risks. After taking this big step forward, China’s economic development will usher in a bright future.
International Liaison Work
An Important Contribution to the Advancement of Human Civilization - The 40th Anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening Up in the Eyes of Foreign Political Parties
2.1 Qiushi published an article on the international impact of Reform and Opening and foreign perspectives on its 40th anniversary by the International Department. The article argued that the following four points represent what “foreign political parties and leaders generally think” of Reform and Opening.
First, Reform and Opening has “promoted world peace and development.” The article explained that Reform and Opening “not only conforms with the historic demands of the Chinese people for development, innovation, and a beautiful life but also agrees with the era’s trends of people from all the world’s countries wanting development, cooperation, and a peaceful life.”
Second, Reform and Opening has “provided a successful example of moving toward modernization for a vast number of developing countries.” The article elaborated that “socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a brand new choice for maintaining one’s own independence while simultaneously realizing modernization.”
Third, Reform and Opening has “decoded the proper mission and responsibilities of political parties.” The article expanded on this idea by maintaining that “Reform and Opening is the Chinese Communist Party’s practice of using great self revolution to promote great social revolution” and “the wisdom and determination of the Chinese Communist Party’s leaders established a solid foundation for Reform and Opening.”
Fourth, Reform and Opening has “made an important contribution to the advancement of human civilization.” The article further argued that “China’s Reform and Opening has creatively developed Marxism, enriched Marxist theory and practice, made the superiority and strong vitality of socialist systems manifest, and greatly boosted the strength of world socialism.”
1.23-1.30 At the invitation of the International Department, a North Korean art troupe visited China. The troupe was led by Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Politburo member, WPK Central Committee Vice Chairman, and WPK International Relations Department Head Ri Su Yong.
The troupe, which was composed of nearly 300 individuals, put on three performances at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts between 26 and 28 January.
Politburo Standing Committee members Li Zhanshu (栗战书) and Wang Huning (王沪宁) individually met Ri and participated in events related to the troupe’s visit on 28 and 29 January respectively.
1.27 International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with the Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov.
1.28 International Department Deputy Head Li Jun (李军) met with an Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) cadre study group led by FLN ruling committee member Samira Kerkouche.
1.30 Qian Hongshan met with the Kazakh Ambassador to China Shakhrat Nuryshev.
1.28 Yi Huiman (易会满) was appointed chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission and secretary of its party committee.
1.28 Liu Shiyu (刘士余) was appointed deputy secretary of the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives’ Party group.
1.29 Deng Yiwu (邓亦武) was appointed chairman of Sinograin and secretary of its party group.
1.29 Weng Tiehui (翁铁慧) was appointed vice minister of the Ministry of Education.
1.29 Zhang Xiaolun (张晓仑) was appointed chairman of Sinomach and secretary of its party committee.
1.29 Zheng Fuzhi (郑富芝) was appointed vice minister and school inspector general of the Ministry of Education.
1.29 Yu Xuejun (于学军) was appointed deputy director of the National Health Commission.
1.29 Jiang Hui (姜辉) was appointed head of the Institute of Contemporary China Studies.
1.30 Qi Yu (齐玉) was appointed secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ party committee.
1.31 Gao Jinghong (高憬宏) was appointed vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, a member of its judicial committee, and judge.