According to a blog that the Duowei website published, based on the latest personnel and media development, Wang Qishan will most likely stay within the party’s seven-member Politburo Standing Committee after the upcoming 19th National Congress. Wang is the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and Xi Jinping’s right-hand man. He has been leading the anti-corruption campaign within the party since the 18th National Congress and assisted Xi to eliminate and replace the old faction within the party, the military, as well as at the municipal levels. The article listed two personnel changes that took place in the past week: Wang Shanyun, the party secretary of Gansu Province and Sun Zhencai, the party secretary of the City of Chongqing were removed from their posts. Meanwhile Wang Qishan wrote two articles, a clear indication of Wang’s likelihood to be re-appointed to the Standing Committee: on July 17. Wang published a “bombshell” article in People’s Daily and stated that the inspection work shall continue following the 19th National Congress and to play its role as a “Sharp Sword” (in combating corruption); on June 5, Wang published a headline article on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection which stated that the anti-corruption campaign is still facing “serious and complicated” challenges and vowed to “strengthen the effort and fight the battle to achieve overwhelming victory.” The article stated that another possibility for Wang to remain in power is that Wang could be appointed to be in charge of the Supervision Committee, an extension of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. According to the article, on November 7, 2016, three regions including Beijing, Shanxi and Zhejiang were selected to participate in the Supervision system reform. Speculation indicated that Wang would be the perfect fit to lead that role if the supervision reform was to be carried out nationwide.
1. Duowei News, July 18, 2017
2. Wang Qishan’s article in reference
Several media reported that the PLA’s recent military exercises in the northwestern region and the movement of tens of thousands of tons of military weapons and supplies to northwest China was meant to display its military muscle in front of India. An article that Huanqiu published stated that the PLA conducted another military exercise in the Xi Ning region following the military exercise in Tibet. Hongkong’s South China Morning Post, CCTV, and Eastday.com carried articles with photos showing that the PLA transported tens of thousands of tons of military vehicles and equipment to Tibet. The media from India pointed out that even though the military exercises took place in the northern part of Tibet, it would be very easy for Beijing to move the military supplies quickly to the Indian border through the railway and infrastructure system in Tibet. One military expert who chose to remain anonymous told Huanqiu that the standoff between India and China has been going on for over one month now and China must be prepared.
1. CCTV, July 16, 2017
2. Huanqiu, July 20, 2017
3. Eastday, July 19, 2017
According to an article from Yicai.com, in order to reign in the exploding local government debt that has been growing out of control, Xi Jinping recently announced that the municipal government must strictly control the debt ceiling and the related officials must have lifetime accountability for the debt. Xi made the announcement during the finance conference which was held last week. The lifetime accountability will prevent the officials from shirking their responsibility once they have retired, According to the article, local debt has risen rapidly in recent years because officials seek GDP growth as a measure of their political achievement. The article went on the report that the Ministry of Finance has set up a debt ceiling in order to ease the local debt risk. By the end of 2016, local debt was at 15.32 trillion yuan (US$2.27 trillion) which was less than the 17.19 trillion (US$2.54 trillion) debt ceiling. The debt ceiling for 2017 was set at 18.82 trillion yuan (US$2.78 trillion). Meanwhile, in 2014, the State Council started to include the local debt as one of the measures for party official’s political achievement.
Source: Yicai.com, July 16, 2017
At the First Trade Fair on Syrian Reconstruction Projects (on July 9), Qin Yong, Vice President of the China-Arab Exchange Association, revealed that China plans to invest US$2 billion in Syria to establish industrial parks. The first phase will attract 150 enterprises to participate.
Syrian ambassador to China, Imad Mustafa, said that this is the first time that a Syrian reconstruction project fair has been held in Beijing. The hope is to build an important platform for Chinese enterprises to understand Syria and participate in the reconstruction of Syria.
The Syrian ambassador also said, “China, Russia, and Iran have provided substantial support to Syria during the military conflict. Therefore, it is these three countries that should play a major role in the reconstruction of Syria. If the work were to be carried out by other countries, even by those who participate in the damage to the Syrian infrastructure, it would be very unfair.”
“We learned the lessons from what happened (during the domestic war). We learned who our strategic partners are. Now we will not move closer to the West, but to the north and the east (referring to China, Russia and Iran).”
Source: Sina, July 14, 2017
Duowei reported that Chinese political star Sun Zhengcai’s “bizarre disappearance” caused quite a stir in Chongqing’s officialdom. Since July 15, when Chen Miner took office in Chongqing, the municipal committee has held 11 important meetings.
On July 19, Chongqing Daily reported nine of those important meetings.
On July 15, the CPC Organization Minister Zhao Leji announced that the former Guizhou Provincial Party Secretary Chen Miner replaced Sun Zhengcai as secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee. Chen Miner said at the meeting that (the new leadership) will resolutely support Xi Jinping’s core position, “have a firm political stance, and adherence to political discipline.”
On July 17 and 18, Chongqing held 10 meetings. Those present at the meetings, repeatedly brought up the issue of eliminating the lingering toxic influences from the (sacked) Bo Xilai, (the former head of Chongqing) and Wang (Lijun), as well as the issue of the reinspection report from the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.
The inspection group pointed out that the problems in the official circles in Chongqing included “weakening of the party’s leadership, the promotion of cadres with problems,” and other related issues. It also specifically singled out the problem that the remaining impact of “Bo and Wang” has not been completely removed.
Source: Duowei, July 19, 2017
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily published an article on WeChat (a popular Chinese social media) under its WeChat account Jun Zhen Ping Studio, regarding the on-going military reform.
The article stated that, “After this reform, for the first time, the Army’s active duty member count dropped below one million. The Navy, Rocket Army, and Strategic Support Force all had increases while the Air Force stayed at the same level. The Army numbers about 50 percent of the overall military forces.”
Source: Chuansong.net, July 11, 2017