1. Xi Jinping, carpet connoisseur
On Monday, Xi Jinping schlepped over to northwestern Qinghai province for a quick visit.
His first stop: A Tibetan carpet company in provincial capital Xining.
Xi wasn’t just looking to kit out his pad in Zhongnanhai.
Rather, he wanted to tout some of his key policy iniatives (Xinhua 2):
- “The Tibetan carpet industry, an industry that suits Qinghai’s actual situation, helps people get out of poverty and boost rural vitalization and promotes ethnic unity, Xi noted.”
But that’s not all Xi got up to in Xining (Xinhua 1):
- “Xi also visited a residential community…to learn about its efforts to strengthen Party building, improve community-level governance and advance ethnic unity and progress.”
Xi was keen to underline that Party life is the life (Xinhua 3):
- “If a community wants to do well, it must have a very strong grassroots organization under the leadership of the Party.”
Get smart: Xi is keen to show that the Party supports minority cultures.
Get smarter: Xi’s message is undermined by the fact that his administration has pursued an increasingly assimilationist approach to minority issues.
The bottom line: It’s going to take more than a visit to a carpet company to foster ethnic harmony.
2. Socialism is good
The Propaganda Department’s got something to say.
For the past two days, the People’s Daily has run front-page editorials authored by “Xuanyan,” which means “manifesto” or “declaration.”
Party nerds knowXuanyan is a big deal:
- It’s a pseudonym for the Propaganda Department.
- The department only uses the name to commemorate BIG moments like the 40th anniversary of reform and opening in 2018 and the PRC’s 70th anniversary in 2019.
What’s the occasion this time?
- The Party turns 100 on July 1.
TLDR: The editorials’ titles are self-explanatory (People.com).
- “Socialism has not led down China”
- “China has not let down socialism”
Get smart: The Party’s feeling good these days. Its success in containing COVID has been a major boon to Party legitimacy.
Get smarter: Instability and dysfunction in the West – particularly the US – is also helping to make China’s Party-led system look more attractive to Chinese citizens.
3. Anti-foreign sanctions law “surprise”
On Monday, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) reviewed the second draft of the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law.
Wait… second draft?
The first was never announced, which is unusual.
Even so, this is not a total shocker.
- The NPCSC’s 2021 work report, released in March, made addressing foreign sanctions a priority.
- In January, the Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) unveiled rules aimed at counteracting foreign sanctions.
No draft of the law has been made available.
But there are clues as to what’s in it.
- A spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPCSC implied that the law could be used to counter foreign sanctions related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
- It’s also likely that rules unveiled in January by the Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) aimed at counteracting extraterritorial legislation, including US sanctions, will inform the law.
Get smart: The legislature has promised to build a “legal toolkit” to fight sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. This law is part of that larger project.
Get smarter: This bill is progressing at warp speed, indicating that Beijing wants to build out its toolkit in a hurry.
Get real smart: This is bad news for global companies, who look increasingly likely to have to choose between Chinese and foreign laws.
4. Comprehensive strategic frenemies
On Monday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, along with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, co-chaired the Special ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Wang kicked things off by hailing progress in China-ASEAN relations (Xinhua):
- “In the past 30 years, [China has] become [ASEAN’s] largest trading partner…and the most dynamic strategic partner.”
Wang wants to keep that momentum going:
- “China and ASEAN should forge a higher level of strategic partnership and build a closer community with a shared future in the following 30 years.”
Wang also broached several substantive issues, including:
- Post-COVID recovery
- Sustainable development cooperation
- Implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
- Reaching an agreement on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (SCS)
Get smart: China-ASEAN relations are, um, complicated.
- In 2020, ASEAN overtook the EU as China’s largest trading partner and China is a major source of investment for ASEAN’s burgeoning economies.
- At the same time, China and ASEAN member states have serious beef over the SCS and other thorny geopolitical issues.
Get smarter: As the US is strengthening its ties with Asian allies, Beijing wants to bolster its relations with its southern neighbors.
5. Vaccination drive maintains momentum
China’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is charging full speed ahead (NHC):
- As of Monday, China had administered a total of 794.13 million vaccine doses – up from 661.47 million doses a week ago.
Some context: Last week’s administered vaccine doses averaged 18.95 million per day, which is:
- Slightly lower than 19.17 million the week before (see June 1 Tip Sheet)
- But up from 15.04 million two weeks ago (see May 25 Tip Sheet)
Vaccine production is also picking up:
- State-owned Sinopharm claims it has boosted annual vaccine production capacity to over 5 billion doses – five times more than the company estimated last year (see October 21 Tip Sheet).
- China’s health authorities have approved the usage of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as three years old – expanding its use from the previously approved age group of 18 to 59.
Get smart: Making more young people eligible to get vaccinated will help China achieve its goal of inoculating 40% of the population by the end of this month.
The bottom line: Herd immunity is an ambitious – but reachable – goal for China this year.