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China Watch: Weekly Report Two Session Edition

Weekly Report Two Session Edition I | 3.2.2019-3.8.2019

David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Brock Erdahl, James Gannon, Sandy Lu

13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Second Session:

13th CPPCC Second Session Holds Second, Third, and Fourth Plenary Meetings
3.9-11  The CPPCC held its second, third, and fourth plenary meetings from 9 to 11 March. During the second plenary meeting, 14 CPPCC National Committee members spoke about economic and ecological civilization construction. They stressed the importance of “realizing high-quality development,” “stimulating enterprises’ innovative vitality,” resolving “zombie company” issues, enhancing the quality of poverty alleviation, pushing forward rural vitalization, and protecting the ecological environment of the Tibetan Plateau. CPPCC National Committee President Wang Yang (汪洋) and Vice Premier Hu Chunhua (胡春华) attended the meeting.
During the third plenary meeting, 15 members gave speeches on cultural and social construction. Their speeches focused on “telling the China Story well” through works of art and literature, improving childcare and elder care services, promoting the healthy development of the AI industry, continuing “the discovery of space with Chinese characteristics,” and strengthening employment support.
The fourth plenary meeting focused on discussing political construction and the work of the united front and CPPCC. They highlighted the importance of “deepening civil exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait,” utilizing the “unique advantage of overseas Chinese” for the BRI, “establishing a robust and new type of supervision management mechanism,” and “adhering to the direction of the sinicization of our country’s Christianity.”
Member Yang Jie (杨杰) stressed during the meeting that “Chinese Muslims are Chinese citizens first” and that “[religious people] must unite and lead the religious masses well... must study and use the common spoken and written Chinese language well… must lead the fight against separatism, extreme terrorism, and religious extremism… [and] must lead the masses to be grateful for the Party, listen to the Party, and follow the Party.”
Xu Xiaohong: Adhere to China’s Sinicization of Christianity Orientation, Actively Adapt to Socialist Society
3.11  Three-Self Patriotic Movement National Committee Head Xu Xiaohong (徐晓鸿) delivered a speech stressing the need for Chinese Christians to “adhere to China’s sinicization of Christianity orientation and actively adapt to socialist society” at the fourth plenary meeting of the 13th CPPCC National Committee’s second session.
Xu stated that “many outstanding problems exist in Christianity, including outside infiltration, privately arranged gathering spots, a lack of high-quality pastors who love their country and religion, and weak legal consciousness among some pastors and believers.” He warned that “without further attention, [these problems] could produce serious political consequences.”
Xu emphasized that “China’s churches are surnamed ‘China,’ not ‘the West.’ Western anti-China forces futile attempts to continue influencing China’s social stability and even subverting its regime through Christianity are doomed to failure.” He added that “As for individual troublemakers who carry the banner of Christianity and take part in subverting national security, we resolutely support the country bringing them to justice.”
Xu also claimed that “compared to other religions, the historical burdens and practical pressures on the sinicization of Chinese Christianity are heavier and greater.” He argued that this requires: 1. “Eliminating Chinese Christianity’s ‘foreign religion’ brand,” 2. “Building a genuine ‘self’ in theology,” 3. “Absorbing the excellent traditions of Chinese culture,” and 4. “Promoting and practicing core socialist values.”
13th CPPCC National Committee Second Session Concludes
3.13  CPPCC National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) presided over the closing ceremony of the 13th CPPCC National Committee second session. Xi Jinping with other Politburo Standing Committee members and Wang Qishan (王岐山) attended the meeting.
People’s Daily published an editorial the next day to congratulate the CPPCC on a successful meeting. The editorial concluded that “we will be able to surmount all difficulties and obstacles in our path moving forward as long as [we] congregate Chinese people of different party affiliations, religions, ethnicities, and [social] statuses at home and abroad, and form the broadest patriotic united front that is devoted to realizing the reunification of the motherland and the China Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Second Session:

Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, and Zhao Leji Attend Deliberation Sessions
People's Daily
3.9   Politburo Standing Committee members Li Keqiang (李克强), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), and Zhao Leji (赵乐际) participated in deliberation sessions for Jilin, Chongqing, and Guizhou respectively.
Li Keqiang focused on improving China’s business environment. He specified such objectives as “releasing the energy” of private and state-owned enterprises, revamping traditional industries, boosting biopharmaceutical and advanced manufacturing industries, and implementing China’s “rural revitalization strategy.”
Li Zhanshu focused on "fulfilling people’s needs in a new era." He recommended promoting high-quality development by enacting “high-quality legislation;” and protecting the people’s interests through rule of law.
Zhao Leji discussed using the CCDI’s competencies to promote poverty alleviation by “supervising and implementing the political responsibilities” of poverty alleviation and fighting corruption.
Xi Jinping, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, and Zhao Leji Participate in Deliberation Sessions
People's Daily
3.10  Politburo Standing Committee members Xi Jinping (习近平), Li Zhanshu (栗战书), Wang Yang (汪洋), Wang Huning (王沪宁), and Zhao Leji (赵乐际) participated in deliberation sessions for Fujian, Jiangsu, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hainan, respectively.
Xi Jinping focused on fighting poverty, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and strengthening cross-Strait integration. Meanwhile, Li Zhanshu said that the Foreign Investment Law shows China's "clear stance" on pursuing win-win strategies and building an “open world economy.” Zhao Leji spoke about accelerating plans for Hainan’s experimental free trade zone, as well as the importance of strengthening supervision.
Wang Yang (汪洋) and Wang Huning (王沪宁) participated in Tibet’s and Xinjiang’s deliberation sessions, respectively, and discussed promoting national unity and stability in each region.
NPC Holds Third Plenary Meeting; Politburo Standing Committee Deliberates on Work Reports from the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate
3.12   All seven members of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee attended the NPC’s third plenary meeting to deliberate on the work reports of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).
In their discussions, both SPC President Zhou Qiang (周强) and SPP Procurator-General Zhang Jun (张军) emphasized the need for more supervision over the bodies they lead. Zhou said the SPC needs to “conscientiously accept supervision,” while Zhang said the SPP should strengthen supervision in such areas as criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings.
Xi Jinping Attends PLA and PAP Plenary Meeting
3.12   Xi Jinping attended a plenary meeting of representatives from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) at the NPC. During his speech, Xi said that it is essential to complete the final tasks of the 13th five-year plan for military construction by the deadline in 2020. He emphasized that it is necessary to strengthen inspection and oversight, including with regards to finance and corruption.
Speaking about the 14th five-year plan for military construction, Xi said that the plan must be adapted to the “strategic requirements” of national development, security, and the military. He outlined some of the military’s wide-ranging duties, which include protecting China’s sovereignty, maintaining social stability, supporting local economic and social development, responding to disasters, and helping “impoverished villages and people.”
CMC Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang (许其亮) chaired the session, and Zhang Youxia (张又侠), Wei Fenghe (魏凤和), Li Zuocheng (李作成), Miao Hua, (苗华) and Zhang Shengmin (张升民) were in attendance.  
13th NPC’s Second Session Concludes in Beijing
3.15  Li Zhanshu presided over the closing ceremony of the 13th NPC second session. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, and Wang Qishan attended.
The meeting approved State Council’s work report, the plan for 2019’s economic and social development, the central budget for 2019, the NPC Standing Committee’s work plan for the following year, and the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on 1 January 2020.

Propaganda Work

Zhong Sheng: Great Power Diplomacy Reveals China Cherishes the Whole World as One Community
People's Daily
3.11  People’s Daily’s Zhong Sheng column, which transmits the views of the People’s Daily on foreign affairs, praised Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s (王毅) 8 March press conference at the Two Sessions for “having sorted out several lines for the world to perceive the spirit of Chinese diplomacy.”
After warning against unilateralism, protectionism, and populism, the column argued that “global peace and development require expectations of stability. The more the situation changes, the more stabilizing factors are needed.” It then portrayed China as a source of stability, asserting that “according to the concept of multilateralism, China genuinely works together with global partners to resolutely defend the international system with the United Nations as its core and international order with international law as its foundation and build an open world economy.”
The column struck a similar note in its conclusion. Here it maintained that “China holds high the banner of building a community of shared future for mankind and stands on the side of the correct orientation of historical progress and the common interests of the vast majority of the world’s countries. Diplomacy with Chinese characteristics… indicates that China will make more and greater new contributions to world peace and development.”

Party Discipline

Defining 2019 as the “Year of Reducing the Grassroots Burden”
3.11 The General Office of the CCP Central Committee released a “Notice on Resolving the Outstanding Problems of Formalism to Reduce the Grassroots Burden” and identified 2019 as the “Year of Reducing the Grassroots Burden.” The notice is reportedly in response to instructions Xi Jinping made at the end of last year that problems with formalism that plague the grassroots should be resolved in 2019 and that the burden should be reduced at the grassroots level.
The notice focuses on resolving several specific problems. First, addressing the problem of excessive paperwork and meetings (文山会海), the notice stipulates that documents and meetings should be streamlined and no policy documents should exceed 10 pages in length. The notice also calls for fewer and shorter meetings. Second, the notice identifies the “excessive trace of investigation” as a problem, noting that some officials utilize holding other officials accountable to avoid taking responsibility for their own duties. Therefore, the notice stipulates that no one person should have the power to assign fault to others unilaterally.

International Liaison Work

3.11  International Department Deputy Head Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with the 2016-2020 fourth training class for Laotian leading cadres, which was led by Ministry of Public Security Communications Bureau Deputy Head Sengpaserd Southammavong. The meeting was also attended by Laotian Ambassador to China Vandy Bouthasavong.
3.15  International Department Deputy Head Qian Hongshan (钱洪山) met with Uzbek Security Council Deputy Secretary Bobur Usmanov.


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