- The CCP leadership’s continued emphasis on studying Mao Zedong’s guidance for Party committees, “The Party Committee’s Work Methods,” reflects a two-pronged approach toward Party governance: strongly enforcing the organizational principle of democratic centralism among leading cadres, and spreading respect for CCP regulations among all Party members through CCP education, particularly through the “Two Studies and One Action” plan.
- The second Internet Security and Informatization Work Conference was held in Beijing, where Xi Jinping ordered CCP cadres to go online in order to understand the Chinese people. The reality that CCP officials cannot effectively lead their citizens without leveraging the Internet was recognized.
- Under CCP guidance, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) launched an ambitious plan to create a network of science and technology innovation think tanks in order to advance the 13th Five Year Plan. Li Keqiang also called for greater autonomy from government at universities in order to promote innovation.
- The “Skynet 2016” anti-corruption initiative has officially launched, as the effort to deny corrupt officials any safe haven continues. International asset recovery operations and operation “Fox Hunt” will also continue.
4.15: The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) held the sixth collective study meeting in 2016 of its Party organization’s Theoretical Study Central Group in Beijing, with the specific purpose of studying Mao Zedong’s guidance for Party Committees, “The Party Committee’s Work Methods”《党委会的工作方法 》. CCP Propaganda Department Deputy Head and SAPPRFT Party Secretary Cai Fuchao (蔡赴朝) presided over the meeting. SAPPRFT Deputy Secretary and CCTV Head Nie Chenxi (聂辰席) delivered Xi Jinping’s written comments regarding “The Party Committee’s Work Methods.” All SAPPRFT Party organizations were instructed to carry out Xi’s relevant requirements, and deeply study “The Party Committee’s Work Methods” as part of the “Two Studies and One Action” CCP education plan. Cai raised five specific study requirements related to the document: deeply study its lessons on Party discipline and political rules; deeply study its theories on managing and governing the Party; deeply study its lessons on basic organizational principles and democratic centralism, with Party committee secretaries properly acting as team leaders; deeply study and exhibit proper work style, while following the mass line to benefit the people; and deeply study its lessons on scientific leadership. Recent CCP emphasis on Party committee leadership reflects its recognition that although broad cadre education plans can strengthen the Party, leading cadres remain a “key minority” that can greatly influence the success or failure of Party leadership. Successful Party committee leadership in propaganda organs is especially important to keep the wider Party-state apparatus on message and on task.
4.19: In his capacity as head of the CCP Central Committee Internet Security and Informatization Leading Small Group, Xi Jinping opened and presided over the Internet Security and Informatization Work Conference in Beijing, the second such conference held by the group since 27 February 2014. Other attendees included group deputy heads Li Keqiang (李克强) and Liu Yunshan (刘云山), Vice Premier Ma Kai (马凯), CCP Policy Research Office Head Wang Huning (王泸宁), and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Fan Changlong (范长龙). These high-ranking attendees were said to represent the importance of the conference. At the event, Xi Jinping emphasized that innovation, coordination, greenness, openness, and sharing are the development concepts that the Internet must embody in order to benefit China. Xi praised the recent achievements of China’s Internet industry, specifically highlighting the country’s 700 million Internet users. However, Xi stated that Internet industry needs to reduce costs and make services more affordable in order to allow even more people to benefit from the Internet. Furthermore, Xi asked CCP cadres to pay attention to public opinion on the Internet and accept the supervision of Internet users. Attending members were said to recognize that what happens online is a true reflection of “offline” society, and therefore cannot be ignored. Xi’s statements were also interpreted by an attendee as an order to cadres at all levels to go online (上网令), reflecting the reality that if a Party official does not go online, he cannot truly understand the masses that he intends to lead. Nevertheless, Xi explained that cyberspace is a public spiritual home that must be kept pure to protect the people’s interests. Last but not least, Xi pointed out that recruiting talented personnel is the key to competitiveness in the Internet industry.
4.22: A People’s Daily article explained why China’s system of uni-party governance is the inevitable outcome of Chinese history and culture. The article explained that in the West, an external form of political pluralism formed over the course of history. The current form of this system was said to be plagued by fractured representation of difference races, economic classes, religions, and other groups. Furthermore, once a western-style political election ends, politicians become “professional politicians” that lose all links with the people, according to the piece. China’s system of internal pluralism was also introduced; this system was said to contain the three political processes of opening up, competition, and participation. Because Chinese civilization has always possessed the special characteristic of “great unification,” as exhibited by the repeated unification of China after every period of political division, western style pluralism was never able to take root in China. Instead, internal political pluralism has flourished under uni-party CCP rule. The successful development of multiparty democracy in culturally Chinese Taiwan represents a strong challenge to this argument, notwithstanding the island’s frequent political gridlock between its Kuomintang (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parties.
4.18: Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Politburo Standing Committee Member Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声) met with overseas Chinese delegations in Cote d’Ivoire. During the meeting, overseas Chinese delegations first communicated to Yu their experiences conducting business in Cote d’Ivoire. Yu then praised the contribution of overseas Chinese to China’s development. In addition, Yu stated that a strong motherland is the safeguard for all overseas Chinese. Yu also explained that although China is now a global power, it will not seek colonialism or hegemony; instead, China will increase cooperation with other countries in order to achieve win-win situations. Furthermore, Yu introduced the concept of “One Belt, One Road,” and encouraged overseas Chinese to take advantage of its opportunities. Last but not least, Yu expressed hope that overseas Chinese communities will respect local cultures, follow local laws, and take on more social responsibility. Commercial exchanges between Cote d’Ivoire and China reached a record level of USD1.11 billion in 2013. China has also played a prominent role in various local construction projects, including the Soubre hydroelectric dam in southwest Abidjan, the Abidjan-Bassam road, and a fiber optic cable system for government offices.
4.19: Yu Zhengsheng held a meeting with delegations from Chinese enterprises in Ghana. After praising their accomplishments in Africa, Yu exhorted Chinese enterprises to obey local laws, respect local culture, protect the environment, take social responsibility, and ensure the safety of personnel in order to maintain long-term stability in the African market. Additionally, Yu pointed out the strong potential of the African market, and encouraged Chinese enterprises to accelerate efforts in broader international markets. Last but not least, Chinese enterprises need to adapt to the African market’s new environment, flexibly solve related issues, and study the “One Belt, One Road” and China-Africa “10 Major Cooperation Projects” initiatives. The value of trade between Ghana and China reached USD5.6 billion at the end of 2014.
4.18: The United Front Work Department’s “Two Studies and One Action (“两学一做”) Learning Education Mobilization Convention convened in Beijing. The “Two Studies and One Action” CCP education plan aims to instill respect and knowledge of the Party’s constitution, regulations, and important leadership speeches into all Party members, with a special focus on Xi Jinping’s speeches. CCP Politburo Member and United Front Work Department Minister Sun Chunlan (孙春兰) reportedly delivered a rousing speech at the event. Sun explained that the “Two Studies and One Action” CCP education plan is a call to action that is directed from the Central Committee to the entire Party membership, and that the United Front system at every level of the Party must implement the spirit of Xi Jinping’s thoughts on the plan. Party members must advance the mandate of strict Party governance, and establish the “vanguard image” of Party members, stated Sun. In addition to studying the CCP’s constitution, regulations, and important speeches, Sun explained that Party members must focus on action. Specifically stated tasks for united front workers are strengthening grassroots organizations, strictly managing Party members’ daily education, turning study results into the innovative development of united front work, and advancing the 13th Five Year Plan.
4.22: An article from the United Front Work Department elaborated on three major achievements of its religious affairs work since 2001. Its first achievement is deepening its understanding of religious theory. The United Front Work Department understands that religion is a social and historical phenomenon crucial for maintaining national security and social stability. Although the department claimed that religions will eventually “die out”, this is a long and protracted process, meaning that religion will still exist in China for a long time to come. Additionally, the department recognizes that religion has both a positive and negative impact on society, making the focus of religious affairs work the maximization of the positive and the minimization of the negative. The second major achievement of the department is the perfection of its religious work policies. The article concludes that the basic guidelines on religious work are to implement freedom of religion, rule religious affairs by law, promote independence and autonomy in religious affairs, and actively guide religion to achieve socialism. Xi Jinping states that the first three approaches are important policies and principles, while the fourth is the ultimate goal of religious work. A related goal is the legalization of religious work, the purpose of which is to protect the law, combat illegal practices, fight against crime, and prevent religious extremism. The legalization of religious work was said to be consistent with the concept of rule by law, which is an important feature of socialism with Chinesecharacteristics.
4.21: The Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Group’s International Asset Recovery Office announced the initiation of “Skynet 2016” (“天网2016”). International asset recovery was said to be an important task for advancing party discipline, combating corruption, and maintaining the positive image of the CCP. Skynet 2016 includes several operations, including operation “Fox Hunt” led by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), international asset recovery operations led by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and anti-illegal money transfer operations led by the People’s Bank of China and the MPS. Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and Minister of Supervision Huang Shuxian (黄树贤) pointed out that international asset recovery is an important but difficult task. Skynet 2016 must eliminate any illusion that corrupt cadres can escape punishment, the piece states. The Skynet operation was first introduced in March 2015, and aims to hunt down corrupt fugitive officials and their assets. Coupled with recent 2016 CCDI investigation figures, Skynet 2016 demonstrates the ongoing nature of the leadership’s anti-corruption drive.
4.20: Xi Jinping inspected the Joint Operations Command Center in his capacity as the center’s commander in chief, a new position that will give him a more direct role in leading China’s military. Xi stated that the center must implement military strategies that match new situations in order to work towards the CCP’s strong military goal, and focus on core functions such as studying and commanding wars. Other tasks highlighted by Xi included improving liberation ideology, changing held concepts, improving innovation, building absolute loyalty, and constructing a joint operational command structure that dares to fight and win wars. Xi further explained that the construction of the command center is an important component of deepening national defense and military reform and would strengthen the CMC’s strategic command capabilities. Xi inspected the center in full battle dress, and his visit has been interpreted as signaling strength to China’s adversaries
4.18: After his visit to Peking University and Tsinghua University, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gave an important speech at the conference of education reform and innovation in Beijing. Li first pointed out that more students should be admitted to universities from impoverished regions, which is not only a matter of promoting justice and equality, but also encouraging innovation. In addition, there should be a dynamic management mechanism (动态管理机制) for universities in order to encourage them to develop high-tech institutions, Li said. The premier also pointed out that the government needs to change or repeal regulations that limit university development, and let universities enjoy more self-governance rights based in law. Last but not least, Li Keqiang asked universities to provide more funding for researchers in order to promote intellectual creativity and innovation; this is consistent with leadership efforts to foster innovation as a focus of China’s “New Development Concept.”
4.21 In order to advance the new think tank-promoting policy published by the CCP General Office and State Council General Office, “Opinions on Strengthening the Construction of New Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics” 《关于加强中国特色新型智库建设的意见》, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) rolled out its own plan to match national research and policy consultation needs, “The China Association for Science and Technology High-Level Science and Technology Innovation Think Tank Building “13th Five Year Plan” 《中国科协高水平科技创新智库建设“十三五”规划》. The ambitious plan aims to create a stronger system of science and technology support for the 13th Five Year Plan and the promotion of science and technology innovation. Specific goals include: establishing a national science and technology innovation think tank network comprised of 10 local CAST think tanks, 10-15 scholarly think tanks, and around five university CAST think tanks; raising CAST’s influence on policy development and society; increasing the number of national research stations to 1000 by 2020; and establishing a unified leading system for CAST think tanks. The above referred to “Opinions on Strengthening the Construction of New Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics” directive is meant to strengthen the quality and influence of Chinese think tanks in order to provide greater policy consultation for the Chinese leadership.
Meetings: 18 April-24 April 2016
4.18: International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang (陈风翔)met a multi-party delegation from Afghanistan in Beijing. Chen stressed that developing friendly China-Afghan relations has been a consistent objective of the Chinese government, and expressed the desire to achieve win-win cooperation with Afghanistan and further the development of the bilateral strategic relationship. The delegation thanked China for its pivotal role in rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan.
4.19: International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzanian Party of the Revolution chairman and former Tanzanian president, in Beijing. Both sides praised bilateral and party-to-party relations, and discussed both countries’ domestic situations and party development. Song and Kikwete reached a consensus on deepening party-to-party exchange and strengthening educational exchange between young cadres in order to facilitate mutual development and cooperation in importantareas.
4.19: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met a Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) delegation led by Central Committee member and Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee First Deputy Chairman Leonid Kalashnikov in Beijing. Both sides exchanged remarks on party-to-party relations and discussed advancing bilateral cooperation on the commercial and financialfronts.
4.19: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met a Cote d’Ivoire Rally of the Republicans (RDR) delegation in Beijing. Both sides emphasized the importance of party-to-party relations and the need to continue efforts to facilitate communication and cooperation between the CCP and RDR.
4.19: CPPCC Vice Chairman Wang Jiarui (王家瑞)met a Cote d’Ivoire Rally of the Republicans (RDR) delegation in Beijing. Both sides exchanged views on the development of party-to-party and China-Cote d’Ivoire bilateral relations.
4.19: CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member Liu Yunshan (刘云山) met Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzanian Party of the Revolution chairman and former Tanzanian president, in Beijing. Liu referenced the important consensus reached during Xi’s state visit to Tanzania in 2013 that elevated China-Tanzanian relations to a win-win strategic partnership. He stated that China would maintain an “honest, practical, intimate, and truthful” (真、实、亲、诚) approach in Africa to achieve mutual development gains and healthy bilateral relations. Kikwete reiterated the strength of the China-Tanzanian friendship and remained committed to the maintenance of friendly policies toward China.
4.20: International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met a Bosnia and Herzegovina National Democratic Movement delegation in Beijing. Both sides praised bilateral and party-to-party relations and committed to advance strategic cooperation between the two countries through the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and “16+1” cooperation mechanism.
4.20: Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Cuban leader Raúl Castro on his reelection as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee by phone. Xi praised Cuba’s achievements in economic development through championing socialist ideals. Xi also expressed confidence in Cuba’s path toward further socialist revolution and development efforts, and emphasized China’s desire to strengthen the two countries’ long-standing friendship.
4.22: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met the vice chairman of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) in Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province for the China-Arab Political Parties Dialogue. Liu praised the PSP’s work in preserving Lebanon’s independence, stability, and territorial sovereignty, as well as furthering China-Lebanon relations. Both sides pledged to further develop friendly party-to-party relations and advance win-win cooperative ventures through party mediums.
4.22: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai met Lebanese Future Movement Politburo representative Mustafa Alloush in Yinchuan City, Ningxia Province for the China-Arab Political Parties Dialogue. Liu praised the potential of the Future Movement in Lebanese politics, and stated the CCP’s willingness to further bilateral relations through party channels. Alloush reiterated Lebanon’s desire to cooperate with China in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
4.22: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou met a Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) delegation in Beijing. Guo praised China-African relations and cooperative efforts between China and Mozambique, and both sides called for deepening dialogue between both parties to propel China-Mozambique and China-African relations to greater heights.
4.11: Lü Yugang (吕玉刚) was confirmed to be the new director of the Ministry of Education’s Department of Basic Education I. He was previously a deputy director of the Ministry of Education’s Department ofPersonnel.
4.11: Wang Dinghua (王定华) was confirmed to be the new director of the Ministry of Education’s Department of Teacher Education. He was previously director of the Ministry of Education’s Department of Basic Education I.
4.11: Xu Tao (许涛) was confirmed to be the new director of the Ministry of Education’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges (Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs). He was previously the head of the Ministry of Education’s Department of Teacher Education.
4.11: Zhao Mingji (赵鸣骥) was confirmed to be a new assistant minister and leading party group member in the Ministry of Finance. He was previously the Ministry of Finance’s department of Personnel Education director.