Driving the Day
1. Xi tells cadres to serve the people
Xi Jinping is on the ground in Inner Mongolia, although so far there are few details of his trip.
Xinhua points out that this is Xi’s first trip since launching the Party’s new “Stay true to the founding mission” study campaign at the end of May (see June 3 Tip Sheet)
Visiting a small village outside Chifeng, Xi stressed that oneof the Party’s main tasks is to improve the lives of China’s citizens.
- “The Chinese Communist Party wholeheartedly serves the people, and is a party that is single-minded in its pursuit of happiness for the common people.”
- “If we want to win the never-ending support of the masses, we must always hold fast to the Party’s founding mission and carry out our basic goal of serving the people.”
Get smart: When Xi took over the Party, it was a corrupt institution largely bereft of purpose. He’s spent much of the past six and a half years trying to correct those deficiencies.
Get smarter: Xi’s not too popular with China’s cosmopolitan elite. But that’s only a tiny fraction of the population. Most citizens are down with Xi’spopulist program.
2.Xi tells Party elite to stick together
On Monday, the Party’s top journal Qiushi, published a speech by Xi Jinping on “political construction.”
Some context: Xi gave the speech at a June 29, 2018 Politburo study session.
For those that don’t feel like reading the whole thing, Xinhua has summarized the main points (CPC):
- “The article emphasizes that Marxist political parties have lofty political ideals, lofty political pursuits, pure political quality, and strict political discipline.”
- “If a Marxist political party loses its advanced political nature, then it is impossible to talk about the party’s purity.”
- “This is why the Party’s political construction is…fundamental.”
Got that? Good.
So how do you advance political construction? Easy:
- “To preserve the Party’s political leadership, most important is preserving the authority and unified, collective leadership of the Party center.”
- “This must be the primary task of the Party’s political construction.”
Get smart: This speech’s intended audience was the Party leadership. It was a reminder – and a warning – that the fractious elite politics that characterized the Hu Jintao era have no place in Xi’s China.
3. Party beefs up auditing capabilities
Yesterday, the general offices of the Central Committee and State Council released new rules on auditing officials in government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Some context: This is an update to the previous version released in 2010.
More context: Xi’s all about auditing. In March 2018, he established the Central Audit Commission (CAC), which he personally oversees.
The new rules empower the Party vis-à-vis the state:
- Party audit commissions at central and local levels will now sign off on annual audit plans. Previously that was the remit of the premier and local governors.
The scope of economic responsibility audits has been expanded:
- Cadres will now be evaluated on how wellhow well they implement economic policy and prevent economic risks.
SOE leaders have also seen the scope of their audits expand. They will be responsible for:
- Corporate strategy formulation and execution
- Overseas asset management
- Environmental protection
Get smart: These audits play a large role in evaluating which officials get promoted.
Get smarter: Xi’s auditing push is part of his larger drive to improve policy implementation.
4.Zombie hunting plan out
We told you seven months ago that Xi Jinping is on a mission to get rid of zombie companies (See November 15 Tip Sheet)
Well grab your pitchforks, folks!
Tuesday morning, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released a plan to help zombie companies exit the market.
The plan aims to hunt down zombies hiding in the state-owned sector:
- “For SOEs that meet the exit conditions, all parties concerned shall not hinder their withdrawal in any way.”
- “It is against the rules to sustain ‘zombie enterprises’ by providing government subsidies and loans in violation of regulations.”
Perhaps most importantly, the new plan goes after one of the key sources of zombie companies –industrial policies.
- “[Regulators will] strictly conduct fair competition reviews … and prevent adverse selection caused by …. excessive government intervention.”
Get smart: This plan is just a starting point. It will now be up to individual ministries to work out detailed rules for market exit.
5.Healthy China 2030 gains steam
Yesterday, the State Council released a flurry of documents related to the Healthy China 2030 initiative.
Some context: The Healthy China 2030 initiative was first approved in 2016.
By 2030, the plan aims to (Gov.cn):
- Extend life expectancy to 79 years
- Reduce the infant mortality rate to less than 5 per 1,000
- Reduce the proportion of smokers to less than 20%
- Ensure that more than 40% of the population gets regular exercise
- Increase the average intake of fruits and vegetables to more than 500 grams per person per day
The initiative also includes a wide range of goals related to health screening, disease prevention, nutrition, health education, and healthcare issues.
Sounds like a lot of work, but local officials have been instructed to pursue these goals like their jobs depend on it…because they do.
- “Major health indicators will be included in the performance appraisal indicators of Party committees and governments at all levels.”
- “It will serve as an important reference for the…evaluation of Party and government leading groups and leading cadres in all provinces”
Get Smart: The government is increasingly focused on quality of life issues – and less on pursuing economic growth.
Gov.cn: State Council measures to enhance people’s fitness, health