Politburo meeting: April 29, 2022
中共中央政治局召开会议 分析研究当前经济形势和经济工作 审议《国家“十四五”期间人才发展规划》 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee convened a meeting. It analysed and studied the current economic situation and economic work, and it deliberated the National Talent Development Plan during the 14th Five-Year Period [2021-2025]. The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping, presided over the meeting.
This post is published in partnership with the Interpret: China project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Introduction and Translation by Adam Ni
The Politburo met on April 29 to discuss the economy and deliberate the National Talent Development Plan during the 14th Five-Year Period [2021-2025].
On the economy, the Politburo meeting stressed the increasing “complexity, severity, and uncertainty” facing China’s economic development environment due to a combination of factors, including COVID and the Ukraine crisis.
To tackle the economic challenges facing growth, employment, and prices, the Politburo has called for extensive macro and monetary policy to stabilise the economy. These measures include, for example, relief packages for sectors affected by COVID and tax rebates and tax cuts.
Indeed, China is encountering severe economic headwinds. April data (published on May 17) show China’s export and retail sales figures have plummeted amid draconian COVID measures and lockdowns.
On COVID measures, the Politburo meeting insisted the need to “persist in the dynamic zero policy” while “minimis[ing] the epidemic’s impact on socio-economic development”. Here lay a palpable contradiction: Beijing’s zero-COVID policy is itself the reason for much social and economic disruption.
The insistent on Zero-COVID was confirmed a week later (on May 5) with strong language from the Politburo Standing Committee meeting:
“[we must] not waver in adhering to the general policy of "dynamic zero" and resolutely struggle against any speech or actions that distort, doubt or refute China’s epidemic prevention policies.”
The focus of the Politburo meeting on April 29 and its Standing Committee meeting on May 5 underlines the tensions between the economy on the one hand and COVID measures on the other. While the former meeting stressed stabilising the economy, the latter stressed the need to adhere to Zero-COVID. Watching how Beijing balances the two in the coming month will give us insights into its priorities and internal Party dynamics. But in any case, there is little likelihood that Beijing will publicly abandon Zero-COVID even if it shifts quietly away from the stringent measures that have made it so unpopular with parts of the Chinese public.
In addition to the economy and COVID, the Politburo meeting also deliberated the National Talent Development Plan during the 14th Five-Year Period [2021-2025].
Last September, the Central Conference on Talent Work was held in Beijing (the one before that was held in May 2010). At the conference, Xi Jinping called for a redoubling of efforts to build up China’s talent to support its national ambitions in technology and science. He also set goals for talent work for 2025, 2030, and 2035:
“Our goals by 2025 are to significantly increase the investment into R&D expenditure across the entire society; make important progress in building [our] main force of scientific and technological innovation; significantly lift the [relative] concentration of top scientists [in China]; constantly improve the capability of talent self-cultivation, and possess a large cohort of strategic scientific and technological talents, leading talents and innovation teams in core technology fields.
Our goals by 2030 are to basically form a talent system adapted to high-quality development; significantly enhance the [China’s independent] capability of cultivating innovation talents; significantly increase the attractiveness [of China] to the world’s best talents; possess a cohort of pacesetters in major scientific and technological fields; and possess a cohort of pioneers in the cross-cutting areas of emerging [scientific and technological] frontiers.
Our aim by 2035 is for [China] to form comparative advantages in numerous fields of talent competition and make it to the forefront of the world in terms of national strategic power in science and technology and high-level talent pool.”
The Politburo meeting characterised the National Talent Development Plan as “the concrete measure implementing the spirit of the Central Conference on Talent Work”, and part of the effort to drive “talent-led development”.
The importance assigned to talent work by the Chinese leadership is clear, as Xi stated at the Central Conference on Talent Work:
“We are closer to the grand goal of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than at any other time in history, and [thus] we also crave talent more than any other time in history.
To achieve our goal, a high level of scientific and technological self-reliance and self-empowerment is the key. The competition in comprehensive national power is, in the final analysis, the competition for talent. Talent is an important indicator for measuring a country’s comprehensive national power.”
Xinhua (Beijing), April 29 — The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee (Politburo) convened a meeting on April 29. It analysed and studied the current economic situation and economic work, and it deliberated the National Talent Development Plan during the 14th Five-Year Period [2021-2025]. The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping, presided over the meeting.
The Politburo deems that since the start of this year, in the face of a complex situation resulting from the overlapping of epochal changes with the once-in-a-century pandemic, all localities and departments have effectively coordinated epidemic prevention and control with socio-economic development under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. In addition, China’s overall economic operation has achieved a smooth start [this year], and we successfully held the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, and the Winter Paralympic Games. These achievements were not easy to come by.
The Politburo pointed out that COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis had led to an increase in risks and challenges for China. The complexity, severity and uncertainty in ChiChina’sonomic development environment have risen; stable growth, stable employment and stable prices now face new challenges. It is crucial to effectively carry out economic work and practically protect and improve peopeople’svelihoods. We must firm our confidence, overcome difficulties, and ensure that the general policy of the Party Central Committee is implemented.
The Politburo stressed that the epidemic must be kept under control, the economy must be stabilised, and development must be safe. These are clear requirements of the Party Central Committee. According to the new features of virus mutation and spread, we must:
— coordinate epidemic prevention and control with socio-economic development efficiently;
— adhere unwaveringly to the principle of putting the people first and putting lives first;
— persist in preventing foreign importation and domestic resurgence of the COVID virus;
— persist in the dynamic zero policy;
— protect the peoplepeople’s and health to the maximum extent possible; and
— minimise the epidemepidemic’st on socio-economic development.
The Politburo put forward the following requirements:
— increase macro policy adjustments, firmly stabilise the economy, strive to realise the scheduled economic and social development goals for the year, and keep the economy operating within reasonable parameters;
— accelerate the implementation of policies already set, execute effectively policies such as tax rebates, tax cuts and fee reductions, and make good use of various monetary policy tools;
— rapidly devise policy tools that could be used to increase demand, increase the intensity of targeted interventions, and reach the appropriate preparedness and redundancy for goal-guided policies;
— make every effort to expand domestic demand, realise the key role of effective investment, strengthen safeguards such as on land use, energy use and environmental impact assessment, and strengthen basic infrastructure construction across the board;
— bring into play the driving role of consumption in economic cycles;
— stabilise market participants, and implement a package of relief and assistance policies targeted at sectors, micro, small and medium enterprises, and sole proprietors, that have been severely affected by the epidemic;
— effectively carry out the work of ensuring energy and resources supply and their price stability, and the spring ploughing and preparation work;
— effectively safeguard and improve people's people’sods, stabilise and expand employment, organise the supply of important livelihood commodities, ensure the core functions of urban centres are operational, stabilise and control the safety and production situation, and safeguard general social stability; and
— adhere to the one coordinated national strategy, ensure transportation and logistics are unobstructed, ensure the normal operations of priority industrial and supply chains, enterprises supplying and supporting the anti-epidemic effort, and key basic infrastructures.
The Politburo stressed the need to effectively control key risks and hold the bottom line, that is, ensure that there are no systemic risks. On housing, we must:
— adhere to the position that housing is for people to live in and not for speculation;
— support localities to improve their real estate policies on the basis of local realities;
— support the needs of inelastic housing demands and demands from those people upgrading from their existing properties;
— improve the supervision of commercial (residential) properties presale capital; and
— promote the stable and healthy development of the real estate market.
On investment, we must respond timely to the concerns of the market, steadily push forward stock issuance registration system reform, actively bring in long-term investors, and maintain the smooth operation of the capital market.
On the platform economy, we must facilitate its healthy development, complete the selected rectification projects, implement regular supervision, and introduce specific measures to support its regulated and healthy development.
The Politburo pointed out that we must persist in doing our own jobs well. We must:
— accelerate the construction of a new development paradigm;
— unswervingly deepen supply-side structural reform;
— use reform as a method to solve problems in development;
— accelerate the realisation of a high level of technological self-reliance; and
— build a strong and resilient national economic circulation system.
We must also persist in expanding a high level of openness to the outside world, actively respond to the appeals of foreign-funded enterprises doing business in China, including on the ease of doing business, and stabilise the fundamentals of foreign trade and investment.
The Politburo stressed that leading cadres at all levels must have a “never complacent”“sense of respons”bility, take charge, be practical and pragmatic, and prevent all kinds of "black swan" and “rey rhino"”event“. Party co”mittees and governments at all levels must unite and lead cadres and the masses to work together tenaciously and welcome the successful convening of the 20th Party National Congress with practical actions.
The Politburo pointed out that the preparation of the National Talent Development Plan during the 14th Five-Year Period [2021-2025] is an important task arranged by the Party Central Committee. It is the concrete measure implementing the spirit of the Central Conference on Talent Work [of September 2021], and an important, special plan of the national 14th Five-Year Plan. We must strengthen the leadership of the Party in talent work, firmly establish the strategic position of talent-led development, and comprehensively cultivate, introduce and harness talent.
The Politburo emphasised that we must stick to the key focus of the plan, advance in stages, and accelerate the building of [China into] a key world talent centre and innovation highland. Beijing, Shanghai, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area must maintain high standards and strive to become models for building high-level talent highlands. Some cities with concentrations of high-level talent should take effective measures to build platforms to attract and gather talent, and accelerate the formation of strategic pivot points and flying geese patterns [for talent development].
— vigorously train and harness scientists of strategic [importance];
— develop a large number of first-class scientific and technological leaders and innovation teams;
— create a massive troop of young scientific and technological talents; and
— train a large number of outstanding engineers;
The focus of talent development should be on supporting and cultivating basic research talents, and providing them with long-term and stable support. We must deepen the reform of the institutions for talent development and build a platform for work and entrepreneurship by all kinds of talents.
Party committees (groups) at all levels must:
— strengthen their respective direct responsibilities;
— improve the work paradigm under which the Party is in charge of talent;
— coordinate and promote the implementation of major initiatives on talent work to ensure their effectiveness;
— actively solve problems for employers and talents;
— strengthen the political leadership and political absorption of talents; and
— guide the broad mass of the talented to love the Party and serve the country, dedicate themselves to their work, have the motherland in their hearts, and serve the people.
The Politburo meeting also considered other matters.