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China Reform Monitor - No. 1296

Xi addresses Party leadership ahead of Party Congress;
CPC anti-corruption watch dog barks new orders

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
August 11, 2017

July 14:

China has signed a $5 billion deal in Des Moines, Iowa, to import 12.53 million tons of soybeans and 371 tons of pork and beef from the U.S. Nearly one hundred officials and representatives from the two countries attended the signing ceremony for the deal, which covers 20 enterprises from both countries. Counselor for Science and Technology with the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, Xu Hai, said that as China’s urbanization and middle-class population continues to grow they will increase consumption. “The opening of China to U.S. beef imports is a very exciting development for the state of Iowa and for our cattle farmers,” said Adam Gregg, Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor. Kim Reynolds, the state’s newly elected Lieutenant Governor will visit China next week with an agricultural trade delegation,
the official People’s Daily reports.

July 17:

Wang Qishan, head of the Communist Party of China’s anti-corruption watchdog,
published a scathing attack on party members in the official People's Daily. Wang’s speech reinforces the institutionalization of continued inspection teams (xunshi) as a powerful method of enforcing the center’s control over party members. Wang said the anti-graft inspections launched after President Xi Jinping took office five years ago always discovered the same problems, which “reflect the weakening of party leadership, shortcomings in party building and insufficient efforts to strictly enforce party discipline. Party concepts are faint, organization is lax and discipline flabby. The root is in the party's internal political life being not serious and unhealthy," Wang wrote. He said some party members practiced "political nihilism," casting aside their beliefs, while others were guilty of "phony politics," seeing the leadership’s words as mere slogans. He wrote: “The problems we are facing are formed over the long term. Therefore, it will take a longterm to solve them. Accordingly, political inspection will have to be perfected through practice. To seek a path to achieve self-cleaning, self-improvement, self-reform and self-perfection so we can maintain forever advancement and purity of the party and make sure the party has and will always be the strong leading core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

July 22:

On July 15, Sun Zhengcai, a senior official who was considered a contender for promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee at this autumn's 19th party congress, has vanished. The party's public announcement said only that Sun, 53, had been removed as party secretary of Chongqing and gave no further explanation. His dismissal and detention came a week after he vowed absolute loyalty to Party Chairman Xi Jinping, extolling the leader’s "superlative political wisdom,"
the official CPC News reports. "Sun was a sacrificial object to send a message across the party that Xi Jinping doesn't feel bound by the order of promotion set by the previous generation of leaders," said Wu Qiang, a former lecturer at Tsinghua University. Sun’s replacement is Xi’s protégé, Chen Min'er, who was former party secretary of Guizhou province. An internal party explanation for Sun’s removal said investigators had found "violations of discipline," a vague term that could mean political infractions or corruption. Sun’s sudden fall is seen as a warning that “Xi will play succession politics by his own ruthless rules,” The New York Times reports.

July 27:

A two-day seminar for senior CPC officials of minister level and above was held in Beijing at the military-run Jingxi Hotel,
the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports. Senior officials from across the party, government, and military took part in the meeting, which was crucial to building consensus ahead of the 19th party congress this autumn

The seminar, which opened with a speech by party Chairman Xi Jinping, was “the most important high-level meeting before the 19th party congress. Convening all senior officials for a meeting undoubtedly has the clear intention of unifying thoughts,”
according to the official People’s Daily. Many of those in attendance will vote in the ballot for the party’s next central leadership at the upcoming party congress.

[Editor’s Note: When Hu Jintao was China’s leader he used such gatherings to take informal straw polls so party elites could present their suggestions ahead of the leadership reshuffle. Three months before the 17th party congress in 2007, which concluded Hu’s first term as the party’s secretary general, about 400 senior officials convened at the Central Party School for a such a seminar. Each attendee was given a sheet of paper containing a list of about 200 candidates for the Politburo and asked to indicate their preferences. Again, ahead of the 18th party congress in 2012 about 370 members of the Central Committee were called to Beijing for an internal poll of Politburo candidates. It is unclear if any poll was taken this time.]

July 28:

Japan has announced new sanctions on two Chinese firms: the Bank of Dandong which was accused of laundering North Korean cash for its nuclear and missile programs, and the Dalian Yulian Shipping Company. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said five entities, including the two Chinese enterprises, as well as nine individuals will be put on Japan’s blacklists in connection with ties to North Korea,
the SCMP reports. They will be “newly subject to asset freezing” and other unilateral punishment, Kishida said without elaborating or naming any of them. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded
that: “China will never accept Japan’s mistaken practice and requests that Japan immediately withdraw its wrong decision. If Japan continues to stubbornly stick with its decision that will defiantly create political obstacles on the Korean peninsula question and harm China-Japan relations. Japan is responsible for whatever results it will bring.”

Related Categories: China; East Asia; China and East Asia Program

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