Beijing is on high alert for epidemic prevention
Just after the Beijing Winter Olympics ended, Beijing authorities suddenly announced four new confirmed cases of the CCP virus. As the time of the CCP’s “two sessions” is approaching, Beijing’s epidemic prevention has once again entered high alert.
Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper reported on February 22 that the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee will hold its monthly plenary meeting this week. The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference will open on March 4. Xi Jinping and other seven members of the Standing Committee and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan will attend. They are also expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Paralympics that night. On March 5, the National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China will open. All eight people including Xi Jinping will attend, and Li Keqiang will read the government work report. The two days of the 4th and 5th will constitute a major test of the epidemic prevention measures.
Ming Pao reported that this year’s “two sessions” are the last annual meeting of the CCP’s CPPCC, but it coincides with the eve of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Although there is no important agenda, it is “safety first” and there is no “slight difference”.
Several CCP officials may be absent
Hong Kong media reported that this year’s “two sessions” have not yet opened, and some officials have already asked for leave to be absent. Tung Chee-hwa, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from Hong Kong, has announced through public relations that he is currently recuperating at home and is not expected to go to Beijing to attend the “two sessions” next month. In addition, Tang Yingnian, the former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, who is a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, will also be absent from this year’s “two sessions” due to the diagnosis of his personal driver and his secretary’s family.
Hu Dingxu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was absent from the two sessions because he stayed in Hong Kong to fight the epidemic.
Li Zeju, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Group, is also rumored to be absent from the two sessions of the Chinese Communist Party on the grounds of the epidemic.
According to Hong Kong media reports, members of the Standing Committee of the Hong Kong Political Consultative Conference were originally scheduled to depart for Shenzhen today (February 22) for quarantine, but instead departed on Thursday (February 24) with other members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and representatives of the Hong Kong People’s Congress.
Yang Chuantang, an official from mainland China and the vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, who is under 68, may be absent from the two sessions this year.
Yang was a political star in the era of Hu Jintao. He was parachuted into Tibet from Shandong at the age of 40 as deputy secretary of the party committee and vice-chairman of the district government. At the age of 49, he was appointed governor of Qinghai. He fell ill and left office and returned to Beijing for treatment. In 2018, Yang Chuantang was appointed as the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, ranking among the vice-national ranks. However, since July 2021, Yang has not appeared in public and has been absent from all subsequent chairman meetings. It is quite doubtful whether he can attend the “two sessions” at the beginning of next month.
It remains to be seen whether senior officials such as Wang Zhengwei, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Bu Xiaolin, former chairman of the Inner Mongolian government, Chen Jining, the mayor of Beijing, and Yuan Shuhong, former secretary of the Party group of the Ministry of Justice, will appear at the two sessions. At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China in November last year, these people were absent from the meeting for unknown reasons.
Outside analysts pointed out that although there are no important personnel arrangements for the two sessions of the Communist Party of China, this year coincides with the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Xi Jinping is busy with personnel positions. Some high-level personnel arrangements that have been decided before the meeting are expected to be revealed during this meeting.
Although the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is the “top priority” of the CCP this year, the two sessions of the CCP, which are about to open, face the challenge of a domestic economic recession.
The Chinese Communist Party’s official media “Chinanews.com” reported on February 22 that under the triple pressure of “shrinking demand, supply shocks, and weakening expectations”, the situation facing China‘s economy has become more severe and complex.
Reuters reported that on the eve of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, “stability” was not only an economic issue, but also a political issue. Under the “triple pressure”, China‘s economy is expected to officially open the “five eras” in 2022.
The CCP’s official media acknowledged that due to the weakening of the base effect and other reasons, in the 2022 local government work report, all provinces generally lowered their GDP growth rate expectations, and all regions took “steady words as the top priority and steady progress” as the general keynote for this year.
Investment and consumption in the “troika” of China‘s economy have almost stalled. According to a Citi report, the CCP will increase the amount of local debt in order to boost infrastructure investment. The amount of new special debt may be raised to 38,000 yuan from 3.65 trillion yuan last year. billion.
The CCP’s local debt has always been concerned, and it is more likely to become one of the focus issues of the CCP’s “two sessions”.
According to a report by Bloomberg on February 21, according to an analysis of budget reports released by China‘s 30 provinces, some localities expect general revenue this year to fall short of the projected national economic growth target of at least 5 percent. In addition, a downturn in the housing market is likely to continue to affect land sales revenue in most regions, with the wealthiest provinces being hit the hardest.
Deteriorating fiscal conditions, which will make it difficult for provinces to pay for infrastructure spending, fuel economic growth and be forced to borrow to fund new construction projects, will also push up debt levels, the report said. In the released budget report, 28 provinces expect fiscal revenue growth this year to be slower than in 2021, and 15 of them predict general fiscal revenue growth will be half or even slower than last year, including Beijing, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Chongqing and other key areas.
The downturn in China‘s real estate in 2021 will have an impact on land demand, and in 2021, many provincial government capital revenue will be greatly reduced. About 90 percent of provincial finances depend on land sales, and Bloomberg estimates that 17 provinces are expected to see a drop in revenue this year. Sichuan province is expected to drop by 50%, Jiangxi is expected to drop by nearly 37%, while wealthier regions such as Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu are expected to drop by at least 18%.
In addition, after the financial bankruptcy of Hegang, where the “cabbage price” appeared in housing prices, the “cabbage price” is spreading to the most economically developed and wealthy cities in the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta.
According to the judgment of Dr. Cheng Xiaonong, a well-known economist living in the United States, China‘s economy is collapsing. Although China‘s economy is relatively large, this collapse will continue for a long time.
The British BBC reported that at a time when the confrontation between the United States and China over issues such as trade, human rights, and technology has intensified, the American political circles have made different interpretations of Nixon’s visit to China to improve relations with China. Some people believe that the old mode of dealing with China May be out of date.
Dr Renhua Zhou of the Nanjing University-Johns Hopkins Centre for Sino-American Cultural Studies told the BBC: “China has benefited enormously from the global economy, and while it has benefited from the rules and institutions of the liberal world order, it has chosen to challenge the This order, at the same time, has become less liberal and open. It’s a simplistic depiction of reality, but it’s a view that is prevailing in Washington, especially among Republicans. So far, the Biden administration has not changed these View.”
Zhou Renhua believes that the current Sino-US conflict will continue for the foreseeable future. “It’s hard to imagine that every thorny bilateral issue, trade, regional security, cybersecurity, technological competition, human rights, etc., can be resolved, although they may be manageable,” he said. “Maybe when the time comes, the leaders of the two countries will see A window of opportunity and will act like Nixon and Kissinger did 50 years ago.”
However, Professor Xu Guoqi of the University of Hong Kong believes that, from the perspective of civil interaction, the relationship between China and the United States is now closer than that with Russia.
FARAH STOCKMAN, a senior media person and Pulitzer Prize winner, wrote an article in the New York Times on February 22 under the title “Today’s Sino-Russian Friendship is What Nixon Worried About”. According to Adrian Geiges, co-author of Xi Jinping: The Most Powerful Man in the World, “Russia and China are not natural partners. They are partners because they have something in common. Enemies – America and Western Europe.”
In the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine, it is too early to say how much risk China will take for Russia. At the same time, President Biden of the United States has united Europe, Australia and Japan under the banner of confronting authoritarianism and allowing democracy to blossom globally. For Xi, this is a troublesome question.