China news to 7 October including CCP increases control over companies in China, Sun Zhengcai expelled from party, pollution targets and modernising the legal system.
Communist party asserts control over China Inc (Financial Times, 3 October)
China’s Communist party is making clear that it expects to dictate business decisions — not only at state-owned enterprises, but also at private companies and joint ventures with foreign partners. Under President Xi Jinping, the party has become more assertive, reclaiming functions that the civil government and industrial groups carved out during decades of liberalisation. Beijing has largely abandoned a list of promised economic liberalisation issued four years ago, opting instead for greater control by the party and state over the economy and civil society.
Does China’s Xi Jinping plan to hang on to power? (SCMP, 6 October)
The leader of China’s Communist Party, Xi Jinping, will begin a second five-year term this month. Many observers say it’s unlikely to be his last. Ahead of the party’s national congress, due to start in Beijing on October 18, the ranks of potential successors have been thinning out. Former Chongqing party boss Sun Zhengcai, 54, who had been regarded as a rising star, was expelled from the party last Friday after being taken away for questioning by party anti-graft inspectors on July 14. If, after the congress, no putative heir is elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, it will be the clearest sign yet that Xi is eyeing a third term as the party boss, possibly as general secretary or under another title, that would start in 2022.
Sun Zhengcai expelled from party weeks before leadership reshuffle (SCMP, 29 September)
Former political star Sun Zhengcai has been expelled from China’s Communist Party and will face prosecution, state media reported on Friday – two months after his shock downfall and just weeks before a key five-yearly leadership reshuffle. Sun, once seen as a front runner for the highest reaches of political power, was dumped as the party boss of the megacity Chongqing in July and investigated by party graft-busters for “serious violations of party discipline”.
Xi tells party to keep innovating and contributing to Marxism (SCMP, 29 September)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the ruling Communist Party to continue innovating and developing Marxism as it prepares to enshrine his thoughts in the party’s charter next month. Speaking to dozens of party leaders at a study session on Friday, Xi said the country should make original contributions to Marxist theories based on its history and experience. “[We] must centre on what we are doing now, listen to the people, respond to real needs … combine the basic Marxist theories with China’s specific reality in a better way,” state-run Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
China says U.S. should respect concerns on Taiwan (Reuters, 30 September)
The United States must respect China’s concerns on Taiwan to avoid causing disturbances in Sino-U.S. ties, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday. China considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island’s main source of arms.
China and Britain
Chinese navy visits London in show of power and persuasion (Financial Times, 4 October)
Two Chinese warships visited London this week for the first time — and threw a party. Their air defence missiles, anti-submarine rockets and banks of radar may have looked menacing but this was hard power wrapped in cotton wool.
Life in China
China sees difficulty meeting 2017 air quality targets – minister (Reuters, 6 October)
China faces difficulties in meeting its smog-fighting target for 2017. “Currently the air pollution control work is challenging and complex,” Li Ganjie, minister of environmental protection, said during a tour earlier this week to Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, and Henan provinces, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website on Wednesday. “The completion of the annual targets for air quality control faces huge difficulties,” Li said.
See you in court (The Economist, 28 September)
In cases that do not touch on politics, justice is more forthcoming.
More so than his predecessors, Mr Xi has left no doubt that the law answers to the party, not the other way around. But within the parameters of the permissible, and mostly on matters to do with economic affairs, the government is trying to make the administration of justice more fair. It has introduced reforms to modernise the legal system and, in a limited number of areas, hold officials to account.
Chinese web users make light of Golden Week travel woes (BBC, 3 October)
China’s “Golden Week” national holiday is under way, and social media users are making light of travel problems that are dogging the annual getaway.
Social media are dominated by video and images of the congestion that is hampering travel to popular destinations such as Beijing.
Culture and history
Chinese Ru-ware bowl sets $38m auction record in Hong Kong (BBC, 3 October)
A 1,000-year-old bowl from China’s Song Dynasty has sold at auction in Hong Kong for almost US$38m (£28m) – a record for Chinese porcelain.
A snapshot of old Hong Kong (BBC video, 5 October)
Photos never published before offer a unique glimpse of life in Hong Kong in the 1950s. They show a city that was in much less of a hurry than it is today.