I have been following this two week meeting of the Chinese Communist Party to understand how decisions are made within the CCP.
President Xi may be very powerful in China, but he still needs to get the support of the party leaders, including the previous leaders who have retired from the government.
Some of the hard liners wanted China to take a harder stand against America. President Xi has to convince them to support his approach.
Read this report from South China Morning Post
After Communist Party summer retreat, Xi Jinping is sticking to his policies
President has held at least four high-level meetings since the Beidaihe session wrapped up, but analysts say there are no signs of any big changes
President Xi Jinping appears to have successfully rallied the party around him at the Beidaihe meetings.
The annual gathering allows the leaders to break from their day-to-day work and engage with each other in a relaxed, informal setting where they can socialise and have discussions.
It has taken on an almost mystic status in Chinese politics, known as the place where major decisions are made while the country’s two dozen most powerful people are on their summer break.
This year, amid an escalating trade war with the US, a slowing economy and growing discontent at home, some China watchers were expecting Xi would face more pressure to make changes.
“Some people are saying, we are getting ourselves into trouble because we have been too tough, or we have been overly ambitious, we have become too impatient in showing that we are strong enough to resist US pressure,” said Wang Zhengxu, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo.
But Wang and others agreed that signals coming out of China after the Beidaihe retreat showed that Xi had things tightly under his control.
This is what happened in Beidaihe.
First, the president called a meeting with the country’s top generals and demanded that the military show absolute loyalty to the party. He also vowed to deepen the anti-corruption campaign to clean up the world’s largest fighting force.
Two days later, Xi chaired a five-yearly propaganda and ideological work conference. Speaking to top officials, media chiefs and editors, the president called on them to close ranks around the “party core” and unify minds.
He followed this with another key meeting on law and order, asking officials to deepen reforms and safeguard the constitution. That call came after major constitutional revisions were made in March, including the controversial move to scrap presidential term limits.
Xi chaired a meeting on his signature “Belt and Road Initiative” at which he defended the trade and infrastructure strategy against criticism from Western countries.
Amid this flurry of activity, there have been subtle changes indicating a softer tone, but there has been no sign of any fundamental change to Xi’s key policies.
Analysts said it showed that Xi had successfully rallied the party around him at the Beidaihe meetings.
“So far, it hasn’t gotten out of control. After Beidaihe, [Xi] needs to continue to signal that things are still in order – that I am still in charge, and the direction the party points to is still the right direction,” Wang said.
While the trade war has given his critics more leeway to articulate their concerns, Xi remains the most powerful leader in China for decades, and any political dissent is too weak to substantially change the policy direction, said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London.
“When things get tough, some noises will be made, but it doesn’t change the basic equation of the power balance,” he said. “Xi is still very, very powerful. What I think we may be seeing is that because these kinds of noises are now being heard – and much sooner I think than Xi was expecting – he will probably do even more to tighten up his power.”
After Tsinghua University law professor Xu Zhangrun criticised Xi’s administration in a widely circulated article, Beijing rolled out an extensive campaign to promote a “patriotic striving spirit” among Chinese intellectuals.
Meanwhile, the latest commentary from party mouthpiece People’s Daily on Wednesday said Xi “profoundly analysed the domestic and international situation” and had taken the right steps to safeguard the country’s security during a “critical period in China’s national rejuvenation
Analysts say Xi’s rhetoric appears to be an effort to play down China’s technological advances – given US fears that Chinese industrial policies will allow it to overtake America – as well as the belt and road plan amid “debt trap diplomacy” fears, particularly after the Malaysian government suspended two key projects.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is an economic cooperation initiative, not a geopolitical or military alliance,” Xi was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua. “It is an open and inclusive process, and not about creating exclusive circles or a China club.”
But while Beijing has sought to allay suspicions about the belt and road plan, even softening its outward posture on the strategy, observers say it is unlikely the government will make any substantial policy changes to Xi’s pet project – or to China’s approach to the trade war with the US.
In fact, his recent speeches “indicate that he’s not satisfied with progress and wants tighter party control and better management of propaganda, the military, the legal system, and the belt and road”, said Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for the International Crisis Group.
Zhang Baohui, a political science professor from Lingnan University in Hong Kong, also said there had been no major changes.
“People who were expecting policy adjustments were proven to be wrong,” Zhang said. “Xi cannot afford to admit mistakes in his policies – that would further embolden his critics.”
The education minister said that the government spends $238 million a year on scholarship and tuition grants for international students. This is only a small part of the $13 billion that the government spends on education, of which a large part is spent on educating local students.
Some Singaporeans are unhappy that they or their parents have to take up study loans while the government funds international students. Furthermore, the places taken up by the international students could have been given to local students who otherwise have to go to overseas universities to pursue their university degree at high cost.
Vote on these issues: 1. Did the govt dealt with the Hyflux problem correctly? 2. Who should be given a place in the university? 3. Should university places be reserved exclusively for local students? 4. Who manipulates the currency of a country?
Many organizations provide bad customer service, as follows:
a) They take a long time to respond to customers b) They make it difficult for customers to contact them by e-mail. The customers have to use their call centers, which is very difficult to get through to talk to a person. c) They refuse to call customers by telephone
What can we do to improve customer service? Let me share my suggestion.
Wisdom of the Crowd: 50% of the participants in this survey said that the UK will leave the European Union without any deal. 46% said that there will be some deal. 4% expect a second referendum to be called.
My friend introduced me to an water ionizer which produces alkaline water. He found that it encouraged him to drink more water. There was a study in Japan that showed people who drink alkaline water had longer lifespan.
I bought the ionizer and found that the water does taste different, and I ended up drinking water more regularly. However, I am not able to determine if it improved my health condition.
I have been taking some non steroid anti inflammatory drug for occasional pain in the foot. My doctor advised that I have to take the drug after food or to accompany it with another drug that "protect the stomach". It seemed that the NSAID drug produced acid that can harm the stomach lining.
If body acid is the cause of damage to the stomach lining, would alkaline water help to prevent it?
My common sense suggest that it should.
I searched Google for information on "will alkaline water help to counteract body acid"?
It mentioned an opinion from a doctor that it should be helpful, although it does not solve the underlying problem of the cause of body acid.
I wonder about this advice. Surely, most drugs are intended to address the immediate symptoms and do not solve the underlying cause? The NSAID remove the pain but does not stop its recurrence.
However, there is a mention about the lack of medical evidence on the benefit of alkaline water. Furthermore, alkaline water is not regulated by the Food and Drug Authority of America.
Why is the FDA not interested in researching alkaline water? Perhaps, the patent for the production of alkaline water is held in Japan. Furthermore, the American drug companies are probably more interested in selling their drugs to counteract body acid.
I wonder if there is commercial interest in guiding the work of the FDA. I suspect that this is the main reason.
I am pessimistic about the new PSLE scoring system that is being introduced by the education minister. It will not solve the underlying problem about reducing the stress and competition in education. It will create more confusion and uncertainty.
What can be done to deal with the underlying problem?
Wisdom of the Crowd - 41% of the participants in this survey said that we have a dysfunctional job market when asked why are 60,000 jobs not taken up by locals. 27% said that employers prefer foreign workers.