Heatwaves continue to wreak havoc across provincial power grids.
On Sunday, hydropower powerhouse Sichuan became the latest province to restrict power consumption by industrial end users.
Some context: Last week, we wrote about Jiangsu and Anhui’s power rationing plans.
This week’s update: A double screw you from Mother Nature, as Sichuan suffers drought-induced power shortages and heatwave-induced spikes in demand (Sichuan Online).
Sichuan officials vowed to avoid blackouts for residential users, including by:
Industries will feel the pain:
Get smart: Sichuan’s problems have serious ramifications for the rest of China.
Get smarter: In the run up to the 20th Party Congress, the last thing Beijing wants is hot, angry protestors.
The upshot: Businesses will bear the brunt of any power rationing.
Still hungry for Taiwan news? We’ve got you covered.
Personnel reshuffle! On Thursday, the Central Committee’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) updated its website to reveal Pan Xianzhang has been appointed a deputy director (one of three).
What’s Pan’s story?
Why care about Pan now? Like his predecessor Pei, Pan is well acquainted with He Lifeng, head of China’s macro planner (NDRC) and one of Xi Jinping’s closest aides.
Get smart: Pan’s Fujian background makes him an ideal TAO choice at a time when the always sensitive “Taiwan issue” is front and center.
Get smarter: He Lifeng’s ability to get his allies important positions in Beijing ahead of the 20th Party Congress indicates that He has a good shot at joining the next Politburo.
On Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang sat down with 11 American media outlets for an interview in DC.
Qin’s goal: To improve views of China within the Beltway.
Qin explained (MoFA):
I think it’s safe to say Qin failed.
Here’s what Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin wrote after the meeting in a piece entitled “China’s ambassador is pushing Beijing’s alternative facts”:
Get smart: Qin’s got an impossible job. He can talk to foreign media all he wants. But opinions of Beijing aren’t going to improve in DC unless Beijing reverses course on contentious issues like Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.
On Tuesday, the Party Central Committee and the State Council published a notice to improve village-level governance by standardizing work affairs, signage, and certification.
Recap: The lowest level of government in China is the township. Village-level organizations (VLOs, including Party groups and committees) are only there to assist township-level governments.
Reality check: Village cadres get loaded with all types of tasks – from family planning to certificate issuing – with limited funding and manpower.
The notice vows to ease the burdens on rural officials by banning Party and state agencies from (People’s Daily):
Get smart: Though often overlooked, grassroots measures like these – if allowed to take root – are crucial for the Party to deliver its top line goals of rural revitalization and Common Prosperity.
In the year since Xi Jinping set out his goal of Common Prosperity, there’s been plenty of debate about what this initiative means in practice.
On Friday, Tang Dengjie, the Minister of Civil Affairs (MCA), splashed his tuppence worth all over the front page of Study Times, the Central Party School’s flagship newspaper.
ICYDK: The MCA is responsible for social assistance and welfare, poverty alleviation, elderly and child care, charity, and managing social organizations.
Quoting Xi, Tang reminded everyone that economic growth (and the attendant tax revenues) are the precondition for addressing inequality (Qiushi):
Tang then stated that social assistance programs will remain targeted on the most vulnerable populations, particulary: explained that Xi called for implementing targeted social welfare measures
What that means: The Chinese government is not looking to create a welfare state in the short-term.
Bigger picture: Common Prosperity is in its infancy, and will undoubtedly evolve in the coming years and decades.