- China has signed its first innovation strategic partnership with Switzerland, specifically to promote innovation. The partnership is said to be based on China’s “New Development Concept.”
- China’s State Council released its own report on U.S. human rights in 2015 in response to the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report on China and other countries.
- The United Front Work Department is challenged to control an increasingly diverse group of intellectuals that have questionable loyalty to CCP ideology. A new focus of CCP united front work is to coopt Chinese students returning from study abroad, as well as young, outspoken professionals that use social media.
- CCP International Department Minister Song Tao held numerous meetings in Malaysia and Indonesia to promote China’s broad interests with those countries, including with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
4.11: China and Switzerland established an innovation strategic partnership to jointly promote development and prosperity. This is the first time that China has established a partnership with another nation based on its New Development Concept (新发展理念), which focuses on innovation, coordination, green development, opening up, and sharing. Xi Jinping praised Switzerland for being one of the earliest Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with “new China”, and the first among the world’s top 20 economies to sign an FTA with China. This new partnership is said to allow both countries to expand ties in free trade and financial cooperation, and also encourages innovative cooperation between businesses, colleges, and research institutes. The establishment of this innovation-based partnership demonstrates the utility of Chinese diplomacy in serving a core grand strategy: promoting development through innovation.
4.12: During a meeting between Xi Jinping and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Xi Jinping praised the positive cooperation between China and Nigeria over the past 45 years. After pointing out the development challenges that both governments face, Xi Jinping stated that the two countries should increase cooperation in the fishing industry, oil refineries, mineral exploitation, electromechanical engineering, light industry, textiles, and manufacturing. China is willing to help Nigeria solve its issues with regards to infrastructure, talent shortages, and financial shortages, Xi added. In addition, Xi called on the two countries to cooperation in the areas of culture, education, media, and gender equality. Xi stated that China will support Nigeria in playing a bigger role in international and regional affairs, and will also strengthen communication and coordination on major issues such as the peace and stability of the African region, climate change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Buhari also praised the China-Nigeria relationship and promised to expand cooperation. Business and trade relations between Nigeria and China have grown tremendously in the last decade, with bilateral trade volumes rising from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $14.9 billion in 2015.
4.14: In response to the U.S. State Department’s release of its annual report of human rights violations in China and other countries around the world, the Chinese State Council Information Office released its own report on U.S. human rights in 2015. In around 12,000 words, the report listed issues such as loose gun control, police brutality, racial discrimination, and problematic campaign donations as evidence of U.S. human rights violations. Specific 2015 figures and circumstances cited in the report include: 51,675 gun-related shooting incidents; 965 people killed by police; more than 560,000 homeless people living without shelter; American society suffering from the worst racial relations in 20 years; and the continued worsening of conditions for women. The article and related State Council report suggest that issues related to ideology, values, and human rights are increasing in prominence in U.S.-China relations, even as other important issues in the security and political spheres appear to worsen.
China Spiritual Civilization Net
4.14: An article featured on China Spiritual Civilization Net explained that material and cultural progress must be developed jointly. The piece states that persevering in the development of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics will continue to be based on material progress, and that reform and opening continues to be the source of China’s vitality. However, even though reform and opening continues to advance China’s economy and its people’s well being, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and the China Dream can only be fully realized through advancing China’s spiritual culture. The article explains that material culture provides the material conditions and practical experiences necessary to build spiritual culture. Likewise, spiritual culture was said to provide the spiritual vitality, intellectual support, and ideological safeguards for material culture to thrive. The joint development of cultural and material progress is formalized in China’s 13th Five Year Plan, which states that the country must raise the Chinese people’s cultural quality, enrich cultural products and services, continue to prioritize society’s benefits, and integrate societal and economic benefits. Efforts to foster healthy cultural development is complemented by new regulations meant to curb the spread of perceived ideologically harmful content that has resulted from expanding cultural influences, including the new Central Committee General Office mandatory guidelines, the “Opinions on Further Deepening Comprehensive Law Enforcement Reform in the Cultural Market”《关于进一步深化文化市场综合执法改革的意见》.
United Front Work Department
4.12: An article from the United Front Work Department instructs its cadres to realize the diverse nature of non-Party intellectuals (党外知识分子) in order to better unite them around the CCP. According to the piece, during the initial stage of economic reform, non-party intellectuals came mostly from higher education and research institutes. However, a new group of non-Party intellectuals has emerged through economic reform, consisting of professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and appraisers; they stand outside the Party and political system and have diverse ideologies. With current economic reforms in motion, this group was said to lead to an even higher percentage of non-Party intellectuals. Furthermore, the article stated that students returning to China after finishing overseas studies are a special group and the new focus for united front work. Last but not least, Internet media has created a new group of young professionals who are highly educated and outside the Party system. These intellectuals are more willing to express themselves through critical language (更愿意以批判性语言发表意见) and able to reach wider audiences. Therefore, the United Front Work Department must unify and guide this group, the piece states. The article illustrates a difficult challenge that the Party faces: it relies on an increasingly diverse group with questionable ideological loyalty to guide China’s economic future.
4.11: During the 6th Plenary Session of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), Xi Jinping stated that the CCP still faces severe corruption, and that the Party cannot veer from its task of combating corruption within CCP. In the past 3 years, 31 provinces, direct-controlled municipalities, and autonomous regions have had senior cadres investigated and punished due to corruption. Every region and every department was said to have a corruption problem; the only difference lies in the degree of corruption, Xi said. Central, provincial, and municipal CCP committees must be held accountable for their cadres in order to ensure discipline in every level of the Party. Furthermore, Xi rebutted the rumor that the CCP will slow down its anti-corruption campaign, and instead stated that the Party will enforce even stricter rules. Finally, Xi pointed out that the next two years are period of political transition, and that the CCP cannot allow “sick” cadres to hold positions. Early 2016 figures show that the CCP war against corruption is continuing unabated; the CCDI investigated 6,551 problems involving 9,073 individuals in January and February alone, 7,138 of whom received Party and or government disciplinary punishment.
Ministry of National Defense
4.15: Vice Chairman of the CMC Fan Chanlong (范长龙) inspected the Nansha Islands alongside a group of military and civilian officials. According to the article, Fan reportedly met with officers and soldiers that are stationed on the islands. He was also said to have met with construction workers, and was briefed on construction projects on Nansha’s islands and reefs. Projects were reported to be moving along smoothly; such projects include lighthouses, weather stations, oceanic observation centers, and research facilities. Five lighthouses have been completed, four of which are currently operational. Fan’s visit coincided with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s visit to a U.S. aircraft carrier transiting the South China Sea, as part of his larger tour in the region. During his tour, Carter announced in the Philippines that the U.S. will station warplanes in the country, and that the U.S. began joint patrols with the Philippine military in the South China Sea in March.
State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform
4.12: Xi Jinping and other CCP Politburo members used the 12 April National Cultural Relic Work Conference in Beijing to highlight the importance of protecting and passing on cultural and historical relics; Xi Jinping’s statements on the topic were transmitted along with a written statement from Premier Li Keqiang by CCP Politburo member and State Council Vice Premier Liu Yandong (刘延东). Xi stated that in recent years, China’s cultural relics work and protection have made great strides. However, he emphasized that as the country undergoes rapid urbanization, cultural relics preservation work still has a long road ahead. Xi explained that Party committees and government departments at every level must increase their reverence for historical relics and successfully plan cultural relics protection alongside economic development. Liu explained that such work was irreplaceable to the training of core socialist values, realizing the China dream, and fostering China’s image of a civilized great power. Activities and topics at the conference were said to include deeply studying Xi’s important instructions, implementing the “State Council Guiding Opinions on Further Strengthening Cultural Relics Work”《国务院关于进一步加强文物工作的指导意见》, and discussing the appropriate policy measures for protecting cultural relics in the new period.
4.13: An English-language article posted on the Qiushi journal’s website refuted the findings of U.S. China scholar David Shambaugh in his new book “China’s Future,” calling them inaccurate, unhelpful, and neglectful of the Chinese nation’s resolve. The piece stated that Shambaugh’s recent views of “collapsism” represent a U-turn from his previously moderate views, and fails to address the Chinese political system’s responsiveness to societal changes. The author cites China’s successful contracting-out of rural land system, which was originally initiated by Anhui Province farmers illegally, as proof that policy innovations are supported when they are effective. The article also argues that Shambaugh’s analysis is too simplistic, in that he sees only four choices for the CCP ahead: hard authoritarianism, soft authoritarianism, neo-totalitarianism, and semi-democracy. The author instead believes that China should continue to muddle through, without a need to make either-or choices. Finally, the author laments that China-watchers regularly speak of “collapse” when discussing the challenges facing China, but use other terms such as “stagnation” or “decline” when discussing challenges facing the West. Use of the term “authoritarianism” is said to be contrary to current trends in China, which point to greater openness and responsiveness from the Chinese government. The author cites the quick removal of the poorly designed stock market circuit breaker as well as increasing National People’s Congress scrutiny of the government as the “reverse of authoritarianism.”
4.14: In the context of Kenya’s deportation of a group of Taiwanese telecommunications fraud suspects to China, an article on the CCP Central Committee Commission of Politics and Law website explained that Taiwan’s efforts to address the longstanding problem have not been sufficient. The piece states that every year, RMB10 billion are transferred by such fraudsters from China to Taiwan. It is difficult to recover these lost funds because Taiwan’s fight against telecommunications fraud is weak, which in turn encourages criminals to increase their activities, states the article. A scholar from China University of Political Science and Law explained that Taiwan lacks special criminal laws to counter telecommunications fraud. Another scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences explained that China used to transfer such suspects to Taiwan, but because they were only lightly punished or even released, they would become repeat offenders. Similar future versions of this scenario seem possible as Beijing seeks leverage over an incoming, less-accommodating Democratic Progressive Party presidential administration in Taiwan. Officials from Taiwan will travel to China to discuss the current situation the week of 18 April.
4.12: International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met Datuk Seri Adnan bin Mansor, Secretary-General of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Malaysian Minister of the Federal Territories at the UMNO headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Both sides expressed their high regard for close party-party relations and the desire to strengthen communication channels and deepen educational exchanges between between China and Malaysia.
4.12: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met a delegation led by Spanish State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ibanez Ignacio Rubio in Beijing. Guo stated his interest in expanding channels of communication between the CCP and political parties in Spain to promote bilateral relations, and Ibanez reiterated his desire to further cooperation with China in the European Union.
4.12: International Department Minister Song Tao met Malaysian Prime Minister and President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur. Both sides stated the importance of promoting friendly cooperation in order to further develop bilateral relations.
4.12: CCP Politburo member and Chongqing Party Committee Secretary Sun Zhengcai (孙政才) met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires. Sun praised the important consensus that Xi Jinping and Macri reached regarding investment contracts in areas such as hydroelectric and nuclear power on 1 April during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. Macri reinforced the importance of developing a strategic partnership with China and expressed his desire to cooperate with China in the infrastructural development, commerce, and cultural arenas.
4.12: International Department Minister Song Tao met Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Vice President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Malaysian Minister of Defence in Kuala Lumpur. Song hoped for both sides to address sensitive issues and strengthen their strategic partnership through enhanced communication channels between both parties. Hishammuddin expressed agreement and emphasized that China and Malaysia are at the apex of their relations. Hishammuddin stated that Malaysia not only regarded China as a friend, but also as family.
4.13: International Department Minister Song Tao met Minister of Transport and President of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Liow Tiong Lai in Kuala Lumpur. Song praised rapid developments in bilateral cooperation under China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and complimented the MCA for its work in facilitating friendly cooperation between China and Malaysia. Liow stressed MCA’s support for China’s “One Belt, One Road” and wished for greater cooperation through party-to-party channels.
4.13: International Department Minister Song Tao met Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta. Song stated that because China and Indonesia are both developing countries, strong bilateral relations are crucial to the furthering of mutual interests and regional stability. Widodo agreed with Song’s remarks and reiterated the importance of fostering mutual win-win relation relations with China through bolstering channels of cooperation.
4.14: International Department Minister Song Tao met Megawati Sukarnoputri, leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and former Indonesian President, in Jakarta. Song stated that China-Indonesian relations are in a period of rapid development, and that both sides should take the opportunity to advance means of cooperation and strategic coordination for their growing strategic partnership. Megawati vowed to uphold the ideals of her father, former Indonesian President Sukarno, in pushing stronger party-to-party relations and promoting the strategic partnership.
4.14: International Department Minister Song Tao met Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, chairman of Indonesia’s Democratic Party and former Indonesian President, in Jakarta. Both sides emphasized that deepening strategic cooperation between the CCP and Democratic Party of Indonesia would bring mutual gains, contribute to regional stability, and deepen the China-Indonesian friendship.
4.14: International Department Minister Song Tao met Chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta. Both sides acknowledged the importance of party-to-party, high-level, and educational exchanges in maintaining the healthy development of China-Indonesian bilateral relations.
4.14: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li (周立) met Andrei Klimov, chairman of the United Russia Party Supreme Council and vice chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Affairs and Regional Policies. Both sides exchanged remarks on party-to-party relations and standardizing communication channels and bilateral exchanges.
4.14: CCP Politburo Member and Beijing Party Secretary Guo Jinlong (郭金龙) met Secretary General of Portugal’s Social Democratic Party José Matos Rosa in Beijing. Both sides emphasized the importance of party-to-party exchanges, and Rosa communicated his desire to deepen cooperation with China on the political, economic, cultural, education, and tourism fronts.
4.15: International Department Minister Song Tao met People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR-RI) politicians in Jakarta. Both sides expressed the desire to deepen relations between the CCP and Indonesia’s political parties and their role in facilitating mutual trust and friendship between the two countries.
4.15: International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang (陈风翔) met a delegation from Portugal’s Social Democratic Party led by Secretary-General José Matos Rosa in Beijing. Chen praised the close bilateral and party-party relations between China and Portugal, and both sides reiterated the importance of developing close ties between the two parties to improve the bilateral relationship.
4.15: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met a delegation from Namibia’s South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) led by Nangolo Mbumba. Guo complimented the close relationship between the CCP and SWAPO, and pledged to work together toward improving bilateral relations. Mbumba highly praised the CCP’s work in poverty alleviation and infrastructural construction and wished to strengthen party-to-party exchanges on various fronts.
4.15: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) and Assistant Minister Li Jun (李军) met a political activist delegation from the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) and a China-Japan tree planting delegation for friendly relations in the 21st century. Liu acknowledged Japan’s intentions for friendly relations with China, especially in times of difficulty for Japan-China relations.
4.15: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met Zdeněk Škromach, Vice President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, in Beijing. Both sides highly regarded President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Czech Republic on 28 March and pledged to strengthen channels of cooperation to implement the agreements set forth by Xi’s meeting with Czech President Milos Zeman.
4.15: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met Jan Kohout, Foreign Policy Advisor to Czech President Milos Zeman in Beijing. Both sides commented on the historic importance of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Czech Republic and stressed their commitment to deepen and expand the bilateral strategic partnership.
4.15: Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Vice Chairman Wang Zhengwei (王正伟) met a delegation from the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in Beijing. Both sides exchanged remarks on party-to-party relations and exchange.
4.11: Dai Dongchang (戴东昌) was confirmed to be the new Ministry of Transport vice minister. He was previously a member of the Ministry of Transport leading Party group, and Department of Planningdirector.
4.11: Liu Weiping (刘伟平) was confirmed to be a new Chinese Academy of Sciences ministerial-level vice president. He was previously the CCP provincial committee deputy secretary and governor for GansuProvince.
4.12: Li Changping (李昌平) was confirmed to be the new State Ethnic Affairs Commission deputy director. He was previously a member of the Standing Committee of the CCP Provincial Committee in Sichuan Province.
4.14: Zhao Yingmin (赵英民) was confirmed to be the new Ministry of Environmental Protection vice minister. He was previously the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s chief engineer.