1. Xi tells PAP to get ready
Over the weekend, we got more details on Xi’s recent trip to Fujian (see March 26 Tip Sheet).
The big news: On Wednesday, Xi headed over to the headquarters of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) 2nd Mobile Contingent in Fuzhou.
Some context: The PAP is a paramilitary force focused on maintaining domestic stability, including riot control, anti-terrorism, and disaster response.
- It also provides rear area support to the People’s Liberation Army.
More context: As part of Xi’s military reforms, the PAP was restructured in 2017. It was slimmed down to focus on its key tasks and brought more firmly under the control of Xi Jinping and the military brass in Beijing.
Xi told the PAP to get prepared (Xinhua):
- “Highlighting the importance of combat preparedness, Xi urged the corps to step up real-combat training and joint-combat training.”
Get smart: The Party celebrates its 100th anniversary on July 1. Xi is putting the security services on high alert to make sure that nothing spoils the Party’s big birthday.
2. To serve the people
On Friday, Premier Li Keqiang chaired a virtual symposium attended by provincial governors and other local officials.
His message: Let’s engineer a recovery that works for everyone.
Li pointed out some areas of concern (Gov.cn 2):
- “[China’s economy] is…affected in many aspects, especially in surging commodity prices.”
- “[E]mployment pressure and slow recovery in some industries remain a problem.”
And he offered some thoughts on how local governments could support the country’s Average Zhous:
- “[P]olicies…ensuring job security, basic living needs, and the operation of market entities, should be maintained, and direct funds should go quicker to the primary level.”
- “He urged [local officials] to slash taxes and fees for small and micro-sized enterprises, and explore ways to further support individual businesses.”
- “More efforts are needed to expand employment, increase incomes, [and] stabilize prices.”
Get smart: Consumption is the missing piece in China’s economic recovery.
- Li and co. know that people won’t start spending again until incomes are secure and small businesses get back on their feet.
Get smarter: Leaders want officials to focus less on GDP growth and more on securing people’s basic economic needs.
3. How to not get demoted, Party style
On Sunday, the General Office of the CCP dropped new trial rules on “organizational punishments” for leading officials.
Here’s a sampling of the types of stuff that could land a cadre in hot water under the new rules (Gov.cn):
- Showing disloyalty on major principles
- Having insufficient belief in Marxism
- Doing an inadequate job on policy implementation
- Overruling or ignoring decisions arrived at by senior government bodies
- Neglecting duties or carrying out responsibilities in a perfunctory manner
- Wasting resources on flashy boondoggle projects
- Cultivating personal power and forming cliques
What’s at stake: Depending on the seriousness of the transgression, the offending official could see their career stalled or thwarted for good.
Who’s in charge of demoting cadres:
- As these are work-related offences, the Party’s mighty HR division – the Central Organization Department – will oversee adherence to the new rules.
Some context: This is part of a bigger project. Since Xi Jinping’s took over the Party in 2012, over 70% of all existing Party rules have been overhauled or rewritten.
Get smart: Improving the Party’ functioning has been one of Xi’s top priorities since coming to power.
- Having competent – and loyal – officials in charge is key to making that happen.
4. Can you protect me from yourself?
On Wednesday, China’s Renmin University and the UK’s Durham University co-hosted a conference on China’s Personal Data Protection Law.
Some context: The draft of China’s first personal information protection law made its debut last October (see October 23 Tip Sheet).
- The law will be important in laying the foundation of China’s burgeoning data protection regime.
Among the attendees were high-level officials from the legislature, Cyberspace Administration of China, and Supreme Court.
- AKA the people responsible for making the data protection sausage.
Two top law professors, Wang Xixin and Cheng Xiao, argued that strong measures were needed to protect personal information from government abuse, including (21st Century Biz):
- Increased government liability in acquiring, storing, and using personal information
- A system of penalties designed to prevent government misuse of information
Get smart: Wang and Cheng’s comments reflect growing unease among the public about potential government misuse of personal information.
Get smarter: Policymakers are (surprise, surprise) not too worried about government miusing data. They remain focused on protecting data from misuse by commercial entities.
5. The early bird gets the eggs
Vaccination progress in China has been slow thus far.
Now that is starting to change.
On Monday, health authorities announced that (NHC):
- As of March 28, China had administered a total of 106.61 million vaccine doses.
- That’s up from 74.96 million doses on March 20.
That is a BIG acceleration.
- It means roughly 3.96 million doses are finding their way into arms per day – up from an average of 1.66 million doses per day in the previous week.
- A record high of 6.12 million doses were administered on Friday alone.
We saw this coming: A push from vice premier Sun Chunlan seems to have motivated local officials to move faster (see March 23 China Markets Dispatch).
Officials’ biggest problem: Because there is virtually no community transmission of COVID in China, citizens aren’t fussed about getting vaccinated.
Officials are having to get creative:
- Here in Beijing, some neighborhood committees are offering bulk packages of daily necessities, like eggs and toilet paper, to entice people to get the jab.
- Beijing’s Daxing district is offering RMB 200 million in grocery vouchers to residents who complete their vaccine course.
It seems to be working:
- As of Saturday, 808,000 people in Daxing district had received at least one vaccine dose – that’s almost half of the district’s population.
Get smart: Local authorities are under intense pressure to speed up vaccinations. Expect mobilization efforts to ramp up in the weeks ahead.