Qiushi Journal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s flagship bimonthly periodical, released a speech that Xi Jinping, the CCP General Secretary, gave at the February 3 meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee.
Qiushi published the full text of Xi’s speech on Saturday, February 15. In the speech, Xi explained his role since January 7, 2020, in containing the novel coronavirus. After consolidating power, Xi has made it a rule that different organizations, including the National People’s Congress, State Council, each headed by a Politburo Standing Committee member, all report their work to him. This is the first time he had to explain to others what he has been doing.
China experts observed that Xi has been under mounting domestic and international pressure because of the outbreak, as well as the spread of the coronavirus. In order to “gain international understanding and support,” Xi offered guidance on “communicating with WHO, and with relevant countries and regions, to promote information sharing and policy coordination.” Meanwhile, Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, revealed that the 15-member WHO delegation has no US experts in it.
Xi also wanted to “ensure societal control and security by stepping up law enforcement and mobilizing public security and the armed police in joint efforts.” Xi made no mention of the delayed or inaccurate reporting that the local leaders from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak had voiced.
Xi gave orders to “strengthen control and management of Internet media; push for clear organizational and individual obligations, management obligations, and supervision obligations; and strike against and handle those who spread rumors and stir up trouble.”
On February 4, the day after Xi’s speech, Zhao Kezhi, minister of China’s ministry of public security, told police personnel across the country through a teleconference to maintain a secure and stable environment to fight the virus. He said the police needed to place “political security” above everything else, and to crack down on “domestic and international hostile forces.”
Xi also emphasized adherence to the economic goals set for this year, including achieving “moderate prosperity.”
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