1. Local Party boss appreciation day
On Tuesday, Xi Jinping met with 103 outstanding county-level Party bosses for some casual chit chat and selfie-taking.
The occasion: The local bosses were being recognized for good work in their respective jurisdictions.
It was a thrice in a lifetime sort of gathering:
- Awards to county-level Party bosses were previously given out in 1995 and 2015.
Compared to his predecessors, Xi has been an especially big fan of local bosses.
That could be because he was once one himself:
- Xi served as the Party boss of Zhengding county in Hebei province between 1983 and 1985.
He also sees local cadres as crucial to ensuring that the Party stays in power (CPC People):
- “If we compare a country to a net, the [counties] represent the net’s knots.”
- “If the knots are loose, the political situation of the country will be turbulent. If the knots are tight, the political situation of the country will be stable.”
Get smart: This kind of high-level recognition is great for officials’ career prospects.
- Of the 100 officials receiving awards in 1995, at least 16 were eventually promoted to the vice-ministerial level.
2. Of invites and in-fights
On Monday, the CCP kept the pageantry a’rollin’ ahead of its 100th anniversary on July 1 by throwing a massive celebration at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.
Those of us who watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics held at the same venue got more than a little nostalgic…
- Monday’s performance featured massive, choreographed dance routines and an arsenal of pyrotechnics.
It was also heavy on political messaging (SupChina):
- “Titled ‘The Great Journey’…the show [focused on] major moments in the history of the CCP, with an emphasis on military achievements and strong central leadership.”
All seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee were in attendance – but several figures were notably absent:
- Former CCP General Secretaries Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao
- Former Premiers Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao
The absence of the four former leaders led some to speculate that there’s an intra-Party feud taking place.
Get smart: At this point, we’re not reading too much into Jiang, Hu, Zhu, and Wen missing the Party party.
- Tuesday’s event was more appetizer than entrée.
What to watch: If the three former leaders aren’t present for the main event on Thursday, that would be interesting.
3. Wolves gone wild
Aggressive Wolf Warrior diplomats are torpedoing China’s image abroad.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the foreign ministry is trying to do something about it:
- “The Foreign Ministry is taking steps to pull back on the aggression, including by drafting guidelines for diplomats on the use of Twitter.”
Some context: The Wolf Warriors are a controversial bunch within China’s foreign policy establishment. Many highly placed officials have been trying to rein them in over the past year.
There’s just one problem. It’s not clear that Xi Jinping wants to put a leash on the Wolf Warriors.
- “In a May meeting with senior party officials, he urged efforts to cultivate a ‘credible, lovable and respectable’ image for China abroad.”
- “At the same time, the people say, he has maintained demands that diplomats show ‘fighting spirit’ as they defend the country against insults.”
Get smart: The May Politburo study session acknowledged that China’s image abroad needs improving (see June 2 Tip Sheet).
Get smarter: The conclusion of that meeting seems to be that the way to improve China’s image is to fight harder – not dial down the aggression.
Our take: The Wolf Warriors are here to stay.
4. Industrial policy with American characteristics
On Monday, the US House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation to complement the Senate’s China competition bill.
Some context: On June 8, the US Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) (see June 10 Tip Sheet). It features
- Large budget bumps for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DoE)
- Measures to counter Chinese influence abroad
The House chose to break up the USICA and pass independent bills, including the following two policies focused on boosting tech competitiveness:
- The NSF for the Future Act (passed 345-67)
- The DoE Science for the Future Act (351-68)
US President Joe Biden is a big fan (White House):
- “By rebuilding those domestic sources of strength, we can out-compete China and the rest of the world for years to come.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is less enthusiastic (Bloomberg):
- “How the U.S. develops itself is its own domestic affair. However, we firmly oppose efforts to target and use China as a pretense.”
What comes next:
- The House will continue to craft legislation based on the Senate bill.
- The two US legislative bodies will negotiate on finer points before a final vote.
- Biden will sign the resulting legislation into law.
- China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue a tersely worded statement.
5. Big brother is auditing you
On Monday, the Central Auditing Commission (CAC) dropped its Five-Year Plan (FYP) for developing the national audit system.
- The plan sets out to improve how the National Audit Office (NAO) conducts audits of government bodies, SOEs and officials.
We see you yawning…
But it’s a big deal: Changing how government audits work directly impacts fiscal management and policy implementation.
Some context: Xi Jinping understands the power of accountability – he personally set up the CAC in 2018 and continues to head the committee himself.
The FYP kicks off by highlighting NAO’s successes over the past five years:
- Auditing over 500,000 state organizations
- Recovering RMB 2.2 trillion in misappropriated funds
- Closing 37,000 loopholes in government rules
- Identifying 39,000 leads for additional disciplinary or criminal investigation
One of the plan’s major goals caught our eye: NAO is looking to expand its audits of policy implementation.
Policy implementation audits include:
- Following major policies from formulation and funding to implementation and evaluation
- Soliciting input from a variety of stakeholders on policy implementation
Get smart: This is part of Xi’s broader push to ensure local governments implement policy thoroughly and as intended by Beijing.
Get smarter: These audits play a major role in determining which officials get promoted.