- Beijing’s efforts to rally international support for its boycott of the South China Sea arbitration case at The Hague continue unabated, with CCP International Department press releases and state media outlets regularly quoting supportive excerpts from statements made by foreign scholars and organizations.
- The CCP Central Committee General Office and State Council General Office jointly published opinions on how to reform China’s lawyer system. The opinions focus on how to manage China’s lawyers and guarantee their “correct” political orientation. Measures to be taken include the strengthening of inspections and disciplinary measures at law firms, and targeting lawyers with propaganda that creates a “positive atmosphere” for reform.
- The China Law Society reaffirmed that it would help China address the myriad of legal challenges that will arise as the country engages with foreign nations under the One Belt, One Road framework.
6.14: The CCP’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) reported that China has met the goals of its 2012-2015 human rights plan. SCIO head and Propaganda Department deputy head Jiang Jianguo (蒋建国) attended a meeting to assess the “National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015)” on 14 June in Beijing to announce the findings of the SCIO’s report on the implementation of the action plan. He reported that between 2012 and 2015, the Chinese government adhered to “people-centered development thought” and accelerated the development of a well-off society. It also continued building a socialist society governed by rule of law, made efforts to achieve the modernization of national governance systems, protected civil and political rights, promoted research and education on human rights theory, and made efforts to achieve respect for human rights awareness on a societal level. The report also said that China has adhered to international human rights treaties, and has promoted the healthy development of international human rights causes. The SCIO reported that the reeducation through labor system was abolished in 2013,30,000 prisoners were granted amnesty in 2015, and death penalty charges were abolished for nine offenses and reduced for others. The government is currently drafting the third phase of its action plan, which will cover the time period from 2016-2020.
6.15: An article posted by China Spiritual Civilization Net, a website under the purview of the CCP Propaganda Department and the Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress, claimed that without Party leadership, there would be no opportunity for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The piece states that the CCP was founded for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, eliminating poverty, improving the livelihood of the general public, ensuring justice and equality, and bringing prosperity to the public. Without the leadership of the CCP, China would collapse and achieve no further progress or development, the article warns. Lastly, the article asked the CCP to improve its governance capabilities and ensure control over its cadres and departments in order to maintain the bond between the CCP and the general public. The CCP was said to need to improve the capabilities of its cadres and focus on enhancing the Party’s leadership and its ability to resist corruption. The article represents the strengthening of efforts to legitimize CCP rule as necessary and ordained at a time when CCP leadership of national development reform is encountering resistance; such efforts include increased emphasis on the “five recognitions” (五个认同), which mandate the recognition that CCP leadership is the core of socialism with Chinese characteristics (对中国共产党的认同) and that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only path toward modernization (对中国特色社会主义的认同).
6.16: Foreign political parties and organizations were said to be voicing their support for China’s position in the South China Sea and the country’s rejection of the Philippines unilateral arbitration case. China Central Television compiled a video of select interview excerpts with foreigners expressing their supportive opinions. “The best option is not to create an imbalance in the situation and solve it peacefully. So, the two countries bilaterally should negotiate and come to an agreement,” stated Development & International Research Center of BRICS research team member Genovana Zoccal Gomes. “They should resolve the problem through dialogue and discussion, and even compromise. So, we are encouraging now and we urge that the South China Sea issue remain a stable, peaceful zone. And there should be cooperation between all countries,” explained Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, member of African National Council’s National Executive Committee in South Africa. “We strongly believe that the issues that there are regarding South China Sea, it will be resolved peacefully between China and concerned countries through issue mutual consultation bilaterally. And of course, like any other issues, we don’t think there should be any outside interference from some countries in this issue. We will be able to resolve this issue in a peaceful manner. And in our view China has been showing a very mature position by maintaining a very peaceful situation in the area. And that will be maintained for the greater good not only of the region, but also for trade in the whole area as well,” stated Kazi Nabil Ahmed, senior assistant secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League Central Working Committee. Around 60 countries were said to support China’s position on the issue, and other supportive foreign organizations were said to include Cambodia’s FUNCINPEC, the Pakistan People’s Party, the International Crisis Group, and the United Kingdom’s 48 Group Club. China’s narrative of strong international support belies the fact that only eight countries have publicly expressed approval of China’s right to boycott the case at The Hague, and five countries on China’s list of supporters have publically denied ever supporting Beijing’s stance. Other statements by foreign dignitaries during meetings with CCP International Department diplomats appear to have beenmisrepresented.
Weak Nations Have Strong Religions, Strong Nations Have Weak Religions: Understanding the Sinicization of Religion
6.14: An article from the United Front Work Department explained how to sinicize religions in China. The three standards that guide the sinicization of religion were said to be political identification, social adaptability, and cultural integration. The piece stated that political identification ensures that religious groups love China, support the CCP’s leadership, and follow national laws and regulations. With regards to social adaptability, it is important to adjust religious concepts for the purpose of promoting social harmony, according to the article. Cultural integration was said to be the use of socialist core values to guide religious dogma to match with the demands of Chinese development. The article used the phrase “weak nations have strong religions, strong nations have weak religions” (弱国强宗教，强国弱宗教) to justify the process of sinicization, which emphasizes government control. During the April 2016 National Religious Work Conference, Xi Jinping pointed out that the CCP must support religions in the maintenance of their basic beliefs, core dogma, and customs, but also stated that the Party must discover religious aspects that are beneficial to social harmony, progress, and a civilized and healthy society. A core task of the United Front Work Department is to guide religious groups and coordinate with other departments to implement the sinicization of religions.
CCP Central Committee General Office and State Council General Office Publish Opinions on Reforming China’s Lawyer System
6.14: The United Front Work Department Propaganda Office reported that the CCP Central Committee and State Council General Offices jointly published opinions on how to reform China’s lawyer system (关于深化律师制度改革的意见). The UFWD report stated that the system is an important symbol of civilized progress in a socialist country under the rule of law, as lawyers are an important part of building a socialist country ruled by law. Following the 18th Party Congress, the report said that lawyers have made remarkable achievements in protecting people’s rights and interests, safeguarding justice, and promoting a socialist democracy with the rule of law. Important sections of the “opinions” discussed how to strengthen leadership over lawyers and enhance their adherence to the Party. First, the management system over lawyers needs to be strengthened. The guiding principles for reforming the lawyer system are: “holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” implementing party theory and Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches, and adhering to the leadership of the Party. The opinions stated that deepening reform of the lawyer system entails upholding the Party’s leadership and adhering to the correct political orientation. To strengthen the lawyer management system, the opinions supported improving industry standards to regulate lawyers’ behavior, as well as enforcing disciplinary measures and firm penalties for violating regulations. It also supported improving annual inspections into law firms. To strengthen organization and leadership, the opinions stressed the importance of Party committees, and said that government at all levels should attach great importance to deepening system reform. It also stated that the government must strengthen propaganda aimed at lawyers in order to create a positive atmosphere for the reform of the lawyersystem. The CCP’s efforts to manage its lawyers mirror its ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and advocates since last year, both of which point to the Party’s struggle to balance its political control with strengthening the country’s rule of law.
6.16: An article from the CCDI explained how discipline commissions at every level of government should safeguard the constitution of the CCP. Discipline commissions were said to have a “special” role as enforcers of the CCP Constitution. Since the 18th Party Congress, the CCDI has demanded that all discipline commissions strictly implement the CCP Constitution and correct any wrongdoing prohibited by it. According to the 44th provision of the CCP Constitution, discipline commissions are responsible for “safeguarding the Party charter and other regulations.” Therefore, respecting and safeguarding the CCP Constitution was said not to be an abstract duty, but one that must be demonstrated by discipline commissions every day. Lastly, the article asked the CCDI to prevent Party cadres from engaging in corrupt practices at an early stage in order to redirect these members onto the correct Party path. To complement discipline inspection efforts to enforce the CCP Constitution, the Xi Jinping government has revamped educational initiatives that emphasize the Party constitution; this includes the “Two Studies, One Action” (两学一做) education plan, which requires all CCP members to understand the CCP constitution and its related rules.
Meng Yongfu (蒙永福), deputy director of the People’s Congress Standing Committee in Guilin City, Guangxi Province. Meng joined the CCP in 1987 and previously served as Secretary of the Politics and Law Commission in Guilin City.
Wang Jianghua (汪江华), municipal standing committee member and Propaganda Department head in Kumul City (Hami City), Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Wang joined the CCP in 1991. Previous CCP positions held by Wang include Party Secretary of Hejing County and Organization Department head of Hami City from 2013-2015.
Sun Likun (孙立坤), former Party secretary of Jiaozhuo City, Henan Province. Sun holds a PhD in history from Nankai University, making him one of the few provincial secretaries to hold a doctorate degree. In 2014, Sun Likun issued 67 instructions related to anti-corruption and discipline work and hosted three conferences on discipline work as the Party secretary of Jiaozhuo City.
Wang Fuqiang (王富强), former inspector at the Tianjin Investment Promotion Office.
Lu Chunjie (卢淳杰), mayor and deputy Party secretary of Chaozhou City, Guangdong Province. Lu joined the CCP in 1987. Previously in Chaozhou City, Lu served as the Organization Department head, President of the Party School, and secretary of the Party group.
PLA Publishing House Releases 3rd Installment of Xi Jinping’s Important Discourse on National Defense and Military Construction
6.13: The PLA’s publishing house released “Xi Jinping’s Important Discourse on National Defense and Military Construction (III)” (习近平国防和军队建设重要论述选编(三)), the third installment of a selection of Xi’s speeches and writings on the topic. This, along with the first and second installments, includes 29 writings, 25 speeches, one set of instructions, one set of orders, one set of comments, and a letter. Together, they were said to form Xi’s most important thoughts on national defense since 2015. The publication is meant to help military members better understand military guidance theory and Party ideology, and to inspire unity in thinking in order to strengthen the military. The CMC has also recently called for military news outlets to step up propaganda efforts in order to strengthen the “atmosphere of learning.”
China Law Society President Attends Event With “One Belt, One Road” International Research Institute (Hong Kong) Delegation
6.16: China Law Society President Wang Lequan (王乐泉) met a delegation of more than 150 people from the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) International Research Institute (Hong Kong) in Beijing. China Law Society Party Secretary and Executive Vice President Chen Jiping (陈冀平) also attended the event. Wang discussed how the China Law Society has contributed to lawmaking and the construction of legal institutions in recent years, as well as how the China Law Society engages in legal diplomacy. Wang said that OBOR not only has long-term economic and strategic significance, but also possesses global cultural significance. He said that the China Law Society would work to address legal issues that arise as countries begin to engage in trade under the OBOR framework. Chen reassured the meeting’s participants that the China Law Society would work to strengthen the OBOR initiative by promoting legal research and exchanges among the countries involved. Furthermore, China Law Society Vice President Zhang Mingqi (张鸣起) told participants that the China Law Society would consistently promote legal strategies to strengthen the OBOR plan. He also stated that the China Law Society and OBOR International Research Institute would work together to study legal issues related to OBOR and promote the construction of legal services and legal cooperation mechanisms. A massive cross-border undertaking like OBOR requires a constitutional and legal structure that can handle complex legal issues. Prominent legal challenges include: whether or not the constitutional orders of involved states are capable of managing high levels of international cooperation; understanding how international standards affect the legal orders of involved states; and other issues in the realms of international trade, finance, investment, banking and securities, maritime and transport, competition, consumer protection, and dispute resolution.
6.13: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met an observation team from South Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) led by Anthony Joseph Kpandu. Liu stated that China will continue to support South Sudan’s peaceful reconstruction process, and that the CCP is willing to deepen party-to-party exchange in order to enhance the SPLM’s rule and its ability to govern effectively. Kpandu thanked Liu for China’s continued support for South Sudan, and encouraged Chinese investment in the petroleum, infrastructure, and agricultural industries.
6.13: International Department Vice Minister Xu Lüping (徐绿平) met a Ghana New Patriotic Party (NPP) delegation led by NPP deputy leader Mahamadu Bawumia. The two representatives discussed the traditional friendship between China and Ghana and pledged to continue to improve bilateral relations.
6.14: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou (郭业洲) met with Finland Centre Party politician, former prime minister, and candidate for Finland’s 2018 presidential election Matti Vanhanen. Guo outlined China’s position on the South China Sea dispute. Vanhanen stated that as a small country, Finland does not take sides on the relevant territorial sovereignty dispute, but hopes disputes are resolved according to consensus and law.
6:14: International Department Minister Song Tao (宋涛) met with Turkmenistan Democratic Party leader Kasymguly Babaev, Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs leader Ovezmammed Mammedov, and Agrarian Party leader Redzhep Bazarov in Ashgabat. The leaders discussed strategic cooperation between China and Turkmenistan, especially with regards to cooperation on China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. Each party leader discussed their commitment to enhancing relations with China.
6.14: International Department Minister Song Tao met Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov in Ashgabat. Both sides agreed that the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership is key to moving bilateral relations forward, and that both sides should grasp the historic opportunity of OBOR to transform the bilateral cooperative relationship. Meredov reiterated Turkmenistan’s support for the “One-China Principle” and pledged to support China on issues within its core interests.
6.14: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou met a joint delegation comprised of representatives from political parties, think tanks, and media outlets within the BRICS countries in Beijing. Both sides discussed the strengthening of China-BRICS exchange and cooperation in the face of mutual challenges. Guo also elucidated China’s stance on the South China Sea situation.
6.14: International Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai (刘洪才) met Murat Salim Esenli, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy undersecretary and former Turkish Ambassador to China, in Beijing. Liu commented on the strong political foundation and healthy development of China-Turkey relations, as well as the desire to further relations with Turkish political parties to elevate the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. Esenli agreed and pledged to strengthen cooperation with China in commerce, cultural exchange, and security issues.
6.14: International Department Minister Song Tao met President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in Ashgabat. Song referenced Xi Jinping and Berdimuhamedow’s agreement to establish a China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership and its role in deepening bilateral cooperation in various realms. Berdimuhamedow expressed his high regard for the China-Turkmenistan strategic partnership, and wished to work together in realms such as energy cooperation. In addition, Berdimuhamedow also emphasized Turkmenistan’s commitment towards the One-China Policy.
6.16: International Department Assistant Minister Li Jun (李军) met Aung Min, Myanmar Union Solidarity and Development Party member, former head of the Myanmar Peace Center, and former President’s Office minister, in Beijing. Li complimented China-Myanmar relations, stating that China wished to strengthen cooperative relations and deepen the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership through the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (和平共处五项原则). Aung Min emphasized the importance of China as a close neighbor, and agreed that both sides should strengthen win-win cooperation in various realms.
6.16: International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou met a Southeast Asian think tank scholar delegation led by Haji Mohd Rozan, Brunei’s former permanent secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office and Executive Director for the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies in Brunei. Both sides exchanged views on China-ASEAN relations and the South China Sea issue.
6.16: International Department Minister Song Tao met Czech Prime Minister and Chairman of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) Bohuslav Sobotka in Beijing. Song referenced the establishment of the China-Czech strategic partnership during Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Czech Republic in March, and the need to strengthen party-to-party and high level exchange in support of issues of mutual interest and concern. Both sides pledged to push forth the development of OBOR as well as the China-Eastern European “16+1” Cooperation Framework as part of their bilateral strategic partnership.
6.17: International Department Assistant Minister Li Jun met a delegation consisting of 16 young cadres from the Bangladesh Awami League led by senior assistant secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Central Working Committee Kazi Nabil Ahmed in Beijing. Both sides exchanged views on party-to-party exchange. Li also explained China’s stance on the South China Sea dispute. Ahmed reportedly stated that Bangladesh feels that every country enjoys freedom of navigation according to international law in the South China Sea, and that China should resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiations with concerned countries without interference from outside parties.