Archive for ‘party chief’

19/04/2019

Xi Focus: Xi delivers resolve, confidence at “critical stage” of poverty alleviation

CHINA-CHONGQING-XI JINPING-INSPECTION-SYMPOSIUM (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, talks with villagers, primary-level officials, cadres in charge of poverty alleviation work and village doctors in Huaxi Village of Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County, southwest China’s Chongqing, April 15, 2019. From April 15 to 17, Xi made an inspection tour to Chongqing. He also presided over and delivered a speech at a symposium to address the problems concerning the basic living needs of rural poor populations and their access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

CHONGQING, April 18 (Xinhua) — Eliminating absolute poverty in China has been an aspiration of the Communist Party of China (CPC) throughout its 98-year history and a goal for the 70-year-old People’s Republic of China and the 40 years of reform and opening-up.

It is a major concern for Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. During an inspection tour to southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality from Monday to Wednesday, he pledged to address this issue like “a hammer driving a nail.”

Since the 18th CPC National Congress held in late 2012, China has made incredible progress in fighting poverty. The number of rural residents living below the current poverty line has been reduced from 98.99 million in 2012 to 16.6 million in 2018.

“The battle against poverty has entered a decisive and critical stage. We must press ahead with our full strength and strongest resolve and never stop until securing a complete victory,” he said.

CONFIDENCE

When Xi walked into the home of Ma Peiqing, a resident of Huaxi Village, located deep in the mountains of Chongqing, it was around 6 p.m. Monday.

After flying from Beijing in the morning to Chongqing, he spent another three hours, first by train and then by road, to reach Huaxi Village, home to 85 households and 302 villagers who were registered as living below the current poverty line. Today, only eight households and 19 villagers remain on the list.

Huaxi Village is a typical case of China’s impoverished regions. The basic needs for food and clothing have been met, but more efforts are needed for compulsory education, basic medical care and safe housing.

“I was diagnosed with nasopharynx cancer in 2017,” said Zhang Jianfeng, an impoverished villager. “About 80,000 yuan (11,900 U.S. dollars) of my medical expenses were reimbursed by medical insurance. It was indeed a timely help.”

“After visiting the village, I feel reassured,” said Xi. “We may have about 6 million impoverished people and 60 impoverished counties left at the beginning of 2020. If we make sure this year’s work is well-implemented and push ahead next year, we will eliminate poverty.”

“We are confident about accomplishing the mission,” he added.

NO LAXITY

“Less than two years are left before fulfilling the objective of poverty alleviation. This year is particularly crucial,” Xi said at a symposium held Tuesday afternoon in Chongqing. “The most important thing at this stage is to prevent laxity and backsliding.”

Xi stressed that people need to be aware of the difficulties and problems and clearly define priorities.

What needs to be solved and can be solved must be tackled urgently, he said, adding that as for the long-term problems, plans should be made and solutions developed step by step.

Of the country’s 832 poverty-stricken counties, 153 have been removed from the state list while another 284 are under assessment.

“To get rid of poverty, we must consider both quantity and quality. We must strictly enforce the standards and procedures for evaluating whether people are poor or not, so as to ensure that genuinely poor people really get rid of poverty.”

SOLIDARITY

Tan Xuefeng, Party chief of the Zhongyi Township, shared with Xi his seven-year experience in the forefront of the fight against poverty.

“Last year, my colleagues and I only took three full weekends off, spending the rest on household surveys and implementing the policies,” said Tan.

Throughout the years, more than three million officials from governments above the county level, state-owned enterprises and public institutions have stayed in impoverished villages to offer assistance.

Reaffirming the Party’s commitment to poverty reduction, Xi said that no one should be left behind as the country marches toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and the assistance must be offered to everyone in need because “that makes a Communist party.”

Source: Xinhua

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06/03/2019

‘War’ and India PM Modi’s muscular strongman image

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) "Sankalp" rally in Patna in the Indian eastern state of Bihar on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, American political journalist Michael Kinsley said.

Last week, a prominent leader of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have done exactly that. BS Yeddyurappa said the armed aerial hostilities between India and Pakistan would help his party win some two dozen seats in the upcoming general election.

The remark by Mr Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, was remarkable in its candour. Not surprisingly, it was immediately seized upon by opposition parties. They said it was a brazen admission of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was mining the tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals ahead of general elections, which are barely a month away. Mr Modi’s party is looking at a second term in power.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s plain-spokenness appeared to have embarrassed even the BJP. Federal minister VK Singh issued a statement, saying the government’s decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan last week was to “safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few seats”. No political party can afford to concede that it was exploiting a near war for electoral gains.

A billboard displaying an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a rifle is seen on a roadside in Ahmedabad on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe BJP has put up election posters of Mr Modi posing with guns

Even as tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up last week, Mr Modi went on with business as usual. Hours after the Indian attack in Pakistan’s Balakot region, he told a packed election meeting that the country was in safe hands and would “no longer be helpless in the face of terror”. Next morning, Pakistan retaliated and captured an Indian pilot who ejected from a downed fighter jet. Two days later, Pakistan returned the pilot to India.

Mr Modi then told a gathering of scientists that India’s aerial strikes were merely a “pilot project” and hinted there was more to come. Elsewhere, his party chief Amit Shah said India had killed more than 250 militants in the Balakot attack even as senior defence officials said they didn’t know how many had died. Gaudy BJP posters showing Mr Modi holding guns and flanked by soldiers, fighter jets and orange explosions have been put up in parts of the country. “Really uncomfortable with pictures of soldiers on election posters and podiums. This should be banned. Surely the uniform is sullied by vote gathering in its name,” tweeted Barkha Dutt, an Indian television journalist and author.

Mr Modi has appealed to the opposition to refrain from politicising the hostilities. The opposition parties are peeved because they believe Mr Modi has not kept his word. Last week, they issued a statement saying “national security must transcend narrow political considerations”.

‘Petty political gain’

But can the recent conflict fetch more votes for Mr Modi? In other words, can national security become a campaign plank?

Many believe Mr Modi is likely to make national security the pivot of his campaign. Before last month’s suicide attack – claimed by Pakistan-based militants – killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, Mr Modi was looking a little vulnerable. His party had lost three state elections on the trot to the Congress party. Looming farm and jobs crises were threatening to hurt the BJP’s prospects.

Now, many believe, Mr Modi’s chances look brighter as he positions himself as a “muscular” protector of the country’s borders. “This is one of the worst attempts to use war to win [an] election, and to use national security as petty political gain. But I don’t know whether it will succeed or not,” says Yogendra Yadav, a politician and psephologist.

Indian people feed sweets to a poster of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they celebrate the Indian Air Force"s air strike across the Line of Control (LoC) near the international border with PakistanImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMany Indians have celebrated India’s strike in Pakistani territory

Evidence is mixed on whether national security helps ruling parties win elections in India. Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of political science at Brown University in the US, says previous national security disruptions in India were “distant from the national elections”.

The wars in 1962 (against China) and 1971 (against Pakistan) broke out after general elections. Elections were still two years away when India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965. The 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that brought the two countries to the brink of war happened two years after a general election. The Mumbai attacks in 2008 took place five months before the elections in 2009 – and the then ruling Congress party won without making national security a campaign plank.

Things may be different this time. Professor Varshney says the suicide attack in Kashmir on 14 February and last week’s hostilities are “more electorally significant than the earlier security episodes”.

For one, he says, it comes just weeks ahead of a general election in a highly polarised country. The vast expansion of the urban middle class means that national security has a larger constituency. And most importantly, according to Dr Varshney, “the nature of the regime in Delhi” is an important variable. “Hindu nationalists have always been tougher on national security than the Congress. And with rare exceptions, national security does not dominate the horizons of regional parties, governed as they are by caste and regional identities.”

Presentational grey line

Read more from Soutik Biswas

Presentational grey line

Bhanu Joshi, a political scientist also at Brown University, believes Mr Modi’s adoption of a muscular and robust foreign policy and his frequent international trips to meet foreign leaders may have touched a chord with a section of voters. “During my work in northern India, people would continuously invoke the improvement in India’s stature in the international arena. These perceptions get reinforced with an event like [the] Balakot strikes and form impressions which I think voters, particularly on a bipolar contest of India and Pakistan, care about,” says Mr Joshi.

Others like Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, echo a similar sentiment. He told me that although foreign policy has never been a “mass” issue in India’s domestic politics, “given the proximity of the conflict to the elections, the salience of Pakistan, and the ability of the Modi government to claim credit for striking back hard, I expect it will become an important part of the campaign”.

But Dr Vaishnav believes it will not displace the economy and farm distress as an issue, especially in village communities. “Where it will help the BJP most is among swing voters, especially in urban constituencies. If there were fence-sitters unsure of how to vote in 2019, this emotive issue might compel them to stick with the incumbent.”

How the opposition counters Mr Modi’s agenda-setting on national security will be interesting to watch. Even if the hostilities end up giving a slight bump to BJP prospects in the crucial bellwether states in the north, it could help take the party over the winning line. But then even a week is a long time in politics.

Source: The BBC

12/02/2019

Next stop Xinjiang for one of China’s rising political stars Wang Junzheng

  • Trusted senior cadre tipped for leadership role in implementing Beijing’s ‘stabilising measures’ in the Uygur region
  • His career so far has been a fast track of rotation and promotion
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:53pm

Beijing has sent a trusted senior cadre – with a track record of versatility and economic development – to join the highest decision-making body of China’s highly sensitive Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Wang Junzheng, 56, has been appointed to Xinjiang’s 14-member Communist Party standing committee, according to an official statement on Monday. His new role was not specified in the two-paragraph announcement.

 

Analysts said he was expected to assume a leadership role in the party’s regional political and legal affairs commission – a critical body in the implementation of China’s “stabilising measures” in Xinjiang, which include the controversial “re-education camps” where up to 1 million people from the Muslim ethnic minority group are reportedly being held.

In a move that may have paved the way for such a role for Wang, the incumbent head of Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission – Zhu Hailun, 61 – was elected deputy head of Xinjiang’s People’s Congress in January. It is standard practice in China for deputy provincial level cadres to step down and take up such positions on reaching 60.

Dr Alfred Wu, an associate professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said that while there were other vacancies in both Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission and its united front work department, Wong’s legal experience made it likely he would take up the role vacated by Zhu.

A source familiar with Wang told the South China Morning Post he was among a group of cadres who had won the trust of President Xi Jinping.

Wang’s career has been on a fast track of rotation and promotion. He reached vice-provincial level when he was only 49 and, five years later, became an alternate member of the Central Committee – the party’s highest organ of power – at the 19th party congress in October 2017.

He moves to Xinjiang from the northeastern province of Jilin, where he was a member of the provincial party standing committee and party chief of Changchun, the provincial capital.

It was not all smooth sailing for Wang in Jilin, where his career was tainted by last year’s Changchun Changsheng vaccine scandal.

National outrage followed the revelation that one of China’s biggest vaccine makers, Changsheng Bio-tech, had systematically forged data in its production of rabies vaccines and had sold ineffective vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus that were given to hundreds of thousands of babies – some as young as three months old.

Heads rolled. Sackings included Jilin vice-governor Jin Yuhui, who had overseen food and drug regulation; Li Jinxiu, a former Jilin food and drug chief; Changchun mayor Liu Changlong; and Bi Jingquan, deputy director of the State Market Regulatory Administration in Beijing.

In a farewell speech published in People’s Daily on Monday, Wang apparently made a veiled reference to the scandal and admitted some shortcomings.

“Because of my constraints, I could have done better on some issues … and have failed to meet the expectations of the Party and people,” he said.

Alfred Wu said the Xinjiang posting showed Wang’s career had not been tainted by the Changchun vaccine scandal.

“Going to Xinjiang is both an opportunity and a challenge for Wang. If he can prove himself in stabilising Xinjiang, he will go further [in his career],” Wu said.

Xinjiang is Wang’s fourth provincial posting. He began his political career in Yunnan, southwestern China, where he spent nearly two decades working with many ethnic minority groups.

He was the legal chief of Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, from 1988 to 2000 and also served as vice-president of the Yunnan Higher People’s Court from 2005 to 2007.

In 2009 Wang became party chief of Lijiang, a tourist city in Yunnan where the economy thrived under his watch.

“More importantly, he struck a balance between tourism development and environmental conservation and was noticed by the leadership,” a source said.

Wang left Yunnan in 2012 when he was promoted to provincial vice-governor of Hubei in central China. He later became party chief of the city of Xiangyang in Hubei province and was promoted to provincial party standing committee member in 2013.

After three years in Hubei, Wang headed north to Jilin, becoming Changchun party chief in January 2016.

Wang was born in the eastern province of Shandong. He graduated from Shandong University with a bachelor’s degree in socialism studies and a master’s in the same subject from Renmin University in Beijing in the 1980s. He attained his doctorate in management from Tsinghua University in 2006.

Source: SCMP

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