- Following the annual “two meetings,” the CCP leadership is focusing attention on strengthening legal protections and social services in order to foster innovation and economic growth, as it works to advance the creation of a moderately prosperous society.
- The 24 March cooperation agreement between the CCP Central Committee General Office and Russia’s Presidential Executive Office is the first of its kind, and signifies the CCP Central Committee’s desire to coordinate routine cooperation in development efforts and international affairs.
- The CCP leadership continues to put pressure on the incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration in Taiwan to accept the One China principle, and continues to advance economic relations as an incentive for accepting it.
3.21: A CPC News article advocated more tolerance for Party cadres that make mistakes while attempting to advance reform. The piece claims that if a cadre’s work abides by the law and follows the spirit and decisions of their superiors, the Party should reduce their accountability or fully indemnify the mistaken official from punishment in order to encourage more responsibility for innovation. During the March 2016 National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping (习近平) asked all Party cadres to take leading roles in local economic reforms, and pointed out that some local officials are neglectful of their duties. However, Xi did not hint at increasing tolerance for mistakes.
3.22: During the 22nd Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform meeting, Xi Jinping pointed out that implementing the new development concept (新发展理念) through comprehensive reform is the key for achieving a moderately prosperous society. The meeting passed eight opinions regarding: the legal counsel system; environmental protection; poverty alleviation; child healthcare services; investing and financing system reform; the judge and prosecutor promotion process; the legislative worker, judge, and prosecutor selection process; and strengthening and normalizing reform experimentation work. The Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform, led by Xi, is a powerful body responsible for forming and implementing policies in line with the leadership’s comprehensive reform efforts.
China Spiritual Civilization Net
3.23: According to an article from China Spiritual Civilization Net, Xi Jinping announced at the 18th CCP Politburo’s 29th collective study session that the persistent integration of nationalism with socialism is necessary in order to promote Chinese nationalism. The article contends that the two are inextricably linked by China’s history and national situation, arguing that only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China. The concept that a Chinese citizen can love their country without loving socialism was also rejected on the grounds that the nation’s very prosperity depends on socialism with Chinese characteristics, thereby necessitating every citizen to love it. Loving one’s country was also directly linked with loving and accepting the CCP’s leadership, and defending the country’s socialist system. The article called for the establishment of a 5 to 10 year national patriotic education plan, citing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s January 2016 announcement of a Russian patriotic education plan as an example to draw upon. The goal of such a plan would be to elevate socialism into a concept that draws the ardent faith and spiritual support of every Chinese person.
State Organs Work Committee of the CCP Central Committee
3.24: CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and State Council Premier Li Keqiang (李克强) made a keynote speech at the opening of the 2016 Boao Forum in Hainan Province. Li pointed out that as the world economy remains in the middle of an adjustment phase, many countries in Asia are facing substantial difficulties. In order to meet these challenges, Li stressed that the region must: work together to protect regional peace, continue friendly neighborly relations, treat each other equally, peacefully coexist, promote economic growth, avoid trade protectionism, advance integrated development through One Belt, One Road and other initiatives, and jointly encourage innovation. He also explained that although China is currently experiencing deep-seated structural contradictions and is undergoing a period of economic upgrading, the economy on the whole continues to maintain reasonable activity; industry upgrades were said to be advancing, and the consumer and services industries were said to be transforming into key engines for economic growth. Li asserted that China’s long-term economic trends will continue to demonstrate room for domestic demand, robust development, innovative potential, and reassurance that the Chinese government possesses enough policy instruments to maintain economic stability.
United Front Work Department
3.22: During United Front Work Department Minister Sun Chunlan’s (孙春兰) trip to Guizhou (贵州), she pointed out that different impoverished areas have different situations, and that the United Front Work Department needs to find practical methods to alleviate poverty. Sun emphasized that the department should work with CCP local committees and local governments to identify impoverished populations and the best methods to lift them out of poverty. In 2015, Xi Jinping pledged to lift China’s 70 million poor people above the poverty line by 2020.
United Front Work Department
3.24: Leaders from the United Front Work Department, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and other united front parties all gathered in Guizhou (贵州) to learn and discuss poverty alleviation. During the meeting, Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party member Lu Wenguang (卢文广) maintained that it is the responsibility of every United Front worker and businessperson to contribute to poverty alleviation. The article also reiterated the importance of the United Front Work Department in poverty alleviation, reflecting that a central focus of the United Front Work Department is to fight poverty through collaboration with other united front parties and private enterprises.
United Front Work Department
3.25: At the Boao Forum, CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and State Council Premier Li Keqiang met with the Honorary Chairman of the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation and former Republic of China (ROC) Vice President Vincent Siew (萧万长). During the meeting, Li reiterated China’s position and policy with regards to the cross-strait relationship. Li emphasized that China’s policy will not change with a transition in Taiwanese politics. As long as both sides maintain the common political foundation of the “1992 Consensus” and the essence of “both sides of the strait belonging to one China” (两岸同属一中的核心意涵), there would be peaceful development and a bright future for the cross-strait relationship, Li said. Siew also expressed the hope to expand cross-strait economic cooperation. Chinese leaders have not explicitly stated the consequences that would follow if Taiwan’s next leader Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) fails to embrace this political foundation, although recent Chinese diplomatic actions suggest a further reduction of Taiwan’s international space would be likely.
3.23: The CCDI reports that at the Heilongjiang Provincial Party Committee’s First-Round Special Inspection Mobilization Meeting, it was divulged that the first round of 2016 discipline inspections involved 67 local Party committees and follow-up inspections on three localities. In 2015, Heilongjiang saw inspections on 112 localities and units (单位), with 3,066 issues related to political consultation, democratic oversight, united front work, and research (“The Four Efforts”/“四个着力”) and 2,419 disciplinary issues with leading cadres. It seems likely that inspections and their resultant disciplinary cases will continue to be used as a measurement of and testament to the Party’s commitment to tackling corruption. In the past few years, more than half of CCDI corruption cases were discovered post-inspection, and 100 new provincial level inspection teams have been created with 900 new employees added. Like elsewhere, inspectors in Heilongjiang were purposefully obstructed by their hosts from carrying out inspections through bold tactics such as serving inedible food and bombarding CCDI field stations with loud noises, making it difficult for inspectors to work.
Ministry of National Defense
3.21: The Ministry of National Defense reports that CMC Member and Chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department General Fang Fenghui (房峰辉) met with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing on 19 March during Kissinger’s participation in the China Development Forum 2016. Fang asserted that China and the US must adhere to the important consensus reached by Xi Jinping and President Obama, and build a new model of relations that would avoid confrontation. Fang also stressed that military ties are an important part of US-China relations and is conducive to the promotion of mutual trust, crisis management, and world stability. Kissinger advised both countries to have more strategic dialogues and explore effective ways to manage differences and deal with conflicts.
3.23: During Xi Jinping’s visit to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) National Defence University, he urged the university to form a more competent and professional faculty through improving educational theories and training models. Xi concluded that the university’s most important tasks involve training more qualified commanders capable of leading joint warfare, and carrying out its duties as a top think tank. Xi also said that the CMC would have the armed forces and military headquarters contribute to the training of commanding officers. Finally, Xi asked the university CCP committee to rigorously follow party discipline, and actively research the role of information technology in military operations. Xi’s visit to National Defence University echoes his recent speech to the PLA delegation at the 2016 NPC meeting, where he emphasized that innovation is essential to the PLA’s development. Xi asked the PLA to focus on theoretical innovation, technological innovation, scientific management, recruiting talented personnel, and practical innovation.
Jan-March Issue: A piece in the CCP Central Committee’s Qiushi Journal assessed that China’s economic, social, and political systems are superior to those of the United States. The piece states that the US economy is still in the midst of a post-crisis recovery, while China’s socialist market economy has effectively combined the “invisible hand” with the “visible hand,” keeping it free from financial, debt, and economic crises. The article asserts that the collapse of the traditional American family and the increase of single-parent families, same-sex couple families, and other “abnormal” families are directly linked to high US crime rates. The piece also states that American politics is controlled by those with money, while China’s “political forces” have managed to maintain their independence.
3.21: A Xinhua article specifically focused on interpreting Xi Jinping’s 5 March speech on cross-strait developments to Shanghai delegates at the 2016 NPC meeting. Xinhua first pointed out that as long as Taiwan accepts the “1992 Consensus” and the essence of “both sides of the strait belong to one China” (两岸同属一中的核心意涵), both sides could reach a political foundation that allows for positive interaction. The article also asserted that China and Taiwan are part of a community of shared destiny due to their tightly interconnected economies. Additionally, China’s 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) and One Belt, One Road Initiative could bring more opportunities for cross-strait economic cooperation, the piece stated. Xinhua concluded that China’s own development is a safeguard for cross-strait economic exchanges, and reiterated China’s position regarding the cross-strait relationship. However, it specifically mentions that a rejection of the 1992 Consensus or the essence of “both sides of the strait belong to one China” would entail a change of the status quo, putting more pressure on Taiwan’s next leader, Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai seems to accept that some kind of agreement was reached between the two sides in 1992, but does not accept the 1992 consensus itself as a historical fact.
China Law Society
3.24: China Law Society Party Group Member and Vice President Bao Shaokun (鲍绍坤 visited Shenzhen City to inspect and guide the China Rule of Law Forum. After listening to the forum’s work report, Bao pointed out that the meeting was an important forum of the China Law Society. Bao also said that the forum was useful for focusing and coordinating the advancement of the “four comprehensives” and furthering the development of a moderately prosperous society. Bao required that the meeting revolve around the theme of “legal safeguards of enterprise innovation development,” without permitting “misunderstandings, misjudgments, or misrepresentations” of Party or national major policies. He also warned participants against violating the Party’s “Eight-Article Regulations,” which prohibit excessive pageantry at official meetings. The Party understands that becoming a more innovative society by 2020 will be difficult without strengthening the legal system to protect the innovative process, which includes the legal system for intellectual property rights.
3.24: Xinhua reports that the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened its 47th consultative conference on 24 March, with the theme being “Energetically Strengthen Popular Science Education.” CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chairman of the CPPCC Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声) presided over the conference and also presented a speech. The article explained that the CPPCC members in attendance felt that the CCP Central Committee attaches great importance to popular science, and that a nation’s scientific quality relates to science and technology innovation, societal harmony, societal consensus, scientific decision making, and the people’s level of health. Members also offered suggestions on how to strengthen popular science education, which included strengthening scientific training for leading CCP cadres.
3.21: International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with the head of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli in Beijing. During the meeting, both sides reiterated the importance of the China-Nepal friendship and the wish to expand party-to-party exchanges.
3.22: International Department Vice Minister Zhang Fengxiang (长陈凤) met with Social Democratic Party member and Austrian Vice President of the Federal Council Ingrid Winkler in Beijing. Both agreed to further develop party-to-party and China-Austria relations.
3.23: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li (周立) met Russia’s Deputy Head of the Presidential Foreign Policy Directorate. Both sides undertook preparations for the upcoming visit of Russia’s Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Ivanov Sergei.
3.24: International Department Minister Song Tao met with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Beijing. Both sides exchanged views on international and regional issues.
3.24: CCP Central Committee General Office Director Li Zhanshu (栗战书) met with Russia’s Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Ivanov Sergei at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Li expressed that President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin attach great importance to the China-Russia strategic partnership, and that the China-Russia relationship is a high priority for China. The two sides signed a protocol on cooperation agreement between the CCP Central Committee General Office and the Russian Presidential Executive Office.
3.25: International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang (陈风翔) met with Germany’s Federal Foreign Office State Secretary Markus Ederer. Chen praised both countries’ bilateral and party-to-party relations, and expressed the CCP’s desire to link China’s 13th FYP with the development strategies of Germany and Europe.
3.25: CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and Secretary of the CCDI Wang Qishan (王岐山) met with Russia’s Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov in Beijing. Wang stated that China-Russia relations maintain a healthy and stable development trend, with the China-Russia strategic partnership continually deepening and advancing. Wang further stated that fighting corruption and improving CCP discipline has produced satisfactory results for the Chinese people, and that strictly governing the party is a never-ending process. Ivanov expressed that Russia values its cooperation in China’s anti-corruption efforts, and is willing to deepen contributions to the Russia-China strategic partnership.
3.26: President Xi Jinping met with Russia’s Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov in Beijing. Xi pointed out that both nations consider the China-Russia strategic partnership as their most important partnership, and hoped both nations would take this year to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the 2001 Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. Xi stated that the two nations must focus on the links of the China-Russia development strategy, strengthen international and regional affairs coordination, and advance the political settlement for major hotspot problems. He also said that he and President Vladimir Putin both support communication and cooperation between the CCP Central Committee General Office and the Russian Presidential Executive Office, and other cooperation between different government departments. Ivanov stated that Russia’s Presidential Executive Office is willing to work together with the CCP Central Committee General Office in order to advance the agreements reached by Putin and Xi. The CCP Central Committee General Office’s cooperation with its Russian counterpart is its first such relationship with a foreign president’s executive office.
Summary: The CCP is strengthening and regularizing its routine cooperation with Russia’s Presidential Executive Office in order to advance jointly agreed upon goals in regional and international affairs, particularly in areas of mutual concern.
3.23: Wu Hailong (吴海龙) was confirmed to be the new Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (中国人民外交学会) president. He was previously Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland.