Page 1: Two pieces on the page to note.
First, there’s Monday’s Politburo meeting to review two sets of regulations on Party building in the military and the election of primary-level Party organizations. The first regulations on the military emphasise the “two safeguards,” i.e., the Chairman Responsibility System and ensuring the Party’s absolute leadership over the PLA. Here’s the key goals:
“The meeting emphasized that we must unswervingly adhere to the party’s absolute leadership over the army, comprehensively and thoroughly implement the responsibility system of the chairman of the military commission, continue to deepen political training, and be absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable. We must persist in focusing on preparing for wars, implementing the only fundamental standard of combat effectiveness in the entire process and aspects of party building in the People’s Army, and promoting the transformation of the party’s political and organizational advantages into winning advantages. We must adhere to the requirements of comprehensive and strict governance of the party, be unswervingly correct, and resolutely correct formalism and bureaucracy.”
With regard to elections at primary-level Party organisations, the report sheds light on a number of problems such as corruption, nepotism and lack of skilled individuals. But most importantly, the issue of political integrity.
“The meeting emphasized the need to strictly implement the provisions of the electoral system, improve the quality of elections within the party, guarantee the rights of party members entrusted by the party constitution, and enhance the party’s awareness, political awareness, and awareness of rules. It is necessary to strictly represent the qualifications of representatives to ensure that qualified representatives are selected. It is necessary to reasonably allocate the number of representatives, optimize the structure of representatives, and ensure the ratio of front-line representatives in production and work. The candidates for committee members shall be nominated in accordance with the principles of both integrity and virtue…We must insist on education first, warning first, and prevention first, tighten political discipline, organizational discipline, and transitional discipline to ensure that the election is clean and upright.”
Another piece is this long commentary on the 99th anniversary of the Communist Party. It’s an interesting read in that it casts the goal of Xiaokang within the long arc of Chinese history, talking about the century of humiliation. It says: “After the founding of New China, especially since the reform and opening up, the Communist Party of China upholds the original intention and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenating the Chinese nation. Together, bitterly together, work together, always focus on the goal of Xiaokang.” So the Cultural Revolution, of course, never happened, right? And then it provides data points and looks back at the efforts in Xi’s tenure. Mercifully Deng Xiaoping also gets a mention. But here’s the bottom line: “The more severe and complicated the situation, the more it is necessary to give full play to the party’s core leadership role. Only in this way can we effectively cope with major challenges, resist major risks, overcome major resistance, and resolve major contradictions.”
Page 2 & 3: A report on the outbreak in Beijing on the second page, and then the fun stuff on page 3. First, we have a commentary criticising Mike Pompeo for his recent remarks on China’s engagement in Africa. Sample this:
“The leaders of African countries sincerely stated that China has set an example in helping Africa to fight against epidemics, and once again proved that China is a ‘real friend’ and ‘a partner that can be relied upon when facing difficult challenges’ with practical actions. Hearing these voices from Africa, Pompeo should understand that he tried his best to spread the “political virus” that smeared China, but the African people have their own sober judgment, because the reality of China and Africa treating each other equally and mutually beneficial cooperation again and again.”
The piece then calls Pompeo “unscrupulous,” adding “Pompeo is now jumping out to politicize the debt issue and wantonly defaming the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa. It is very sinister, but destined to be in vain.”
Second, a piece based on MoFA’s comments on the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, calling it “waste paper.” Expect Hong Kong to be front page news tomorrow. And another piece based on MoFA comments comparing the track record of China and US in dealing with the pandemic. Beijing has used the Trump administration’s missteps and the chaos in the US to its advantage at home.
Page 4: A report outlining the consultative process that was followed in drafting the Hong Kong national security legislation. This isn’t new, but it’s really incredible levels of propaganda. Most HK officials, including Carrie Lam herself knew very little about the actual text of the law before it was adopted. And the fact is that on June 30 after the law was voted upon and cleared, it was reportedly put in the Basic Law Annex III . So the LegCo in HK gets no vote. In fact, after listing the law in Annex III of the Basic Law, the law can take effect in Hong Kong as a national law after promulgation by the SAR government. Some consultation! More HK propaganda here, with largely mainland-based officials linked to HK talking up the natsec law.
Finally, a piece on the role of village and community party organizations in combating the epidemic. Now I get that this is propaganda, but it also tells you something about the organisational strength of the CCP. Here’s one data point:
“There were 677,000 grassroots party organizations in the established villages participating in epidemic prevention and control nationwide, and 302,000 grassroots party organizations in urban communities, covering 542,000 villages and 64,000 communities across the country.”
Page 17: A few stories on the international page. First, coverage of the attack on the Karachi stock exchange, with the report saying that the BLA claimed the attack. Second, a piece carrying Vladimir Putin’s comments saying that governments must work to combat the epidemic, not quibble about the “origin of the virus. Putin emphasized that there is no evidence that the new coronavirus originated from artificial manufacturing.” Finally, the lead story on the page is about US-Russia arms control talks. It says that New START talks are unlikely to come to yield a treaty. “Due to the indifference of the United States, the prospect of a treaty extension is not optimistic. Once the treaty becomes invalid, it will trigger the US-Russia arms race and will have a major negative impact on global strategic stability.”