Two Sessions Daily Rollup for March 7th and March 8th

The Two Sessions, the annual, concurrent meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is underway in Beijing. The event is significant because China uses it to set various objectives for the country as well as to appoint officials to various senior-level roles, such as Foreign Affairs Minister. Below are some of the most notable events that occurred on March 7th and March 8th.

March 7th

NPC

Chinese leader Xi Jinping delivered a speech during a meeting with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP) delegation during the 14th NPC. General Zhang Youxia, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo and Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman, presided over the meeting.

During his speech, he highlighted that “strategic capabilities in emerging fields are an important part of the national strategic system and capabilities.” He also pointed out how the emerging fields are “closely related” to the high quality development of China’s economy, national security, society, and proactive military struggles. He also further said that China’s high quality development is necessary for developing China into a powerful country and the “great cause of national rejuvenation through Chinese-style modernization.” Xi then said that the PLA must boost mission responsibilities, deepen reform and innovation, and comprehensively enhance strategic capabilities in various emerging fields.

Six PLA delegates, People’s Liberation Army Navy delegate Ai Yingchun, Strategic Support Force delegates Wu Shengyan and He Yufan, Southern Theater Command representative Qiao Shasha, Academy of Military Science representative Yao Dangnai, and People’s Liberation Army Army delegate Zheng Jin, also gave speeches during the meeting. The six representatives discussed the development of maritime situational awareness capability, improving cyberspace defense capabilities, the promotion of the application of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), strengthening the integrated management of space resources, strengthening the generalization of standards in emerging fields, and innovating the construction and application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

PLA delegate Qiao Shasha (center) delivering her remarks as Strategic Support Force delegates Wu Shengyan (L) and He Yufan (R) listen during PLA and PAP meeting during 14th NPC (Photo: Screenshot/CCTV)

After the six representatives gave their speeches, Xi discussed how the 20th National Party Congress and the CCP Central Committee proposed to accelerate the development of new quality productive forces from the perspective of promoting high quality development. By doing so, China would have a “rare opportunity” for strategic capacity building in emerging fields such as A.I. and space, according to Xi. Furthermore, he also said it is necessary to “seize the momentum, grasp the characteristics and laws of the development of emerging fields, and promote the mutual, efficient integration and mutual promotion of new quality productive forces and new quality combat capabilities.”

Xi also emphasized the need to highlight development priorities and implement strategies and plans related to strategic capacity building in various emerging fields. It is necessary to “coordinate preparations for maritime military struggles, protection of maritime rights and interests, and development of the maritime economy,” according to Xi. He also pointed out that it is necessary to optimize the aerospace layout and promote the building of China’s aerospace system. Another necessity that Xi highlighted is to build a cyberspace defense system and “improve the ability to maintain the national network security.” The final area that Xi pointed out is the necessity of strengthening coordination and implementation of major projects in intelligence technology as well as increasing the application of advanced achievements.

CCTV News Reporter reporting on the PLA-PAP delegation meeting inside the Great Hall of the People (Photo: Screenshot/CCTV/Military Affairs)

Xi then expanded on how the development of emerging fields will fundamentally stem from the innovation and application of science and technology. China must enhance its confidence in innovation, insist on self-reliance, promote independent and original innovation, and develop “a vibrant ecology for the growth of new quality productive forces and new combat capabilities.” He also emphasized grasping the characteristics of cross-disciplinary development in emerging fields as well as strengthening integrated innovation and comprehensive application. Furthermore, he also urged the PLA to “promote the formation of a dynamic situation with multiple breakthroughs and the spurting of a community.”

PLA and PAP delegates walking towards conference hall for delegation meeting (Photo: screenshot/CCTV/Military Affairs)

In the final part of the speech, Xi highlighted that the reform of emerging fields should be highlighted as a key point to deepen reforms further comprehensively. He specifically said that China should build “an independent, self-reliant, open and integrated, and dynamic innovation ecosystem that would enhance the promotion of building strategic capabilities in emerging fields. Xi said that it is necessary to improve the country’s systems and mechanisms for demand docking, planning coordination, and resource sharing, embark on the path of standardization, and improve the efficiency of developing emerging fields. He also said that China has to deepen the reform of the national defense science and technology system and optimize the layout of the defense science and technology industry by guiding the acceleration of “the supply of new quality combat capabilities.” Xi also urged the improvement of agile responses and “rapid transformation mechanism of advanced technologies” and the building of innovation, industrial, and value chains compatible with developing emerging fields.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a press conference at 10 a.m. local time during the NPC session. Wang touched on several subjects such as the ongoing Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip, its relationship with Russia and the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, its relationship with the United States, and the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answering questions during March 7th press conference

Wang Huning, CPPCC Chairman and Taiwan Working Group Deputy Chairman, met with and discussed with the Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan NPC delegations. Ding Xuexiang, First Vice Premier and Hong Kong and Macao Working Group Chairman, also participated in the meetings. Wang first said that China maintained the “overall stability of the situation across the Taiwan Strait” and continued to gain the “strategic initiative to achieve the complete reunification of the motherland.” He then added that China must decisively implement the CCP’s overall strategy for “resolving the Taiwan issue in the new era and the Party Central Committee’s decisions and arrangements on Taiwan work.”

Wang added that delegations must “unswervingly promote the great cause of the reunification of the motherland.” Ding met separately with both the Hong Kong and Macao delegations. However, during his meeting with the Hong Kong delegation, Ding said that Article 23 legislation of the Hong Kong Basic Law “is the constitutional responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” Ding also mentioned that passing the law must be completed as quickly as possible to protect “national sovereignty, security, and development interests and ensure the long-term peace and stability of Hong Kong.”

CPPCC

Director of the General Office of China’s Trade Union Federation delegate, Lu Guoquan, called for Chian to enshrine the right of “offline rest” into labor laws. He also said the government should raise the legal penalties for companies that are involved in “invisible overtime practices” during an interview with Workers’ Daily. Lyu said that information technology such as the Internet blurred the boundaries between life and work balance, making invisible overtime normalized as “unpaid overtime.”

His suggestion would be to revise the laws regarding standard working hours that would clearly define online overtime and compensation, as well as set limits on work hours for online positions that use fluctuating schedules and high workloads. Regarding increasing penalties corporations would face for breaking the labor laws, Lyu said that the government needs to increase both its supervision and penalties for businesses using “invisible overtime.” He also said that the government needs to improve the system that protects workers’ rights against “unreasonable and unpaid overtime.”

CPPCC member Yin Yanlin called for the government to lift some institutional obstacles to enhance the investment environment for China’s private business sector. Yin, General Office of the Central Financial Economic Affairs Commission’s (GOCFEAC) Deputy Director, said enhancing the investment environment will stimulate the market for investment as well as ensure domestic companies feel safe with locations and funds to invest. He put forth three measures that would achieve his aim, which involve clarifying “positive and negative lists for investment in the private sector” and lifting barriers that prevent private businesses from participating in market activities. The third measure Yin mentioned was expanding investment space for private enterprises by effectively breaking down invisible barriers that inhibit investment entry.

Wang Huning attended a meeting where 14 CPPCC members gave speeches regarding recommendations it gave regarding how to improve China’s economy, financial markets, and basic research fields.

March 8th

NPC

NPC Chairman Zhao Leji Zhao Leji, delivering the NPC Standing Committee’s work report during the 14th NPC (Photo: Screenshot/CCTV)

Zhao Leji, NPC Standing Committee Chairman, delivered the NPC Standing Committee’s work report to the delegation. Zhao outlined the achievements the Standing Committee completed, such as improving China’s legal system to ensure the implementation of its constitution and passing the Patriotic Education Law. He also mentioned how the NPC reviewed a revised draft of the State Council Organic Law twice before sending it to the legal committee for review.

Zhao also outlined the tasks for 2024 that the NPC Standing Committee will complete, such as revising and passing amendments to China’s 2001 National Defense Education Law. The law outlines the requirements for defense education in various organizations, such as schools, businesses, and news media outlets, and is designed to promote patriotism and consolidate China’s defense structure. Zhao also said China will use the rule of law to solve foreign affairs related disputes and will defend the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Zhang Jun, President of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), and Ying Yong, Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), also gave the work reports for their respective agencies. The work reports outlined both the SPC and SPP accomplishments in 2023 while also outlining the goals they will achieve in 2024. The NPC delegation reviewed both reports after both Zhang and Ying delivered them.

CPPCC

CPPCC delegate and Chinese Academy of Sciences academic, Xie Suyuan, said that China should strive to make advances in the country’s semiconductor industry. Furthermore, Xie said that the focus should be on basic materials for producing microchips, such as photoresists and high-purity hydrogen fluoride that China has to import. He also pointed out that China’s “bottleneck” is its material technology, which leads to its inability to produce the necessary materials to help produce microprocessors. For example, Xie highlighted that China still lacks the necessary research and development in “leading and high-end materials,” even though the country is recognized as a leader in basic research in certain resources.

He also said that the lack of high-end materials research is what is strangling China in fields such as “electronic information materials, aerospace materials, and luminescent materials.” However, Xie recommended that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology guide research institutes, businesses, and financial institutions in creating an institute to develop the required inputs throughout the supply chain. This institute would provide the necessary facilitation for the industrialization of research developments in basic materials related to microprocessor production.

Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin the panda began Sino Talk in 2022 primarily to give an objective, unbiased view on China related topics as well as other issues related to the Indo-Pacific region. He spent several years studying and traveling throughout China and many countries in the Indo-Pacific region. In another life, the panda was also a U.S. Marine intelligence analyst who enjoyed bamboo MREs and drinking bourbon and soju. Indo-Pacific Division Desk Chief for Atlas News.

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