Posts tagged ‘Politburo’

14/12/2014

China to place permanent anti-graft teams in major departments | Reuters

The corruption watchdog of China’s ruling Communist Party will establish permanent offices in some of the country’s most important party and government departments, state media said on Friday, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft.

Teams will be based in the cabinet office and parliament, as well as the party’s powerful organization department, which oversees personnel decisions, propaganda department and United Front Work Department, which deals with non-Communists, the official Xinhua news agency said.

While numerous corruption inspection teams have fanned out across the country in recent months, this is the first time such offices have been placed in crucial arms of the government, and paves the way for similar permanent offices.

via China to place permanent anti-graft teams in major departments | Reuters.

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21/10/2014

China’s reform tally since November 2013 policy meeting | Reuters

China’s leadership unveiled a blueprint for some of the most comprehensive economic and social reforms in nearly 30 years in November 2013.

Implementation since then has been slow but steady. China has eschewed riskier, game-changing reform but the incremental steps aim to reach enough critical mass to sustain momentum and help the world’s second-largest economy shift down fairly smoothly after decades of investment-fueled growth.

The following are some of the significant steps taken since the Communist Party Central Committee’s Nov 9-12 policy conclave:

OCTOBER, 2014

Oct 16 – The top economic planner is considering tightening rules for bond issues, according to traders and a leaked document.

Oct 11 – The State Council says it will institute a resource tax on coal while eliminating other taxes to simplify the tax structure.

Oct 9 – China levies tariffs on coal imports in a move to reduce the country’s dependence on the polluting energy source.

SEPTEMBER, 2014

Sept 9 – Domestic firms in many areas no longer require government approval to invest overseas but must register their investments with authorities starting Oct 6.

Sept 1 – The budget law is revised to allow local governments to issue bonds directly.

AUGUST, 2014

Aug 29 – The Politburo approves salary cuts for top officials at big state-owned firms to counter graft and income inequality.

Aug 26 – China cuts on-grid prices of thermal electricity from Sept. 1 to reflect a fall in coal prices.

Aug 20 – The government cuts taxes on high-tech companies, abolishes the need for firms to seek approvals in 68 further areas and additionally allows lower levels of government to approve business projects in 19 other areas.

Aug 15 – China eliminates 21 approval processes for a list of industries and lower levels of government are given the right to approve certain projects in an effort to cut red tape.

Aug 12 – China will raise natural gas prices for bulk buyers and non-residential use from Sept. 1 in an effort to reform pricing.

Aug 4 – Foreign firms in China are allowed to use their registered capital to buy stakes in other Chinese companies.

JULY, 2014

July 15 – The state-owned enterprise regulator chooses six state firms to test out reforms expanding the role of private capital in China’s state sector.

July 14 – China loosens currency controls to make it easier for domestic companies and individuals to set up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for investments overseas.

July 2 – Banks are allowed to set their own exchange rates for the yuan against the dollar in over-the-counter deals with clients.

JUNE, 2014

June 27 – Regulators lower the threshold for banks to enter the foreign exchange market and removes a layer of approvals.

June 25 – China gives the greenlight to three banks wholly funded with capital from private firms, to be the country’s first private lenders.

MAY, 2014

May 21 – The experiment for China’s first municipal bond market is launched.

May 21 – Private firms are invited to invest in 80 major projects in the energy, information and infrastructure sectors.

May 16 – Financial regulators tighten oversight of interbank loans.

May 16 – China sets up international energy trading center where crude oil futures will be traded for the first time.

May 15 – Securities firms get the go-ahead to expand into new businesses such as the online financial services market.

May 6 – State-owned enterprises to increase dividend payouts by 5 percentage points to up to 25 percent of their profits.

APRIL, 2014

April 23 – Premier Li Keqiang says China will allow private investment in 80 projects in energy, information and infrastructure.

April 22 – Changes to the environmental law seeking stiffer penalties for polluters submitted to parliament.

April 11 – Chinese firms can invest up to $1 billion overseas without seeking approval, China’s top planner says.

April 10 – China allows cross-border stock investment between Shanghai and Hong Kong.

April 9 – The government relaxes price controls over non-public hospital services.

April 2 – The government says will fast-track some spending and cut taxes for small firms, as a way of supporting the weakening economy.

MARCH, 2014

March 31 – Britain and China sign an agreement to set up a clearing service for offshore yuan trading in London. That follows a similar agreement with Germany.

March 24 – China simplifies review procedures for mergers and acquisitions.

March 21 – The securities regulator issues rules for a pilot program allowing listed companies to issue preferred shares.

March 20 – The foreign exchange regulator relaxes curbs on foreign investment in China’s stock market.

March 20 – PetroChina, China’s biggest oil and gas producer, is welcoming private investment into oil and gas pipelines in China, according to chairman Zhou Jiping.

March 20 – China lifts ban on equity financing for listed property developers after four years.

March 16 – China sets 2020 targets for urban population growth and registered urban residents.

March 15 – The central bank doubles the yuan currency’s daily trading band against the dollar.

March 11 – Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan says China’s deposit rates should be liberalized in one to two years.

March 11 – Development of 3-5 privately-owned banks to be tested in Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong, bank regulator says.

March 11 – The cabinet outlines its healthcare reform plan.

March 7 – Loss-making solar equipment maker misses interest payment in China’s first domestic bond default.

March 5 – Premier Li Keqiang promises to wage a “war” on pollution and reduce the pace of investment to a decade-low.

March 1 -Simplified corporate capital registration comes into force. Government data later show 309,500 new firms were registered in March, up 46 percent from a year earlier.

FEBRUARY, 2014

Feb 26 – Beijing details pension reform that seeks to decrease urban-rural economic divisions before 2020.

Feb 21 – The central bank gives operational details for cross-border yuan deals made through Shanghai free trade zone.

Feb 20 – Sinopec Corp, Asia’s largest oil refiner, says it will sell up to 30 percent of its retail business to private investors in a multi-billion dollar revamp.

JANUARY, 2014

Jan 29 – The cabinet sets up a cross-ministry group to boost development of three service zones in Guangdong province.

Jan 22 – Six teams to supervise economic reforms are set up, with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in charge.

Jan 17 – China’s wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang became the first to implement changes to the one-child policy.

Jan 6 – The cabinet publishes guidelines strengthening regulation of off-balance lending.

DECEMBER, 2013

Dec 11 – Beijing strips 82 powers away from central government ministries. Over 200 administrative approvals are set to be abolished or delegated to local authorities in 2014.

Dec 10 – New standards on performance ratings of officials break the obsession with growth and include such criteria as work safety, innovation, environmental and resource costs.

Dec 8 – The central bank sets guidelines for issuing of interbank certificates of deposit, a step towards allowing markets to determine interest rates.

Dec 4 – The government expands its value-added tax trial to rail transport and the postal service.

Dec 4 – The central bank announces details of financial reform test runs in the Shanghai free trade zone.

NOVEMBER, 2013

Nov 30 – The stock market regulator announces IPO reforms.

Nov 12 – Anhui province, which spearheaded land reform in 1978 announces pilot land reforms, including accelerating the development of large-scale farming, completing land use rights registration before end-2015 and simplifying land transactions.

via Factbox: China’s reform tally since November 2013 policy meeting | Reuters.

30/06/2014

China’s Communist Party expels former military chief Xu Caihou in graft probe | South China Morning Post

A former top Chinese military figure was expelled from the Communist Party for suspected corruption and his case handed over to prosecutors for investigation, the Politburo announced after a meeting on Monday.

xucaihou-salute.jpg

The party also decided to expel three cadres closely connected to the nation’s former security tsar, Zhou Yongkang, over allegations of corruption and bribery, Xinhua reported.

A report on the investigation into Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, was presented at the Politburo meeting presided over by party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, Xinhua reported. The case was handed over to military prosecutors, it reported.

The 71-year-old Xu, who was until 2012 a member of the Politburo, would be the most senior military figure to go on trial for corruption.

“His case is serious and leaves a vile impact,” Xinhua cited a Politburo statement as saying.

The investigation into Xu, launched on March 15, found he had abused his power and received bribes “personally and through his family members” in exchange for granting promotions in the military.

Xu had also sought profits for other people in exchange for cash and properties, which were routed through his family members, Xinhua reported.

The South China Morning Post reported on March 20 that an escort of dozens of armed police had taken Xu from his bed at the 301 Military Hospital in Beijing.

via China’s Communist Party expels former military chief Xu Caihou in graft probe | South China Morning Post.

26/06/2013

Chinese Leader Xi Jinping’s Rare Scolding of Top Communist Party Leaders

WSJ: “After telling the lower ranks of the Communist Party to shape up and make a clean break from past practice, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has taken aim at a new target:  the Party leadership itself.

And he’s done so with authority and openness from the highest pulpit of politics in China–the Politburo, the very place where the senior leaders sit and make policy.

In a speech at the conclusion of a three-day special meeting that was covered across Party media and took up nearly half of the evening newscast on Tuesday evening, Xi proclaimed that senior members of the Party needed “to play an exemplary role,” and that they had to be “broad-minded enough to reject any selfishness…to adhere to self-respect, self-examination and self-admonition” in their work (in Chinese).

It’s extremely rare for Politburo proceedings to be spoken of in such detail and openness.  And it’s unprecedented in modern times for the Party boss to start taking swings at his colleagues at the top by so directly reminding them of their responsibilities—a move that suggests he might be planning something even stronger soon.

Having just admonished lower-level cadres in a salvo last week, some observers might think that Xi is simply putting on a show here. After all, it’s difficult to demand improvement in the work-styles of the rank and file without at least paying lip-service to the idea that those at the top could stand to do a little better themselves.

But the tone of Xi’s comments and the play they’ve received in the state media suggest this is far more than just rhetorical window dressing.  It wasn’t enough for high officials to “strictly abide by party discipline and act in strict accordance with policies and procedures,” Xi said. Those at the top must also “strictly manage their relatives and their staff and refrain from abuse of power.”

“The sole pursuit” of senior members of the Party, Xi insisted, should be tied to “the Party’s cause and interests” – in other words, “to seek benefits for the Chinese people as a whole.”

Whether it’s misuse of official license plates or the high-end looting of state assets (in Chinese), Xi knows that corruption is not always confined to lower-level cadres.

Xi was careful to concede that there have been some positive developments in the ways by which the Politburo and other Party bodies operate, such as “improvements in research and reporting.”  Meetings have been shortened and presentations streamlined, “enhancing the majority of party members’ and cadres’ sense of purpose, as well as the view of the masses” towards the Party leadership, he noted.

But it’s clearly morality at the top — not the way that decisions are made — that concerns Xi and his allies the most.   As Xi’s speech noted, “as long as Politburo comrades always and everywhere set an example, they can continue to call the shots, for that will have a strong demonstration effect, and the Party will be very powerful.”

via Chinese Leader Xi Jinping’s Rare Scolding of Top Communist Party Leaders – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

03/05/2013

* Xi Jinping’s vision: Chasing the Chinese dream

The Economist: “THESE have been heady days for Chen Sisi, star of a song-and-dance group run by China’s nuclear-missile corps. For weeks her ballad “Chinese dream” has been topping the folk-song charts. She has performed it on state television against video backdrops of bullet trains, jets taking off from China’s newly launched aircraft-carrier and bucolic scenery. More than 1.1m fans follow her microblog, where she tweets about the Chinese dream.

Ms Chen is playing her part in a barrage of dream-themed propaganda unleashed by the Communist Party. Schools have been organising Chinese-dream speaking competitions. Some have put up “dream walls” on which students can stick notes describing their visions of the future. Party officials have selected model dreamers to tour workplaces and inspire others with their achievements. Academics are being encouraged to offer “Chinese dream” research proposals. Newspapers refer to it more and more (see chart in full article). In December state media and government researchers, purportedly on the basis of studies of its usage, declared “dream” the Chinese character of the year for 2012.

It was, however, one very specific usage just before that December publication which set the country dreaming. On November 29th, two weeks after his appointment as the party’s general secretary and military commander-in-chief, Xi Jinping visited the grandiose National Museum next to Tiananmen Square. Flanked by six dour-looking, dark-clad colleagues from the Politburo’s standing committee, Mr Xi told a gaggle of press and museum workers that the “greatest Chinese dream” was the “great revival of the Chinese nation”.”

via Xi Jinping’s vision: Chasing the Chinese dream | The Economist.

20/01/2013

* In China, Discontent Among the Normally Faithful

NYT: “Barely two months into their jobs, the Communist Party’s new leaders are being confronted by the challenges posed by a constituency that has generally been one of the party’s most ardent supporters: the middle-class and well-off Chinese who have benefited from a three-decade economic boom.

A Jan. 9 demonstration in Guangzhou, where people protested the censorship of a paper known for investigative reporting.

A widening discontent was evident this month in the anticensorship street protests in the southern city of Guangzhou and in the online outrage that exploded over an extraordinary surge in air pollution in the north. Anger has also reached a boil over fears concerning hazardous tap water and over a factory spill of 39 tons of a toxic chemical in Shanxi Province that has led to panic in nearby cities.

For years, many China observers have asserted that the party’s authoritarian system endures because ordinary Chinese buy into a grand bargain: the party guarantees economic growth, and in exchange the people do not question the way the party rules. Now, many whose lives improved under the boom are reneging on their end of the deal, and in ways more vocal than ever before. Their ranks include billionaires and students, movie stars and homemakers.

Few are advocating an overthrow of the party. Many just want the system to provide a more secure life. But in doing so, they are demanding something that challenges the very nature of the party-controlled state: transparency.

More and more Chinese say they distrust the Wizard-of-Oz-style of control the Communist Party has exercised since it seized power in 1949, and they are asking their leaders to disseminate enough information so they can judge whether officials, who are widely believed to be corrupt, are doing their jobs properly. Without open information and discussion, they say, citizens cannot tell whether officials are delivering on basic needs.

“Chinese people want freedom of speech,” said Xiao Qinshan, 46, a man in a wheelchair at the Guangzhou protests.”

via In China, Discontent Among the Normally Faithful – NYTimes.com.

21/11/2012

* China’s commerce minister voted out in rare congress snub

Is this the start of something new and different – internal CPC democracy?  Time will tell.

Reuters: “China’s commerce minister was surprisingly blocked from a spot on the ruling Communist Party’s elite body during a conclave this week, sources said, a rare snub for an official that could raise questions about trade policies during his tenure.

China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming looks on during a news conference at the 8th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Geneva December 15, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The failure of Chen Deming to secure a seat on the 25-member Politburo marks one of the few surprises to emerge from the party’s five-yearly congress that wrapped this week with the anointing of a new slate of top leaders who will run the world’s second largest economy.

It is also the first time in more than two decades that an official designated for a Politburo spot has been voted out of the party’s 205-member Central Committee in elections. Central Committee membership is a prerequisite for a Politburo seat.

“Chen Deming was voted out during multi-candidate elections to the Central Committee,” one source told Reuters. State news agency Xinhua said there were eight percent more candidates than seats in a preliminary vote before the formal election on Wednesday.”

via China’s commerce minister voted out in rare congress snub: sources | Reuters.

09/11/2012

* Just one joke in 10 years, but Hu has the last laugh

Which world leader can look back at his/her past decade in power and point to the achievements that president Hu can?

Extract from The Times, London, 9 November, 2012 – http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article3594528.ece

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, delivers a keynote report during the opening ceremony of the 18th CPC National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 8, 2012. The 18th CPC National Congress opened in Beijing on Thursday. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

“China’s economy was the world’s sixth biggest when Hu Jintao took power. A decade later, it is second to the US and gaining.

Most Chinese could only dream of owning a house or a car when Mr Hu took over. In 2002, just 3.2 million vehicles were sold; the number reached 18.5 million last year. Traffic jams seem endless and 65,000 miles of road have been laid — up from just 20,000. China overtook the US as the world’s biggest auto market in 2009. Only 16 people out 100 owned a mobile phone in 2002; today 74 in 100 have one.

About 59 million Chinese used the internet in 2002. Last year, nearly 520 million surfed cyberspace. The censors are meticulous in weeding out conversations deemed to be subversive. Perhaps more surprising is that such open discussion is allowed at all. Incomes have nearly tripled.

He ensured his popularity among 800 million peasants — and possibly his place in history — by abolishing a 2,600-year-old agricultural tax levied by emperors on every farming family.He put a man in space, launched an aircraft carrier (Soviet-made, admittedly) and developed technology to shoot down a satellite.

Some 200 protests erupt daily and the gap between rich and poor has widened to threaten Mr Hu’s cherished stability. In one of his jails Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, serves 11 years. Mr Hu pledged to tackle corruption and arrested two Politburo members. An average of 94 officials are picked up every day for such offences. It’s a drop in the ocean of venality.

He once quipped: “A fall into the pit, a gain to your wit.” His rule was an odd mix of bold decisions and stasis.”

06/11/2012

* Understanding China’s 18th Communist Party Congress

Reuters: “China’s ruling Communist Party opens its 18th Congress on Thursday, a complicated political coronation that will install the country’s fifth generation of leaders.

Here is how the process works and some pointers to what is at stake in this congress.

AGENDA

– The five-yearly congress elects about 370 full and alternate members of the party’s elite Central Committee in a session lasting about one week, drawing from a pre-selected pool of candidates expected to be only slightly larger than 370.

– The new Central Committee’s first session, held the day after the congress ends, then selects some two dozen members of the decision-making Politburo, again drawing from a list of candidates already selected by the party’s leadership over months of political jockeying.

– The new Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top echelon of power which currently has nine members, will then be unveiled after the one-day Central Committee plenum ends. It is widely expected to be shrunk to seven, facilitating decision-making needed to push through key reforms.

– A series of other appointments will also be made over the congress period, and in some cases before it. These include provincial party chiefs and governors and heads of some state-owned enterprises.

– Vice President Xi Jinping is set to take over as party general secretary from President Hu Jintao at the end of the congress. Xi then takes over as head of state in March at the annual full meeting of parliament.

One uncertainty is whether Hu will also give up his job as military chief. His predecessor, Jiang Zemin, stayed on in that role for two years after stepping down as party chief.

POLICIES

– Hu will give a keynote report to the opening session of the congress, appraising the meeting of the party’s work over the past five years and mapping out challenges ahead for the next five years. Details of the speech remain a closely guarded secret ahead of time.

– The catchphrase in state media and among academics ahead of the congress has been “reform”. China experts say that unless the new leadership pushes through stalled reforms, the nation risks economic malaise, deepening unrest and ultimately even a crisis that could shake the party’s grip on power.

– Advocates of reform are pressing Xi to cut back the privileges of state-owned firms, make it easier for rural migrants to settle permanently in cities, fix a fiscal system that encourages local governments to live off land expropriations and, above all, tether the powers of a state that they say risks suffocating growth and fanning discontent.

– There may also perhaps be cautious efforts to answer calls for more political reforms, though nobody seriously expects a move towards full democracy.

The party may introduce experimental measures to broaden inner-party democracy – in other words, encouraging greater debate within the party – but stability remains a top concern and one-party rule will be safeguarded.”

via Factbox: Understanding China’s 18th Communist Party Congress | Reuters.

06/11/2012

* China leaders consider internal democratic reform

Even if it seems to be somewhat internal, such a move would be the first step towards openness and transparency.  And who knows where that might lead.

Reuters: “China’s outgoing leader and his likely successor are pushing the ruling Communist Party to adopt a more democratic process this month for choosing a new leadership, sources said, in an attempt to boost its flagging legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

A man walks past a logo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at a media center for the upcoming18th National Congress of the CPC, which starts Thursday, in Beijing November 5, 2012. REUTERS-Jason Lee

The extent of the reform would be unprecedented in communist China where elections for the highest tiers of the party, held every five years, have been mainly exercises in rubber-stamping candidates already agreed upon by party power-brokers.

The Communist Party, which has held unbroken power since 1949, is struggling to maintain its popular legitimacy in the face of rising inequality, corruption and environmental degradation, even as the economy continues to bound ahead.

President Hu Jintao and his heir, Xi Jinping, have proposed that the party’s 18th Congress, which opens on Thursday, should hold elections for the elite Politburo where for the first time there would be more candidates than available seats, said three sources with ties to the party leadership.

The Politburo, currently 24 members, is the second-highest level of power in China from which the highest decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, is chosen.

They are chosen by the roughly 200 full members of the Central Committee which is in turn chosen by the more than 2,000 delegates at this week’s Congress.

Under their proposal, there would be up to 20 percent more candidates than seats in the new Politburo in an election to be held next week, the sources said. It was unclear if competitive voting would also be extended to the Standing Committee.

“Hu wants expanding intra-party democracy to be one of his legacies,” one source said, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for discussing secretive elite politics.

“It would also be good for Xi’s image,” the source added.

Xi is considered certain to replace Hu as party chief at the congress, with Li Keqiang, currently a vice premier, tipped to become his deputy in the once-in-a-decade transition to a new administration. Xi would then take over as president, and Li as premier, at the annual full session of parliament in March.

China experts said a more competitive election for the Politburo would mark a historic reform that could lead to surprises in the formation of Xi’s administration, with wider implications for further political reform.

“This is a very, very important development,” said Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“It would provide a new source of legitimacy. It would not just be dark-box manipulation … The party’s legitimacy is so low that they must do something to uplift the public’s confidence.”

However, Li and other experts remained skeptical that the proposal would be adopted, given that it could still be vetoed by party elders or conservatives.

via Exclusive: China leaders consider internal democratic reform | Reuters.

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