1. Staying the course
2. NPCSC plans to do its thing
You know what time it is? It’s law-making time. Next month anyway.
The next National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) meeting will be held October 19-23.
- NPCSC Chairman Li Zhanshu announced the dates on Tuesday, and the chunky list of legislation the committee will consider.
This time around, at least 15 bills will be up for review:
- The Family Education Promotion Law
- The Land Borders Law
- An amendment to the Audit Law
- The Wetlands Protection Law
- The Futures Law
- An amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law
- A revision to the Agricultural Products Quality Safety Law
- The Law Against Telecommunication Network Fraud
- An amendment to the Patent Law
- An amendment to the Organic Law of Local People’s Congresses at All Levels and Local People’s Governments at All Levels
- A revision to the Animal Husbandry Law
- A revision to the Sports Law
- An amendment to the Civil Procedure Law
- A decision on the Metrology Law
- A decision on the National Defense Mobilization Law
Not on the agenda: Any mention of picking up the draft decision to apply the Anti–Foreign Sanctions Law (AFSL) to Hong Kong and Macao – the vote on which was deferred during the NPCSC’s August session.
Our question: Does this mean the AFSL discussion has been shelved indefinitely? The business community in Hong Kong sure hopes so.
3. Whiz kidz assemble
On Tuesday, at the Central Talent Work Conference, Xi Jinping waxed extensively on the importance of cultivating China’s next generation of scientific experts.
- The meeting is a big deal: all seven Politburo Standing Committee members attended.
Xi firmly tied human resources to China’s sweeping development objectives (Gov.cn):
- “We must enhance our sense of struggle, further emphasize training, and speed up the drive toward a competitive advantage in human resources.”
The big guy also laid out some high-level goals.
- A significant increase in R&D investment
- An expansion in training capacity
- The development of a talent pool that can support a high-quality economy
- Further attracting international talent
- China will lead the world in terms of strategic scientific talent
Xi also hinted at potential pilot zones:
- “Cities with a high concentration of top-level talent should focus on creating platforms to further attract and incentivize the best talent.”
But talent isn’t everything. Xi also wants skilled professionals to check another box:
- “We should…build a team of engineers who love the Party and serve the country.”
Get smart: If China is to realize high-tech self-sufficiency, it will have to improve scientific education and training.
Get smarter: Framing the issue of educating China’s future experts as an ideological and patriotic struggle is to be expected from the upper echelons of the Party.
Our question: How will the US and other western countries – who currently educate and train hundreds of thousands of China’s future experts every year – take that message?
agriculture & rural affairs
4. The commonest of common
It’s no secret that addressing income inequality is a top policy priority for Xi Jinping and his administration.
That’s why, on Tuesday, Liu Huanxin, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, elaborated on his ministry’s plans for making sure farmers get rich, too.
Liu acknowledged that raising farmers’ incomes is a big job:
- “The gap in development between urban and rural areas is still large, and the task of promoting the common prosperity of rural farmers is very arduous.”
Meeting this challenge will require a more productive, higher-quality farming sector:
- “Farmers’ income from operating [farms] is just around 1/3 of their total income…that income can be increased by promoting…high quality agricultural products.”
Some alternative jobs wouldn’t hurt either:
- “We must promote employment locally and nearby…so that farmers can work and earn money on their own doorsteps.”
Liu also flagged the role of ongoing rural property rights reforms in raising incomes:
- “There are still a lot of ‘sleeping’ assets in rural areas…that have potential to increase property incomes.”
Get smart: Some 500 million of China’s people still live in rural areas.
- That’s a huge group of potential consumers who could swell the economy, provided their incomes go up.
- But if income inequality worsens, that’s a huge group of potential discontents.