- China’s 13th Five Year Plan and related development policies demonstrate that innovation and large-scale reform are viewed as critical to realizing the leadership’s goals of achieving a moderately prosperous society, a strong military, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China’s non-public sector is viewed as a source of innovation, but also as ideologically unreliable.
- In order to control and limit reform and innovation to the economic sphere, the CCP will continue its efforts to instill “core socialist values” in its citizens. United front work increasingly endeavors to both channel the resources of all groups to advance China’s economy and provide CCP ideological guidance and control.
3.14: During a meeting between Xi Jinping (习近平) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) delegation at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC), Xi pointed out that innovation is essential to the PLA’s development, and further emphasized that the improvement of national defense must rely on reform and innovation. Xi asked the PLA to focus on theoretical innovation, technological innovation, scientific management, recruiting talented personnel, and practical innovation. Xi has met the PLA delegation at the NPC every year since 2013, but this year marks the first time he mentioned the importance PLA innovation. Themes of Xi’s previous speeches to the PLA delegation at the NPC included following the Party leadership, establishing a strong military, and fighting corruption.
3.14: A Xinhua article highlighted five high-frequency terms utilized by Xi Jinping at the NPC and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meetings during the 2013-2016 period. These terms are: reform (改革), innovation (创新), the people’s livelihood (民生), ecology (生态), and work style (作风). From these terms, the Xi administration’s priorities can be discerned. An overriding goal remains maintaining China’s economic growth, which increasingly relies on large-scale economic reform and technological innovation. Improving the people’s living standards also remains a consistent Party focus and basis for the CCP’s political legitimacy. China’s severe environmental degradation has necessitated a stronger and consistent government response, as it directly influences the people’s livelihood. Lastly, the term “work style” embodies Xi Jinping’s unrelenting crackdown on corruption.
The Economic Daily, Xinhua
3.15: Since the announcement of the “New Development Concept” (新发展理念) at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CCP Central Committee in October 2015, various provincial and city heads have reportedly pledged their intent and described their plans to carry out the rubric, which was emphasized numerous times by Xi Jinping at the 2016 NPC and CPPCC meetings. The plan calls for new conceptualizations of innovation, coordination, green development, opening up, and sharing in order to assist the country as it enters into a “new normal” economic state characterized by slower growth. Xi states that the five parts of the plan are inseparable from one another and must be implemented swiftly. Practices not in line with the New Development Concept are to be corrected.
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI)
3.16: The Fourth Session of the 12th NPC came to an end on the morning of 16 March, which saw the approval of the government work report, the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), and the NPC Standing Committee work report. The passage of charity legislation also took place, which was an important focus of the NPC meeting. The 13th FYP’s passage was said to reflect the NPC’s full acceptance of the development targets, missions, and spirit of the 13th FYP consultative draft. Following the completion of the meeting’s agenda, CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and NPC Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang (张德江) gave a speech praising the NPC’s work, with special praise for the passage of the 13th FYP. In order to advance the China Dream under Xi Jinping’s leadership, Zhang stated that the NPC must: carry out the 13th FYP; maintain development as the key task; firmly realize innovation, coordination, green development, opening up, and sharing (the “New Development Concept”); advance economic building, political building, culture building, society building, and ecological civilization building (the “Five-in-One” development formula); and comprehensively establish a moderately prosperous society according to schedule.
China Spiritual Civilization Net
3.18: An article featuring Wuhu City’s (芜湖市) promotion of core socialist values (社会主义核心价值观) and its related “three advocates” (三个倡导) was featured on China Spiritual Civilization Net, a website under the purview of the CCP Propaganda Department and the Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress. In the article, Wuhu City Party Committee propaganda chief Duan Yujia (段玉嘉)explained that the 18th Party Congress promotes the three advocates, which are: advocating wealth and power, democracy, civilization, and harmony; advocating freedom, equality, justice, and rule of law; and advocating nationalism, strong work ethic, integrity, and friendliness. The third set is said to apply to each individual citizen, and forms the basis for the other two sets. The article highlighted Wuhu City’s creative efforts to help core socialist values “gather energy” and appear more down to earth, with the goal of helping residents internalize and ultimately act upon them. Such efforts have included lectures on virtue and city volunteer movements. The article likely reflects a realization that Party-propagated core socialist values currently have little meaning or clear applicability to the common Chinese person.
United Front Work Department
3.14 At the annual CPPCC meeting, the Beijing-selected 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, asked religious figures and believers to contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Previously on 1 March, United Front Work Department Minister Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) met with the Panchen Lama in Beijing. The Panchen Lama pledged to uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions to uphold monastic discipline and faithfully advance Tibetan Buddhism.
3.15: A People’s Daily commentary praised this year’s CPPCC meeting. In addition to highlighting the importance of political consultation, democratic oversight, and political participation, the commentary also emphasized that the key success of this year’s CPPCC meeting was creating consensus on the 13th FYP. The 13th FYP set the target of maintaining a 6.5% economic growth rate over the next five years, which would increase China’s GDP per capita to around $10,000 a year by 2020. Other goals include realizing universal basic health care, expanding China’s high-speed rail system, lowering personal income and real estate taxes, and exercising prudent but flexible monetary policy.
United Front Work Department
3.17: During a conference on studying the spirit of the annual “two meetings,” United Front Work Department Minister Sun Chunlan pointed out that united front work should be consistent with the decisions of the CCP Central Committee, which is led by Xi Jinping. Sun explained that a main mission of the United Front Work Department is to gather and contribute strength to the 13th FYP, with a key focus on the provision of ideological guidance to the non-public sector. This marks the second time in one week that Sun has mentioned the non-public sector as a major focus for united front work. The non-public sector is becoming ever more important to China’s economic development, and has arguably been the main contributor to China’s rise.
3.15: The CCDI released detailed figures on investigations and punishments of CCP cadres that have violated the “Eight-Article Regulation” during the months of January and February. These regulations center on activities causing discord between officials and the masses, such as corruption and extravagance. The statistics show that during this period, 6,551 problems involving 9,073 individuals have been addressed, 7,138 of whom received Party and or government disciplinary punishment. Punished activities ranged from using public funds for recreational purposes and holding extravagant ceremonies to sending and receiving excessive gifts. Whereas previous rules on Party discipline were numerous and focused on forbidden behaviors, the Eight-Article Regulation is mainly an ethical code that CCP cadres must uphold.
Ministry of National Defense
3.15: Recent measures introduced by China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) to accelerate military-civilian integration have led to a strong increase in the number of private enterprises that obtain weapons R&D and production permits. Also known as civil-military integration (CMI), this strategy leverages society’s science and technology base to provide adaptable technologies for military use and the overall advancement of China’s defense sector. According to SASTIND, more than 1,000 private enterprises have obtained such permits to date, which is an increase of 127% when compared to figures at the end of the 11th FYP. In 2016, SASTIND plans to accelerate the structural adjustment of R&D and production capacities, improve supervision to enable a fair military product market, advance coordination and innovation in defense science and technology, and promote the industry’s export orientation by enhancing international cooperation. Chinese weapons exports have substantially increased over the past five years; these exports have also become much more advanced. Most arms sales focus on Asia and Oceania.
3.15: In an opinion piece published by CPC News, the author recognized the edict of the 18th CCP Central Committee’s 5th Plenary Session to implement a national big data strategy, and further argued that big data can assist the Chinese government’s decision-making process and foster scientific research. However, the article states that the key challenge of utilizing big data is the lack of proper analytical methodology, thereby necessitating the state’s ownership of big data capabilities. It further states that the government must establish a national dataset center, which will allow the government to better decide how to utilize big data. In September 2015, the State Council issued a notification to all governmental agencies in an attempt to guide China’s development of big data. Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) has explained that big data, in combination with cloud computing and the Internet of Things, can improve production methods, and also help search for innovative answers in the medical care, education, and transportation fields. Big data will also play a key role in a new government system that utilizes advanced software to predict terrorist acts before they occur, dubbed a “pre-crime” program by western media.
CCCPC Party Literature Research Office
3.16: The CCP Central Party School Publishing House published a book named Strengthen the “Three Self-Confidences”, Achieve the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation (《坚定“三个自信”，实现中华民族的伟大复兴》). The three self-confidences are self-confidence in China’s road, theories, and system. The book explains that understanding the three self-confidences stems from understanding the country’s historical perseverance in upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics. It also professes that the modern-day value of the three self-confidences becomes apparent when analyzing China’s historical glory and subsequent decline, as well as the CCP’s hardships and glorious achievements.
All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese
3.17: All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese Party Group Secretary and Chairman Lin Jun (林军) gave a speech at the federation’s general assembly to discuss the transmission and implementation of the spirit of the “two meetings.” Lin emphasized the need for overseas Chinese to join the struggle to bring about China’s moderately prosperous society. He further explained that the federation must fully understand the CCP Central Committee’s new strategies in order to carry out the federation’s unique role in realizing the 13th FYP. Lin’s message mirrors earlier statements made by CCP Politburo Member and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (李源潮) calling on overseas Chinese to advance China’s moderately prosperous society, socialism with Chinese characteristics, the 13th FYP, China’s peaceful unification, and the China Dream.
3.18: By citing reports from China Review News (中评网) and Want Daily (旺报), Xinhua argues that many sectors of Taiwan urge the island’s next leader Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to acknowledge the “1992 Consensus” and prioritize the cross-strait relationship. Taiwan Cross-Strait Policy Association Member Chen Jianzhong (Chen Chien-chung/陈建仲) stated that a tense cross-strait relationship would damage the investment environment in Taiwan and hinder opportunities for the Taiwanese business community to invest in the Mainland. Of note, Beijing announced on 17 March that it resumed diplomatic relations with Gambia, which was one of Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies until 2013. This move could spell the end of the diplomatic truce between both sides of the strait, and the further reduction of Taiwan’s international space. It likely serves as a warning to Taiwan’s incoming administration that to go against Beijing’s bottom line will mean further international isolation.
3.14: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met with an Iraqi delegation from the Sadrist Movement. The two sides discussed party-to-party ties and bilateral relations, and the Iraqi side reportedly praised China’s contributions to regional peace and its defense of developing countries’ interests.
3.15: International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with a delegation from the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in Beijing. During the meeting, both sides reiterated the importance of the China-Cambodia relationship and party-to-party exchanges.
3.15: CCP Propaganda Department Vice Minister and Policy Research Center Deputy Director Wang Xiaohui (王晓晖) led a CCP delegation to Poland to meet leaders from the Polish People’s Party (PSL). Wang stated that the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) will bring great opportunities for China-Poland cooperation.
3.15: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) led a young CCP members delegation to New Zealand. During a meeting with President of the New Zealand Labour Party Nigel Haworth and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith, Guo pledged to expand China’s cooperation with New Zealand.
3.15: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li (周立) met with Georgian Ambassador to China David Aptsiauri in Beijing. Zhou stated that the CCP will continue working with different parties in Georgia in order to improve the bilateral relationship.
3.15: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met a delegation of ruling party members from Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados. Zhou explained China’s “two meetings” and emphasized China’s desire to improve China-Caribbean relations, and the delegation reportedly thanked China for its important and selfless development advice.
3.16: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou led a young CCP members delegation to Australia from 16-18 March. The delegation met Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and other officials, including a delegation of young Australian politicians. Both sides praised the value of young political exchanges for the long-term bilateral relationship.
3.16: International Department Minister Song Tao met with Vietnam Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi in Beijing. Song praised recent developments in the China-Vietnam relationship and emphasized China and Vietnam are part of a community of shared destiny.
3.17: International Department Minister Song Tao met with a delegation from the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK). Song Tao stated that the CCP highly values its relationship with the SDPK and that party-to-party exchanges can further boost cooperation between the two nations.
3.18: International Department Minister Song Tao met with a multi-party Mongolian delegation led by Democratic Party Central Executive Committee Member and Chief of the Government Secretariat Sangajav Bayartsogt. Both sides praised their mutual good neighborly relations, and Song expressed China’s respect for Mongolian independence and sovereignty.
3.18: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met with Czech Republic Ambassador to China Bedřich Kopecký. The two exchanged ideas regarding strengthening bilateral relations and party-to-party contacts.
3.15: Gao Xiaobing (高晓兵) is confirmed to be the new Ministry of Civil Affairs vice minister. She was previously a standing committee member of the Shandong Provincial Party Committee.
3.15: Cao Weixing (曹卫星) is confirmed to be the new Ministry of Land and Resources vice minister. He was previously the vice governor of Jiangsu Province.
3.16: Huang Runqiu (黄润秋) is confirmed to be the State Environmental Protection Administration vice minister. He previously held several recent posts, including chairman of the Sichuan Provincial Committee.
3.16: Qin Boyong (秦博勇) is confirmed to be the new deputy auditor-general of the National Audit Office. She was previously the vice governor of Hebei Province.
3.17: Cao Hongming (曹鸿鸣) is confirmed to be the new central committee vice chairman of the China Zhi Gong Party (致公党). He was previously the secretary-general of the Zhi Gong Party’s central committee.
3.18: The State Council appointed Sun Jinlong (孙金龙) as Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC/新疆生产建设兵团) political commissar and chairman of the board. He was previously deputy secretary of the Hunan Provincial Party Committee.
For questions about Party Watch, please contact David Gitter at: email@example.com