CCP Activities 5.16.16-5.22.16

PARTY WATCH UPDATE

  • Our reports now have a new section called PARTY WATCH Weekly Analysis, where readers can find an introduction and website link to our latest pieces published by our partner, The Diplomat.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • People’s Daily published an article blaming Mao Zedong for the Cultural Revolution, and recognizing the disastrous results that the movement brought upon China. The article stated that the CCP has always admitted and corrected mistakes, and reassured readers that Cultural Revolution-type mistakes will never occur again.
  • 4,309 officials were investigated for violating Party discipline in April, bringing the 2016 year total (not including May) to 16,545. An investigation has led to the “double expulsion” of a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs assistant minister from Party and administrative posts, marking the first such expulsion within the ministry.
  • CCP liaison work has sought to garner support for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, the Chinese position on the South China Sea arbitration case, and the “One China” principle.

    PARTY WATCH WEEKLY ANALYSIS

    How Can China’s Intellectuals be Managed?

    Party Watch (First Published in The Diplomat)  

    5.20:  As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organ tasked with uniting an increasingly diverse group of religious believers, ethnic groups, and the peoples of Hong Kong and Taiwan, the United Front Work Department sure has its work cut out for it. Notwithstanding, it is the department’s additional duty to unite China’s intellectuals—75 percent of whom are not CCP members—under the Party’s leadership, in order to guide China’s economic reform as it struggles to overcome the middle-income trap. To that end, the department has charged non-CCP intellectuals (党外知识分子), especially those in China’s united front democratic parties, with the responsibility of offering criticism and advice on government initiatives

    PROPAGANDA WORK

    People’s Daily Addresses the Cultural Revolution

    People’s Daily

    5.16:  On the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, People’s Daily published an article addressing how the Cultural Revolution should be discussed in Chinese society titled “Advancing by Learning the Lessons of History” (以史为鉴是为了更好前进), even as other official media channels remained silent on the subject. The article called the Cultural Revolution a mistake by Mao Zedong, bringing disaster and serious harm upon Chinese society. The article stated that the Party has always responded with a solemn, three step approach towards mistakes: first, it has the courage to admit the mistake; second, it analyzes the mistake; and third, it firmly corrects the mistake, allowing it to become a valuable historical lesson. The article assured the reader that, after 30 years of reform and opening up, the country has made significant progress, and the errors of the Cultural Revolution could never occur again. It stressed that in order to achieve Xi Jinping’s two “100-year goals” and the overall rejuvenation of the Chinese people, the CCP needs the people’s cooperation.

    China Resolutely Supports Afghanistan’s Peaceful Reconstruction and Development

    Xinhua

    5.17:  Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah in Beijing. During the meeting, Xi Jinping stated that China and Afghanistan are friendly neighbors, and that China admires the Afghan government’s efforts to develop the country’s economy, advance reconciliation, and maintain security. China appreciates the Afghan government’s support for China’s core interests, and respects the Afghan people’s choice of political system and development path, Xi added. In addition, Xi stated that China will resolutely support Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction and development, enhance high-level exchanges and strategic bilateral communication, ensure the progress of China’s major investments in Afghanistan, and assist the Afghan government in security capacity building. Abdullah voiced appreciation for China’s support and its willingness to expand cooperation in the areas of economic development, infrastructure, human resources, and security.  The state-run China Metallurgical Group struck a $3 billion deal in 2008 to build a mining town at Mes Aynak with power generators, road and rail links, and smelting facilities. A living compound was built, but workers were pulled out due to security concerns. China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) investments to date have largely focused on investments around Afghanistan rather than within it.

    Xi Jinping Hosts Forum on Philosophy and Social Science

    CPC News, People’s Daily

    5.17:  President Xi Jinping hosted a forum on how to improve the country’s work in Philosophy and Social Science in Beijing. People’s Daily reported that the conference was attended by around 150 leading experts in philosophy, Marxism, and economics.  In his speech, Xi said, “While China undergoes the most extensive and sophisticated social reform in its history, this is an era that needs theory.” Xi explained that philosophy and social sciences are an important tool for understanding and transforming the world, and an important force in promoting historical development and social progress. He emphasized that academics and philosophers must follow the guidance of Marxism in order to accelerate the construction of social sciences with Chinese characteristics. Xi also pointed out that the flourishing of Chinese philosophy and social sciences will improve the Party’s leadership. This is the third seminar Xi has held this year to address the country’s cultural sector–a recent push for “cultural reform” has emphasized establishing socialism as the force that advances Chinese culture.

    Zhang Dejiang Inspects Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong

    People’s Daily

    5.19:  Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Dejiang (张德江) inspected the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong from 17 to 20 May. During the inspection, Zhang praised the government for its thorough implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” and “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” (“一国两制” 和 “港人治港”), ensuring a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong. Zhang added that the central government is satisfied with the work of the chief executive and government of Hong Kong. In addition, Zhang emphasized that since the return of Hong Kong to the PRC, the central government, the government of the special administrative region, and all social sectors have gone through many tests contributing to “One Country, Two Systems.” Seven million Hong Kong citizens support “One Country, Two Systems” and the Hong Kong Basic Law, which are also admired internationally, Zhang said. Zhang also hoped that all sectors of Hong Kong society will have confidence in “One Country, Two Systems.” He assured those he spoke with that the central government will continue implementing “One Country, Two Systems” and “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong,” and will resolutely support the chief executive and government of Hong Kong.

    Taiwan Affairs Office Releases Statement on Cross-Strait Relations

    People’s Daily

    5.20:  On the day of Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration as the President of Taiwan, the CCP Central Committee Taiwan Affairs Office released a statement on the current state of cross-Strait relations. The statement said that as cross-Strait relations are becoming more complex and challenging, compatriots on both sides of the Strait are becoming more concerned. It emphasized that the two sides have adhered to the “92 Consensus” since 2008, both rejecting Taiwan independence. Maintaining the status quo was said to be the desire of those on both sides of the strait, as well as overseas Chinese and the international community. The key to safeguarding peace and stability, it said, is strict adherence to the 92 Consensus. The article noted that Tsai did not explicitly recognize the consensus in her inauguration speech, calling into question her commitment to cross-Strait stability. The article placed the onus on Taiwan to maintain stability, saying it would be a mistake to provoke tensions. It concluded by saying that Taiwan independence is the “greatest scourge” of peaceful cross-Strait relations and peaceful development, and that the Taiwan Affairs Office will resolutely curb any form of separatist activity or conspiracy.

    UNITED FRONT WORK

    Major United Front Tasks for Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Overseas Chinese

    United Front Work Department

    5.18:  A short article listed the major tasks of the United Front Work Department regarding Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese. As for Hong Kong and Macau, the department has to comprehensively implement the policies of “One Country, Two Systems,” “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong,” and “Macao people governing Macao” in order to ensure a high degree of autonomy in both special administrative regions. In addition, the department must support the chief executives of Hong Kong and Macau, and develop patriotism and Chinese ethnic consciousness in those regions. With regard to Taiwan, the department must insist on the “One China” Principle, oppose “Taiwan independence” separatist activities, and deepen political, economic, cultural, and social foundations for cross-Strait peaceful development. Lastly, the major overseas task of the department is to win the hearts and minds of overseas Chinese, gather their wisdom, safeguard their interests, and guide them to contribute toward the motherland’s modernization and peaceful unification.

    PARTY DISCIPLINE

    Under Investigation This Week

    CCDI

    5.16:  Chen Haowen (陈浩文), Party committee member of the Gansu Forestry Department and deputy director of the Provincial Reforestation Committee Office. Chen has held several leadership positions in Gansu’s Forestry Department, including as planning and finance director and development planning and funds Management director.

    5.16:  Ma Bangqin (马邦勤), former deputy inspector of the general office of Jiangsu ProvincialGovernment. Ma was the deputy inspector of the general office of Jiangsu Provincial Government from May 2010 to July 2015.

    5.16:  He Binghua (何炳华), former Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman of Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province. He built a 30-plus year career in Qingyuan City. More recent positions include Party secretary of the Department of Transportation and Highway Administration and Party school president. Prior to his CPPCC position, He was the vice mayor of the Qingyuan Municipal People’s Government for six years.

    5.16:  Chang Baoliang (常保良), Henan Provincial State Owned Assets Holding Operation Group Co., Ltd. Party secretary and chairman. Chang had a long career in Henan Province following his graduation from Tsinghua University’s Department of Engineering Physics, which included posts as Party secretary, chairman, and senior engineer of Luoyang Bearing Group Co., Ltd.

    5.17:  Ji Chunlou (冀春楼), Chongqing Municipality Water Resources Bureau Party deputy secretary, deputy director, and chief engineer. Ji held positions as the bureau’s chief engineer and Party Committee member since 2000.

    5.17 Lu Wang (卢旺), Ji County (Tianjin City) People’s Congress Standing Committee deputy director and Party committee secretary of Xujiatai Town, Tianjin City. Lu served as Xujiatai Town Party secretary since 1999.

    5.18:  Cheng Han (程瀚), Anhui Province Department of Justice deputy director and Party committee member. Cheng joined the CCP in 1987 and was previously vice mayor of Hefei City, Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau chief, and Party committee secretary.

    5.20:  Cui Yuanfa (崔源发), Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group Company, Ltd. vice general manager and Party committee member.  Cui was previously the assistant general manager of Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group and chairman of the Jiangxi Rare Earth Industry Association.

    5.20:  Gao Yulin (高玉林), Liupanshui City (Guizhou Province) People’s Congress Standing Committee deputy director. Gao joined the CCP in 1988 and previously served as Liuzhi Special Economic Area Party committee secretary.

    First “Double Expulsion” from Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Xinhua

    5.16:  Former member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Party committee, assistant minister, and director of the Protocol Department Zhang Kunsheng (张昆生) was expelled from his Party and administrative posts (double expulsion/双开). This is the first formal announcement of the fall of a senior MFA cadre. The Xinhua article stated that due to their work with national secrets and China’s international image, MFA cadres have to go through many background checks. Even so, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) still carried out its responsibility to inspect the MFA, the piece said. Xinhua claimed that the fall of Zhang demonstrates that there is no area of the government in which discipline inspection is restricted, and every CCP cadre must be subject to Party regulation and law. Anti-corruption efforts targeting China’s military, national security, and diplomatic systems reportedly demonstrate this fact.

    CCDI: 4,309 Officials Investigated for Violating Party Discipline in April

    CCDI

    3.15:  The CCDI released detailed figures on investigations and punishments of CCP cadres that have violated the “Eight-Point Regulation” during the month of April. This regulation centers on activities causing discord between officials and the masses, such as corruption and extravagance. The statistics show that during this period, 3,115 problems involving 4,309 individuals have been addressed, 3,111 of whom received Party and or government disciplinary punishment. From 1 January to 30 April, 11,903 problems involving 16,545 individuals have been addressed, 12,471 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-Point Regulation is described as an ethical code that CCP cadres must uphold.

    CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (CMC)

    Li Keqiang, Fan Changlong, and Li Zuocheng meet with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff

    Ministry of National Defense: Authoritative Announcements

    5.16:  State Council Premier Li Keqiang (李克强), Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Fan Changlong (范长龙), and People’s Liberation Army Commander Li Zuocheng(李作成), each met with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in Beijing. Li Keqiang discussed China’s long history of close diplomatic ties with Pakistan, and the importance of maintaining mutual trust and a close partnership in order to maintain regional peace and stability. Fan discussed bilateral military relations with Sharif, particularly the need to cooperate on counterterrorism. Li Zuocheng discussed opportunities for cooperation between the two armies, including high-level military visits, counter-terrorism exercises, and other joint training. Both Li Keqiang and Fan discussed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a reflection of the profound friendship between the two countries. There is recent speculation that China will sell long-range surface-to-air missiles to Pakistan in the near future.

    OTHER

    Central Party School Students Must Thoroughly Study Xi Jinping’s Important Speeches

    Xinhua

    5.16:  During the opening ceremony of the second Spring term at the CCP Central Party School, Central Party School President and Politburo Standing Committee Member Liu Yunshan (刘云⼭) emphasized that CCP cadres have to follow the CCP Central Committee’s study plan of “Two Studies, One Action,” thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping’s important speeches, and be better equipped with the innovative results of Party theory. Liu stated that Xi’s important speeches reflect a new requirement for the CCP and the nation’s development, which have political, theoretical, practical, and methodological significance. To thoroughly study and implement Xi’s important speeches is to understand the CCP Central Committee’s new concept and strategy for governing the country, Liu stated. He added that CCP cadres have to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and advance the “Five-in-One” (五位一体) and “Four Comprehensives” Strategies. Liu finally asked CCP cadres to have higher standards for themselves in studying and implementing Xi Jinping’s important speeches. The “Five-in-One” plan refers to development plans for promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress. The “Four Comprehensives” are: comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, implementing the rule of law, and strengthening Party discipline.

    All-China Women’s Federation: Create a Home for Women Online, Unite Under Party

    People’s Daily

    5.16:  The All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) held a conference in Beijing on promoting the reform of women’s work online and in new media. Propaganda Department Vice Minister and Cyberspace Administration of China (Central Internet Security and Informatization Leading Group Office) Director Lu Wei (鲁炜) addressed the conference with a speech. He reminded conference attendees that they must comprehensively study and implement Xi Jinping’s important speeches, and promote the spirit of the Party in their work. Vice President of the ACWF Song Xiuyan (宋秀岩) stressed the need to utilize the internet and new media to carry out ACWF work with “conscious thought and conscious action,” through: strengthening online propaganda; “praising the themes of the current era” online; creating a “home” for women online; promoting the integration of women’s associations online and offline; improving the ability of women to use the internet and new media to carry out women’s work; strengthening organizational leadership; and making concerted efforts to promote women’s federations online. Song said that women’s organizations should revolve around the center, and should work to enhance political awareness and the overall sense of core consciousness, uniting all women under the banner of the Party. The ACWF was established in 1949 as the official CCP institution that promotes women’s rights within the government. It is currently officially labeled as an NGO, though it has a subordinate relationship to the CCP.

    INTERNATIONAL LIAISON WORK

    Meetings: 16 May-22 May 2016

    International Department

    5.16:  International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Chairman of the National Coalition of Afghanistan, in Beijing. Song stressed the need to deepen Sino-Afghan relations, and to support mutual development through peace and stability, saying China supports the “rule of Afghans by Afghans.” Abdullah called China Afghanistan’s greatest neighbor and said that the friendship between the two countries had a very strong foundation. Both sides discussed deepening inter-party relations and cooperating on counterterrorism. After the meeting, China’s Foreign Ministry announced that Abdullah had expressed Afghanistan’s support for China’s position in the South China Sea.

    5.16:  International Department Minister Song Tao met a Democratic Party delegation from Italy led by former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema in Beijing. Song welcomed D’Alema and the Democratic Party Representatives to attend the 5th China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum, being held 17 and 18 May. According to Xinhua, the purpose of the forum is to discuss green development and the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. Both sides expressed confidence that the OBOR initiative would help China and Italy achieve common development goals.

    5.16:  Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Jiarui (王家瑞) attended celebratory activities for the 7th Congress of the Korean Worker’s Party (KWP) hosted by the North Korean Embassy in China.

    5.16:  Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (李源潮) met a New Zealand National Party delegation led by party president Peter Goodfellow in Beijing.  Li referenced Xi Jinping’s state visit to New Zealand in 2014 as key in establishing the strategic partnership between both countries, and both sides expressed the desire to expand high-level, local, and educational exchanges between the two parties.

    5.17:  International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li (周力) met Yanaki Stoilov, Bulgarian Vice-President of the National Assembly and Bulgarian Socialist Party vice chairman, in Beijing.  Zhou highly complimented China-Bulgaria relations and party-to-party exchanges, and both sides agreed to further party-to-party educational exchange and cooperation to promote the “16+1” cooperation mechanism and OBOR initiative. Stoilov reportedly offered support for China’s position regarding the arbitration case on the South China Sea, and hoped that both sides would resolve the conflict through cooperation and negotiation.

    5.17:  International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met Algerian Ambassador to China Ahcene Boukhelfa in Beijing.  Liu stated that China was eager to implement the important agreements reached by both countries’ leaders and spur cooperation in the commercial realm through party channels. Ahcene expressed his desire for the Chinese government to encourage companies to participate in more infrastructural and agricultural development as well as anti-terrorism efforts in Algeria.

    5.17:  CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member Liu Yunshan (刘云山) met European delegations attending the 5th China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum in Beijing.  Liu stressed that the Chinese government attached great importance to the China-Europe relationship and saw Europe as an important world power.  Furthermore, Liu said that the China-Europe strategic partnership has great potential, and stated that China will use the China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum as a mechanism to engage in strategic conversations to promote mutual development and win-win ventures between the two sides. Sergei Stanishev, former Bulgarian Socialist Party leader and former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, expressed his approval for China’s new development ideals laid out in its 13th Five Year Plan and China’s foreign policy of openness, emphasizing that the OBOR initiative and strategic partnership can leverage the comparative advantages of both sides to bring mutualbenefits.

    5.17:  International Department Assistant Minister Dou Enyong (窦恩勇) met a Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN(M)) delegation in Beijing. Dou praised China-Nepal relations and both sides expressed the desire to promote party-to-party exchange and further the strategic partnership between China and Nepal.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met Maks Kraczkowski, Polish Sejm (lower house of the Polish Parliament) Economic Committee deputy chairman and Law and Justice Party (PiS) representative in Beijing.  Both sides agreed to further party-to-party communication and continue to develop the China-Europe strategic partnership.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met Kamal Izidor Shaker, Slovenian Modern Centre Party (SMC) representative and Chair of the National Assembly’s Committee on EU Affairs, in Beijing.  Both sides highly complimented China-Slovenian relations and party-to-party relations, and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern.  During the meeting, Shaker reportedly expressed that the Slovenian government offered support for China’s position regarding the arbitration case on the South China Sea, and wished involved parties would resolve their conflicts through negotiation and communication channels.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met Joe Natuman, Republic of Vanuaatu Party acting chairman and Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister. Guo stated that China highly regarded party-to-party and bilateral relations with the Republic of Vanuatu, and wished to obtain support regarding issues within China’s core interests as well as strengthen cooperation in various fronts. Natuman voiced governmental support for the “One China” Principle and wished to work together with China to further bilateral relations.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang (陈凤翔) met Luc Chatel, President of the National Council of the French Les Republicains Party in Beijing.  Chen highly complimented China-France, China-Europe, and party-to-party relations, and hoped to continue strengthening party-to-party exchange, mutual political trust, and cooperation on various fronts.  Chatel agreed upon the importance of China-Europe relations and emphasized the need for China and Europe to expand their role in global governance.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai met Tunisian Ambassador to China Tarek Amri in China. Liu highly complimented China-Tunisian relations and expressed the CCP’s wish to strengthen relations with Tunisian political parties to promote cooperation in commerce and other realms through party channels. Tarek agreed and reiterated his expectations of expanding China-Tunisian cooperation in commerce, investment, security, andanti-terrorism efforts.
    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang met Portugal’s Socialist Party (PS) assistant secretary general Ana Catarina Mendes in Beijing.  Chen stated that the CCP and PS, as ruling political parties, should strengthen communication and cooperation in promotion of both countries’ strategic partnership. Mendes stressed the importance that the PS attached to its relationship with the CCP, and hoped to contribute toward bilateral cooperation in various realms.

    5.18:  International Department Vice Minister Chen Fengxiang met the vice chairman of Portugal’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) in Beijing.  Both sides pledged to further party-to-party exchange and expand cooperation in the commerce, cultural exchange, and maritimespheres.

    5.18:  International Department Minister Song Tao met Victor Ponta, former Prime Minister of Romania and former head of the Romanian Socialist Democratic Party (PSD), in Beijing. Song praised Ponta’s work in pushing bilateral and party-to-party relations in various realms, and hoped that both sides can continue to realize win-win relations and development goals through cooperation.  Ponta referred to himself as a friend that China and the CCP can trust, and pledged to continue to support China-Romanian and China-European commercial cooperation. Both sides also exchanged views on topics such as China’s market economy status.

    5.19:  International Department Vice Minister Zhou Li met a Ukrainian delegation led by Leonid Kravchuk, the first President of Ukraine and honorary chairman of the Ukraine-China Society, in Beijing.  Li praised Kravchuk and his delegation for their longtime efforts in developing China-Ukraine relations, and pledged to work together to further improve bilateral relations. Kravchuk highly complimented China’s economic and social development under the CCP, and emphasized that China-Ukraine cooperation is in the best interests of both countries.

    5.20:  International Department Minister Song Tao met a Ukrainian delegation led by Leonid Kravchuk, the first President of Ukraine and honorary chairman of the Ukraine-China Society, in Beijing.  Song stated that the healthy state of China-Ukrainian relations can be attributed to the strategic and long-term considerations that both countries’ leaders gave to the relationship, and that China will work to further develop China and Ukraine’s historical friendship.  In addition, Song promised that that China will maintain an objective, fair, and constructive approach to the Ukrainian territorial issue. Kravchuk pledged to further contribute towards developing bilateral relations as part of a key facet of Ukrainian foreign policy.  

    ORGANIZATION WORK

Central Cadre Appointments: 16 May-22 May 2016

Zhao Fengtao

5.18:  Zhao Fengtao (赵峰涛) was confirmed to be the new National Government Offices Administration deputy director, leading Party group member, and Real Estate Management Department head. He was previously the Financial Affairs Management Department head.

Wang Xiaohong

5.20:  Wang Xiaohong  (王小洪) was confirmed to be the new Ministry of Public Security vice minister.  He is concurrently the vice mayor and leading Party group member of Beijing.

Zhang Tao

5.20:  Zhang Tao (张涛) was confirmed to be the new People’s Bank of China vice president.  He was previously the executive director for China at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Zhang Maoyu

5.20:  Zhang Maoyu (张茂于) was confirmed to be the new State Intellectual Property Office deputy director.  He was previously the State Intellectual Property Office Patent Re-Examination Board deputy head and member.

Zhang Yantong

5.20:  Zhang Yantong (张彦通) was confirmed to be the new State Administration for Religious Affairs deputy director.

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