1. Controlling the outbreak 24/7
China’s worrying new COVID-19 outbreak is ongoing.
On Wednesday, China reported (NHC):
- 62 new domestically transmitted symptomatic cases – down from 71 on Tuesday.
- 32 new domestically transmitted asymptomatic cases – up from 15 on Tuesday.
The outbreak has covered some ground:
- So far, 17 out of 31 provinces saw local cases.
During a State Council COVID control work conference on Wednesday, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan told local officials to implement strict prevention and control measures, including:
- Keeping cargo and baggage from domestic and international travelers separate
- Implementing strict management of people working in high-risk roles
Sun also told officials not to slackin maintaining China’s frontlines of defense, calling for:
- An inspection of hospitals’ infection prevention and control capabilities
- Completing all necessary contact tracing within 24 hours
Get smart: The situation remains fluid. Beijing has reinstated control measures and mobility restrictions unseen since the middle of last year.
Big picture: This is the biggest spike in local cases since January 2021…and it hasn’t peaked yet.
2. More child support from big brother
Go on, we know you want them. More localities are rolling out special benefits for families that have three children.
On Thursday, the Beijing municipal health commission announced that mothers who give birth to a third child can enjoy an additional 30 days’ maternity leave (Economic Daily).
- That’s on top of the nationally guaranteed 98 days.
- Dads, you’re eligible for an extra 15 days’ parental leave.
Some context: China’s 2020 census revealed a precipitously low birthrate, spurring policymakers in several regions to encourage reproduction – a dramatic U-turn after decades of strict controls.
On Wednesday, news broke that Sichuan province also plans to support baby-making by:
- Expanding maternity-related benefits
- Introducing a province-wide childcare subsidy
More context: Two weeks ago, one Sichuan city announced a whopping RMB 500/month subsidy for families that have second and third children.
On Tuesday, Jiangxi province also promised a raft of support measures for larger families, including:
- Tax breaks
- Preferential housing access
- Support for education costs
- More maternity-related benefits
Get smart: Expect lots more benefits – at the local level – to be rolled out for families who expand.
Fun fact: Win RMB 1,000 in a slogan-writing contest for the third-child policy! Replacing sometimes brutal billboards, the China Family Planning Association seeks “a friendly social atmosphere of childbearing” (Global Times).
3. Party rules roundup: Ultimate Edition
Time to get psyched.
On Wednesday, a thrilling roundup of Party rules graced the front page of People’s Daily.
Some context: Party rules regulate everything the Party does, from organization and leadership to Party building and supervision.
The article explained why Party rules are so important:
- “To govern the country, we must first govern the Party…and be strict in accordance with [Party] law.”
Then it got real wonky.
By the Party’s 100th birthday (July 1), there were 3,615 Party rules in effect.
That number includes:
- 211 rules issued by the Central Committee (CC)
- 163 rules issued by the anti-corruption watchdog (CCDI) and other CC working organs
- 3,241 local rules issued by provincial, regional, and municipal Party committees directly under the central government
Not enough wonk for ya? There’s more.
The current rules also subdivide into:
- 1 Party constitution
- 3 guidelines
- 43 regulations
- 850 provisions
- 2,034 measures
- 75 rules
- 609 detailed rules
Why we care: Xi Jinping is pretty obsessed with rules.
- He’s overseen the writing, or revision, of more than 70% of all Party rules since coming to power in 2012.
Get smart: Xi’s relentless focus is a clear sign that the Party is not functioning as well as he would like.
Get smarter: It’s also a great tool to tighten Xi’s grip on power.
4. Time Life presents: Wang Yi’s greatest rants
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi took to the (virtual) podium at the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Some context: EAS is an outgrowth of ASEAN, bringing together leaders from 16 Asia-Pacific countries along with Russia and the US.
China is looking out for others, said Wang, highlighting Beijing’s support for:
- Greater cooperation on COVID-19 control measures
- Promoting green development and economic recovery
- Solidifying ASEAN’s leading position in regional cooperation
Great! It’s so refreshing when multilateral meetings are harmonious and produc…
Then representatives from the US and Japan gave speeches criticizing China for its human rights record and maritime claims.
That’s when Wang snapped (Xinhua):
- “For such abominable behavior, we will resolutely make refutation each and every time it comes up.”
Defending Chinese actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, then accusing the US of genocide against Native Americans and wars of aggression, Wang continued:
- “[T]he United States has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to this.”
- “Where is your conscience? Where is your credibility?”
Get smart: The US-China rivalry is spilling over into a growing number of international forums.
Get smarter: Southeast Asia is shaping up to be a major political and economic battleground between Washington and Beijing.
5. Beijing plans hypercyberlopolis
At a digital economy conference on Monday, Beijing introduced its Implementation Plan on Accelerating the Construction of a Global Digital Economy Benchmark City.
The blueprint is more ambitious than it sounds.
- Like, way more ambitious…
Over a ten-year timeline, the plan endeavors to transform Beijing top to bottom into a digitally empowered mega-city.
The plan targets six key areas of development:
- Building intelligent infrastructure
- Building the foundations of a data-driven economy
- Cultivating emerging industry clusters, including digital health services, intelligent manufacturing, and digital finance
- Securing breakthroughs in core technologies, such as microchips
- Building a digital governance system
- Forming standards for global digital trade, including cross-border data flows
These broad aims are broken down into numerous sub-goals and granular targets, along with specific benchmarking projects, including:
- Building a “digital city operating system” to manage municipal operation and services centrally online
- Rolling out high-level autonomous driving at scale, supported by smart infrastructure
- Digitizing the healthcare system
Crucial to realizing this vision: The centralization and unified management of data resources that run throughout the plan.
Get Smart: This type of advanced, data-driven development is what the Data Security Law (DSL), effective from September 1, is intended to facilitate.
- The government views full DSL implementation as absolutely critical to economic and social development.
Get Smarter: The plan’s sheer ambition speaks volumes about the atmosphere of optimism in China. The leadership believes anything is possible.
- Accomplishing just part of this plan would mark a major achievement.