How the CCP Governs: The View from a Chinese Town
January 11, 2021
How does the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule China? While a good deal of external analysis and media coverage centers on the view from Beijing, it is in China’s towns, cities, and villages that the real governing action occurs. And this is where most Chinese citizens encounter the CCP as an organization. While Xi Jinping may be the most well-known CCP member, it is the local Party secretary who instantiates the Communist Party.
The town of Niangziguan (population 11,446) is located 224 miles southwest of Beijing, near the junction of the Shanxi and Hebei provinces. Nearly 30,000 tourists arrive each year to visit its many scenic spots, the most famous being the remnants of the Guguan Great Wall, which was first built in 369 BC. The influx of tourists aside, like many other towns and villages around the country, Niangziguan struggles to balance its present agricultural realities with the many aspirations its people and town leadership have for its modernization potential.
There are many towns like Niangziguan throughout China, and they provide important windows into the lived realities of the CCP’s mechanisms and tools of governance and control. While the CCP general secretary dreams of China’s global ascendency and country’s great “rejuvenation,” more prosaic concerns dominate in small towns and villages.
In order to better understand local-level governance, the CSIS Freeman Chair is releasing the following translation of an official notice by the town’s CCP committee on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 2019. The lengthy document comprehensively catalogues various economic, political, and security risks, many of them understandable, while others seem more fanciful or remote. Interestingly, a large portion of the document is focused on protecting Niangziguan from so-called “hostile forces,” including overseas elements of the Catholic church and pro-democracy activists. While it is possible that Niangziguan officials truly believe that the town must actively guard against “color revolutions” (as the document declares), it is more likely that Xi Jinping’s relentless campaign to snuff out any and all threats to the CCP has infused small-town governance. Regardless, the document is a revealing window into the concerns of the CCP in the first half of the twenty-first century.
Notice on the Issuance of the “Niangziguan Town Program for Resolutely Waging the Tough Battle to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks”
To all villages and units:
The “Niangziguan Town Program for Resolutely Waging the Tough Battle to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks” is hereby issued to you. Please implement it conscientiously.
The Niangziguan Town Chinese Communist Party Committee
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Niangziguan Town Program for Resolutely Waging the Tough Battle to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks
In accordance with the spirit of the “Niangziguan Town Program for Resolutely Waging the Tough Battle to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks” by the county CCP committee and county government, the following program is formulated in order to thoroughly implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech at the Provincial-Level Symposium for Principal Leaders and Cadres on Persevering in Bottom-Line Thinking and Striving to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks [省部级主要领导干部坚持底线思维着力防范化解重大风险专题研讨班], resolutely wage the tough battle to prevent and defuse major risks, and effectively maintain the whole town’s political and social stability, [as well as] sustainable and healthy economic development.
I. Significance and General Requirements
Waging the tough battle to prevent and defuse major risks is a political task that must be completed to implement the major decisions and plans of the CCP Central Committee, specifically to strengthen the “four consciousnesses,” stand firmly on the “four confidences,” and achieve the “two safeguards” (两个维护). At present, China’s development stands at a new historical starting point for an important period of strategic opportunity in the long term, but the risks and challenges [China] faces on the road ahead have also increased significantly. From the perspective of [Niangziguan], under the strong leadership of the county Party committee and county government, the entire town is united at all levels in tackling these difficulties and accelerating the implementation of the “three insists and four focuses,” with cadres and the masses planning and striving for progress and the overall social situation remaining stable. However, facing such a special year as this, with its many big events and sensitive dates; facing the difficult and heavy tasks of deepening reform and opening up and accelerating transformative development; facing, in particular, the uncertainties arising from U.S.-China trade frictions; and facing a significant increase in various risks and challenges at home and abroad, as well as new circumstances and developments that tend to be mutually transmitted, interconnected, and overlapping, we must fully recognize the extreme importance of preventing and defusing major risks and challenges. We must always maintain a high state of alert for “governance” without forgetting “dangers” and for “prosperity” without forgetting “worries,” and insist on always guarding against the worst and making the fullest preparations while working in a good direction and striving for the best results.
At present, China’s development stands at a new historical starting point for an important period of strategic opportunity in the long term, but the risks and challenges [China] faces on the road ahead have also increased significantly.
All levels of the whole town shall insist on being guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, comprehensively implementing the spirit of the nineteenth CCP National Congress and the Second and Third Plenary Sessions of the Nineteenth CCP Central Committee. [It shall] focus closely on overall advancement of the general layout for “five-in-one” [economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological] progress and coordinated advancement of the “Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy,” thoroughly implementing the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech at the Provincial-Level Symposium for Principal Leaders and Cadres on Persevering in Bottom-Line Thinking and Striving to Prevent and Defuse Major Risks, thoroughly implementing the Overall National Security Outlook, insisting on bottom-line thinking, reinforcing the sense of crisis, and improving prevention and control capabilities. We must both be on high alert against “black swan” events and prevent “gray rhino” events, we must have both routine measures for risk prevention and sophisticated approaches to respond to and defuse risks and challenges, and we must both wage the battle of preparedness to guard against and withstand risks and wage a strategic offensive to turn risks into opportunities, striving to nip risks in the bud and effectively handle emergencies of all kinds. We must ensure that there are no events that would affect political security or inflame public opinion, no systemic risks in the economic arena, no large-scale mass incidents, and no major production-safety accidents or other public-safety incidents, as well as ensure the entire town’s political and social stability and its sustainable and healthy economic development. We must serve as the “moat” around the capital and make proper contributions toward celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the PRC.
We must both wage the battle of preparedness to guard against and withstand risks and wage a strategic offensive to turn risks into opportunities, striving to nip risks in the bud and effectively handle emergencies of all kinds.
II. Key Tasks
Preventing and defusing major risks is a matter of “comprehensive systems engineering” [综合性系统工程] involving all aspects. We must eliminate hidden risks to the greatest possible extent through comprehensive measures, actively and securely deal with emergencies, and hold the bottom line on [ensuring] no occurrence of systemic or regional risks. We must insist on the “two important things” [两件大事] of overall development and security, on combining overall promotion with major breakthroughs, on addressing both symptoms and root causes, and on making a strict distinction between internal and external. We must insist on whomever is in charge being responsible, on whomever takes the lead in coordination being responsible, and on the jurisdictional responsibility system, with all villages being accountable and every individual conscientiously doing their duty to ensure that all tasks are performed in earnest.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the political field
- Prevent and crack down on “color revolutions” [颜色革命]. Keep a close eye on major activities, sensitive points, and hotspots, closely monitor new developments in disruption and destruction by hostile forces [敌对势力], and establish and improve control mechanisms for key political figures, organizations, and groups. Strictly prevent infiltration by hostile forces into ethnic, religious, and other fields; interference by hostile forces using sensitive cases, mass incidents, and the “rights-defense” activities of interest groups; and hostile forces from engaging in activities that undermine political security and social stability, never allowing the formation of flag bearers [扛旗人物], nor the emergence of illegal parties and activities, nor the formation of political opposition.
- Prevent and crack down on terrorist activities. Actively shoulder the mission of being the anti-terrorist “moat” around the capital [环京反恐怖 “护城河”] and resolutely guard against the prospect of becoming a terrorist hideout, fundraising site, or transit point, or even a place where jihadi activities are carried out. Insist on cracking down on all that is “terrorism,” striking wherever it rears its head, comprehensively promoting counter-terrorism control and prevention work, and raising the level of counter-terrorist socialization, professionalization, and rule of law implementation across the board. Firmly promote intelligence, surveillance, prevention, emergency response, and other tasks; enhance construction of information-sharing platforms for preventing and cracking down on terrorism; and cooperate on doing a good job of “overseas cleaning at the source” [境外清源]. Thoroughly carry out activities to “prevent backflows” and “crack down on dispatching;” resolutely keep key people under control to prevent their infiltration, sneaking out, or opportunistic sabotage; closely watch local people influenced by extremist ideologies and vigorously prevent them from conducting any kind of terrorist activities; strictly manage the production and sale of dynamite, detonators, and other civilian explosive goods to be able eliminate major explosion-related hazards quickly; target schools for township stabilization and control work to resolutely prevent the “three forces” [separatist, extremist, and terrorist] from infiltrating schools and ensure no occurrence of terrorist attacks.
- Prevent and crack down on infiltration by Tibetan independence separatist forces into this region. Go further in doing proper rectification work at key temples in accordance with the law and raise the level of management based on rule of law. Prevent and crack down on Tibetan separatist forces and contain the “eastward movement of Tibetan mysticism” [藏密东移]. Continuously manage Buddhist and Taoist commercialization, oppose using religious venues to conduct feudal and superstitious activities, and prohibit the illegal construction of large, open-air religious statues.
- Prevent and crack down on infiltration activities by the Tablighi Jamaat mission [达洼宣教团]. Carry out special rectification activities against Tablighi Jamaat, screen and control foreigners with Tablighi Jamaat missionary backgrounds, and prohibit [such] foreigners from residing and preaching in our town. Resolutely ban mosques from holding classes, training courses, or nursery school in order to curb the spread of religious extremism.
- Prevent and crack down on illegal Christian infiltration activity. Continuously carry out special campaigns against private Christian meeting places and resolutely crack down on infiltration activities by Christian organizations with U.S. or Korean backgrounds.
- Prevent and crack down on infiltration activities by overseas Catholic forces. Strengthen construction of Catholic patriotism. Never allow overseas religious forces to form systems within our town or allow forces opposed to the Party and government to form in the religious field, in order to maintain a good atmosphere of religious acquiescence and social harmony.
- Prevent and crack down on all types of cult activities. Continuously carry out special actions against Falun Gong and other cult organizations, crack down severely on all kinds of disruptive activities, and never allow any resurgence or stirring up of trouble. Improve and perfect integrated work mechanisms to guard against and control Falun Gong and other cult organizations, continue to strengthen work against key individuals and sever their ties with overseas organizations, punish people making false accusations, and in particular strictly prevent any sabotage activities from taking place on the twentieth anniversary of the Falun Gong April 25  incident. Carry out in-depth, special crackdowns on “Eastern Lightning,” and strictly prevent the growth and sabotage activities of cult organizations such as the Mentuhui (门徒会), All Scope Church (全范围教会), Quan Yin Buddhism (观音法门), Xianshui Shengling (仙水圣灵), and Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, as well as harmful qigong organizations such as Zhong Gong (中功) and Huazang Gong (华藏功). Properly perform educational transformation work for deluded masses and educate and guide them to recognize the anti-science, anti-human, anti-social, and anti-government nature of cults so they consciously stay away from and resist cults.
Continuously carry out special campaigns against private Christian meeting places and resolutely crack down on infiltration activities by Christian organizations with U.S. or Korean backgrounds.
- Eliminate blind spots in the supervision of social groups. Emphasize and improve the level of social-organization management, accelerate construction of information platforms, and guide social organizations to participate in public services and provide public products so we can make full use of their positive role in social-governance innovation. Strictly prevent overseas NGOs, as well as certain domestic social organizations that receive Western support, from going around under the banners of “democracy,” “human rights,” “religion,” “charity,” “environmental protection,” and “poverty alleviation.” Strengthen oversight of overseas organizations’ activities in our town, quickly grasp the fundamentals and figure out the situation, and actively guide them in operating in accordance with laws and regulations.
- Prevent and crack down on all types of espionage. Reinforce the people’s defensive line and wage the struggle against espionage in accordance with the law. Strictly prevent overseas intelligence personnel from engaging in various activities, such as travel and tourism or economic and cultural exchanges, or employing other means to steal core secrets from core areas and critical sectors of the Party, government, military, and so on. Strengthen prevention and early-warning work, keep a tight grip on special investigations and operations, and effectively prevent real harm from espionage activities.
Strictly prevent overseas NGOs, as well as certain domestic social organizations that receive Western support, from going around under the banners of “democracy,” “human rights,” “religion,” “charity,” “environmental protection,” and “poverty alleviation.”
Preventing and defusing major risks in the ideological field
- Prevent hostile forces from taking advantage of major, sensitive dates and times to engage in disinformation, slander, attacks, and destruction. Be on high alert against overseas hostile forces using any opportunity to cause disturbances and prevent them from taking advantage of major occasions, such as the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the PRC, or sensitive dates and times, such as the thirtieth anniversary of the June 4 [Tiananmen Square] political turmoil. [Prevent them from] using various channels to spread erroneous anti-China political concepts and values (such as historical nihilism, Western “constitutional democracy,” and neoliberalism), distorting our history, attacking our policies, magnifying our problems, misleading the masses, and influencing the minds of the people, as well as from carrying out infiltration, subversion, and sabotage activities of all kinds. Take strict precautions against them using U.S-China trade frictions to malign China’s economy and launch various activities to “oppose China” and “sow chaos in China” at all costs. Take strict precautions against economic and social problems being transmitted to the ideological field, [where they could] influence society’s mindset.
- Prevent hostile forces from using online media to stir up public opinion and confuse the public. Attach great importance to the characteristics of online public opinion—many contact points, low flash points, rapid diffusion, and strong intensity—and consider the Internet as the main battlefield, the main front, and the forefront of the ideological struggle. Be swift to guard against and control the Internet’s functions of transmission and magnification and effectively prevent it from becoming the source of various risks. Continuously consolidate and strengthen mainstream public opinion, resolutely crack down on the use of the Internet by hostile forces to fabricate and spread political rumors and harmful information, rigorously prevent enemy forces from using mirror sites and new penetration techniques to flood the country and use social media to mobilize “street-level politics,” effectively intensify guidance and control over public opinion, and never allow hostile forces and people with ulterior motives to carry out plots to use the Internet to shake China’s ideological and political foundations and its mass base.
- Prevent management of ideology from being “left vacant” and positions from being “left unguarded.” Insist that positive energy is the general requirement, being able to control it is the hard truth, and using it well is the real skill. At all times, delete harmful political information online, block religious extremism and terrorism-related audio and video online, and spare no effort in shrinking the space for transmitting negative information online. Carry out multiple forms of positive propaganda and education activities online. Leadership cadres must do mass work both face-to-face and keyboard-to-keyboard, turning the greatest variable that is the Internet into the greatest contribution to our development.
- Prevent hostile forces from using hotspots in society and people’s livelihoods to engage in provocation and demagoguery. Insist on using legal and technological means to bring order to online chaos, resolutely prevent and stop hostile forces and people with ulterior motives from using online media to engage in provocation on such topics as legal justice, education and healthcare, food and drug safety, tax reform, childbirth and elder care, housing, environmental regulation, safe production, and the eradication of crime and vice. Strictly prevent individual risks from evolving into aggregate risks, local risks into systemic risks, and general risks into political risks and strictly prevent emergencies of high social concern from being transmitted to the ideological field, [where they could] evolve into public opinion storms and ideological incidents.
- Prevent the manipulative interviews and malicious provocation by foreign media. For applications for interviews with external media, especially regarding emergency events, we must be proactive in both serving and rejecting them as appropriate, and when unlawful interview activities are discovered, we must handle them properly in accordance with laws and regulations. Strengthen contacts with overseas media through formal channels, and continue to improve our ability to deal with foreign media. Be quick to understand the focus of media attention and trends in interviews, provide authoritative information and report material, and actively guide the content and tendencies in foreign media coverage.
Leadership cadres must do mass work both face-to-face and keyboard-to-keyboard, turning the greatest variable that is the Internet into the greatest contribution to our development.
- Prevent key information infrastructure from being attacked and destroyed. Vigorously defend against high-level, persistent threats and attacks on key industries such as finance, energy, transportation, water conservancy, environmental protection, industrial manufacturing, and big data centers, as well as the vital information infrastructure of education, healthcare, radio and television, municipal government, telecommunications and the Internet, Party and government organizations, and entry-exit management, so that economic development and social livelihoods will not be exposed to major risks.
- Prevent hostile forces from infiltrating and opening breaches among schoolteachers and students. We must attach great importance to the educational field and prevent hostile forces from targeting young students with Western misconceptions and conducting ideological infiltration, so it is necessary to resolutely prevent the infiltration of schools by people in society who intend to conduct illegal activities. Beware of organizations and individuals engaging in illegal activities under various guises such as fellowships, academic exchanges, community activities, poverty alleviation assistance, and social involvement, among other forms. Beware of some organizations and individuals conducting religious dissemination and infiltration in the county’s schools; beware of infiltration in international exchanges; and beware of individual teachers’ mistaken statements that could disturb the thinking of students and of teachers’ misconduct becoming hotspots of public opinion. We must distinguish between the circumstances, treatment, and handling of two different kinds of contradictions. We cannot be blind and indifferent to questions of political principle, nor can we be cavalier about ordinary issues or magnify them into questions of ideology. We must strengthen management over the construction of various positions in schools, build teams and improve systems, and innovate approaches to ensure that schools always remain the bulwark for cultivating builders and successors of the socialist cause.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the economic and technological fields
- Strive to prevent and prosecute illegal fundraising and other economic cases involving the public. Carry out a three-year, in-depth campaign against illegal fundraising cases, crack down hard on all kinds of illegal fundraising activities, and curb their “from the countryside to the village” momentum. Insist on integrating crime fighting with risk elimination and maintaining stability; properly carry out pressing charges, returning assets, providing educational guidance, and other tasks; and strive for stabilization and control at the local level and resolution at the grassroots level. Conduct focused remediation of peer-to-peer (P2P) network lending platforms. For the case of [local P2P platform] Jinshangdai, focus on properly doing follow-up work for stabilization and control. Accelerate progress investigating other cases of suspected illegal fund collection. For nationwide illegal fundraising cases such as Kunming [Fanya Metal Exchange], Ezubao (e租宝), and Qianbao (钱宝系), actively cooperate on properly doing related work. Discover emerging problems early, intervene early, and dispose of them early to prevent them from gaining strength. For the masses, strengthen propaganda and education to raise risk-prevention awareness and legal awareness. Strictly prevent, investigate, and deal with other types of economic cases involving the masses.
- Prevent and defuse financial risks. Understand the high-risk characteristics of the financial field, effectively strengthen risk identification and dynamic management, improve and perfect financial risk-response mechanisms and contingency plans, and prevent systemic and regional financial risks from being triggered.
- Ensure proper handling of hidden debt and take precautions against debt risks. Strengthen the assessment and early warning of government debt risks and resolutely prevent incidents of non-payment of construction funds and migrant workers’ wages due to government debt.
- Actively dispose of corporate debt. Reinforce awareness that stable enterprises mean stable employment and endeavor to do a good job of enterprise assistance and job stabilization. Insist on handling debt according to the principles of enterprises as the entities, “one enterprise, one policy,” and market-based rule of law; tighten constraints on corporate debt, optimize corporate capital structures, and enhance businesses’ capital accumulation capabilities; and accurately provide support for excellent enterprises, assistance for troubled enterprises, and orderly exit for “zombie enterprises.” Continue doing a good job of “clearing” businesses’ accounts receivable arrears. To address private enterprises’ problems with difficult and expensive financing, we must implement the entirety of “Several Opinions on Strengthening Efforts to Serve Private Enterprises through Finance” [关于加强金融服务民营企业的若干意见] issued by the General Office of the CCP Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council. To build a good finance environment, we must actively advance such tasks as constructing credit systems, improving loan risk compensation, and directly financing enterprises.
- Properly resolve the employee placement and debt problems with overcapacity reduction. Insist on putting the interests of the working masses first, giving consideration to all economic and social factors based on thorough consultations, strict review and approval, and secure job placement plans. We can never simply push workers out into the society, and we must firmly insist on carrying out social stability risk assessments and improving long-term mechanisms that link enterprises and localities so they can deal with prominent issues in petitions and prevent the risk of mass petitioning at the source.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the social field
- Actively prevent and dispose of collective petitions. Insist on regarding petitions as mass work delivered to your doorstep and exert effort to resolve problems identified by the masses. Highlight and tackle problems in the areas that are generating the most petitions—urban construction, social security, land and resources, and agriculture and the countryside—and their potential dangers. It is necessary to strengthen legal resolution measures so they can swiftly solve the remaining issues and promote the “curing of old ailments,” and it is also necessary to bolster preventative treatment at the source by forcefully “controlling new ailments.” We must securely handle problems of arrears on migrant worker wages and construction sector payments, as well as problems stemming from supply-side structural reform, such as personnel separation and placement and labor-relations disputes, and must resolutely curtail the proliferation of collective petitions. At the same time, in accordance with the law, we must crack down on individual illegal acts of petitioning via pestering or causing disturbances.
- Securely prevent and deal with military-related mass incidents. Keep a close eye on key groups that have a relatively strong willingness to pursue claims, such as self-employed and unemployed ex-military personnel who volunteered to transfer to other industries, retired military personnel complaining about job placement, retired military personnel who participated in wars or nuclear tests and who request recognition of their status as participants in wars or nuclear tests, demobilized non-commissioned officers, rural Tibetan soldiers, engineering corps soldiers who participated in secret construction projects, and demobilized cadres of enterprises. Implement all of the CCP Central Committee’s requirements and the deployments of provincial, municipal, and county Party committees, insisting on simultaneously carrying out condolence visits and legal crackdown actions and simultaneously implementing public opinion guidance and measures for social prevention and control. Listen to reasonable demands, intensify efforts to help, and protect legitimate rights and interests on the one hand, and strengthen education and stability controls for key persons on the other, perfecting emergency response plans and cracking down in accordance with the law on the minority of unlawful persons with unreasonable demands. Pay particular attention to major dates and activities, such as the fortieth anniversary of the [1979 Sino-Vietnamese War], and resolutely stop our town’s military-related personnel from going out to participate in regular meetings.
- Effectively resolve problems with basic livelihoods. Strictly prevent irregular use or misappropriation of poverty alleviation funds. Prevent problems occurring with relocation to centralized areas to which relocation is possible but which cannot be stabilized and prevent problems stemming from insufficiently precise identification and untimely exit, as with the “poor households having Mercedes and Audis” [贫困户有奔驰奥迪] scandal in Xi County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province [山西省临汾市隰县]. Prevent the employment of graduates of junior colleges and special secondary schools from mirroring problems in economic downturns, such as some businesses’ operating difficulties and increased risk of unemployment among their employees significantly affecting employment, and prevent the occurrence of major mass incidents due to labor disputes, social security, and so on.
- Attach great importance to school safety work. Resolve all issues of school safety, campus safety, and school-bus safety, strengthen integrated regulation of areas around campuses, strengthen students’ mental health and life education, and strengthen management of school-bus safety. Establish effective, permanent patrol mechanisms covering the peak periods for going to and from kindergartens and elementary and middle schools, both on and off campus; strengthen joint education and management on the part of schools, families, and society; and resolutely prevent the occurrence of major school-safety incidents and vicious incidents.
- Strive to prevent public health emergencies and guarantee food and drug safety. Strictly implement prevention and control measures against infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and human infection with the highly pathogenic avian flu, and resolutely prevent the occurrence of public health emergencies. Strengthen regulation of food safety; secure every line of defense in food production and processing, distribution, sales, and food service; and urge food production operators to fully adhere to food safety responsibilities. Strengthen drug safety regulation, crack down hard on unlawful activity such as drug sales through illegal channels, and strive to guard against drug safety risks.
- Ensure no compromise on major security operations. Resolutely do a good job of providing security for major activities, such as the celebration of seventieth anniversary of the founding of the PRC and the second National Youth Games; insist on the combination of human defense, physical defense, and technological defense and on full vigilance for key areas, key parts, and key dates; integrate security resources, increase forces’ strength, and resolutely prevent the occurrence of significant-impact incidents and emergencies.
- Strengthen the infrastructure of the public security prevention and control system. Crack down hard on serious crimes such as murder and robbery; carry out in-depth special operations to combat [use of] firearms and explosives and to crack down on theft, robbery, fraud, pornography, gambling, drugs, and food and drug rings; intensify crackdowns on new kinds of crimes such as telecommunications network fraud, trap loans, campus loans, and so on; push forward construction of the public security video surveillance system; accelerate construction, final inspection, and approval of hard isolation facilities for [protecting] the “soft targets” of the town’s crowded places; pay close attention to security issues at crowded places such as bus stations, train stations, and tourist spots; and crack down hard on prominent criminal activities that endanger driving safety to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property. It is especially important to keep a close eye on major cases involving criminal gangs, their economic foundations, and the “relationship networks” and “protective umbrellas” behind them; strengthen legal punishment and address the source of the problem; and promote the gradual deepening of the campaign against criminal gangs [扫黑除恶专项斗争].
- Effectively prevent ordinary disputes from triggering extreme incidents. We must strive to strengthen prevention with regard to certain civil disputes that could turn into criminal cases [NB: abbreviated as “civil-to-criminal” (民转刑)], including involving marriages, neighborhoods, land acquisition, demolition, relocation, certain ex-prisoners and drug addicts who may become security risks or even be targeted for recruitment by criminal gangs, certain groups of people who may create extreme personal incidents due to their psychological state or other reasons, and certain poorly resolved doctor–patient conflicts that could trigger terrible criminal cases and other problems. Study and popularize the “Fengqiao Experience” [枫桥经验] for the New Era, improve social coordination mechanisms, and boost capabilities for maintaining social stability; improve the social and psychological services system, guidance mechanisms, and emergency intervention mechanisms; dissolve social hostility to the maximum extent and fashion a good social mindset; strengthen the care and protection of left-behind children in rural areas and standardize social assistance work [for them]; and have greater concern for vulnerable groups.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the ecology and environmental protection field
- Prevent the occurrence of incidents that harm the environment. Suspend production at indiscriminately excavated and improperly governed open-pit mines to rectify or close them in accordance with the law. Seriously rectify illegal behaviors that infringe on important ecological spaces or that destroy or damage the environment and resolutely prevent the occurrence of incidents of severe environmental damage like that in Hunyuan County. Implement large-scale land greening; coordinate in promoting the integrated protection of the four major ecosystems of forests, grasslands, wetlands, and deserts; and achieve regulation of the mountain-river-forest-field-lake-grass system. Vigorously implement manual afforestation. Strengthen protections on river and spring sources and promote the orderly withdrawal of mining rights from nature reserves and key protected areas in spring catchment zones to protect water sources.
- Properly deal with environmental emergencies. Attach great importance to environmental emergencies caused by pollution, hazardous waste dumping, traffic accidents, safe-production accidents, and so on. Establish and improve interregional and interdepartmental emergency-response coordination mechanisms and an integrated emergency rescue system to reduce environmental damage to the maximum extent. Accelerate establishment of long-term mechanisms for identifying and rectifying potential environmental risks, strengthen the formulation and filing of emergency response contingency plans for environmental emergencies of enterprises and institutions, and formulate town-wide environmental risk management objectives in a holistic manner, integrating the various dispersed villages’ environmental risk information and incorporating it in unified, town-wide management.
- Strongly regulate atmospheric pollution. Insist on a five-pronged approach of “transformation, corporate governance, coal reduction, vehicle controls, and dust suppression;” focus on resolving problems of coal heating pollution, heavy diesel truck emissions and spillage pollution, township dust, and pollution released from open-air burning; firmly regulate pollution sources; strengthen responses to heavy air pollution; and resolutely fight and win the blue sky protection campaign [蓝天保卫战].
- Manage all water pollution. In a coordinated manner, push forward “joint regulation of the five waters” [五水同治]—i.e., drinking water, black and odorous bodies of water, industrial wastewater, urban sewage, and rural drainage water. Pay close attention to the five-category [water quality] sections under the national monitoring program, pay close attention to expanding capacity of quality improvements of urban sewage treatment plants, and resolutely fight the battle to defend the clear water, vigorously reduce the heavily polluted and substandard water bodies, and ensure that the people drink clean and safe water.
- Tightly regulate soil pollution. Insist on the five simultaneous measures of laying the foundation, strengthening control, enacting pilot programs, solving problems, and preventing risks. Comprehensively oversee implementation of the soil pollution prevention action plan; continue to inventory land used for agriculture and by industrial enterprises; focus on strengthening the full identification, assessment, and special remediation of solid and hazardous waste town-wide; tightly regulate coal gangue and fly ash; vigorously improve capabilities in the reduction, recycling, and non-toxic treatment of domestic waste; and resolutely fight and win the battle for clean soil protection.
- Regulate all agricultural and rural nonpoint source pollution. Conscientiously implement our town’s three-year action plan for rural environment management; resolutely fight the rural environment management campaign; properly manage rural domestic waste, sewage, and agricultural nonpoint source pollution; and strive to resolve prominent problems such as plastic pollution, “trash surrounding villages,” and industrial pollution “going up to the mountains and down to the town,” so as to build a beautiful home in the Taihang Mountains.
- Conscientiously prevent geological disasters. Pay close attention to key geological disaster zones; carry out special investigations for relevant densely populated areas; and do a good job with early-warning, forecasting, and emergency-response handling. Strengthen geological disaster publicity, training, and drills and improve the technology support system for geological disaster prevention in order to prevent problems before they arise.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the safe production field
- Ensure the safety of hazardous chemicals and of construction. Strive to mitigate significant potential risks from hazardous chemicals, gunpowder and detonators, natural gas resources, and so on. Strengthen special oversight of enterprises that produce, use, and store natural gas and strive to prevent major accidents. Strengthen safety training for workers involved in construction of buildings, bridges, tunnels, culverts, and other structures; strengthen safety regulation of scenic spots, amusement facilities, and other special equipment; strengthen monitoring and early warning to help prevent floods, droughts, and forest and grassland fires and assist disaster alleviation and relief efforts; and do a good job of emergency-response handling.
- Ensure the safety of traffic and infrastructure. Strive to prevent major traffic-safety problems stemming from our town having many mountain roads, bridges, tunnels, and hazardous chemical vehicles on the roads. Reinforce the town’s most accident-prone road sections, such as long downhill slopes, tunnels, bridges, and the like; continuously oversee vehicle overcrowding and overloading; spread out the flow of vehicles bearing hazardous chemicals; and firmly hold the line on not having major traffic accidents. Keep a close eye on cultural relics, ancient buildings, tall buildings, retirement institutions, and other key places and strengthen fire-safety work.
Preventing and defusing major risks in the field of Party construction
- Pay attention to preventing the problem of some cadres violating political discipline and political rules. Treat the problem of political double-crossers, opportunists, yin-yang people [阴阳人], and hypocrites within the Party seriously, consider such strange bedfellows as ticking time bombs, and resolutely purge them. Be strict and impartial on political discipline and political rules, focus on the “seven types of misconduct” [七个有之], and thoroughly investigate problems of political dissension and discord, ideological degeneration and decay, organizational factionalism, and operational duplicity. Be strict on political life within the Party, have Party member cadres undergo political checkups, reinforce the Party’s consciousness and organizational concepts, and develop an active and healthy political culture within the Party. Insist on putting political construction first by improving and perfecting measures for examining the political quality of the leadership team and leading cadres; explore establishing routine procedures for recording examples of cadres’ political performance; and actively screen for and discover political “double-crossers.”
- Pay attention to preventing and resolving problems of serious formalism and bureaucratism on the part of some cadres, which harms relations between the Party and the masses and between the cadres and the masses. Insist on conscientiously dealing with problems of formalism and bureaucratism based on ensuring the masses’ close relations with the Party and cadres and preventing separation from the masses. Carry out centralized, in-depth rectification; seriously investigate incorrect statements regarding the major policies of the CCP Central Committee and the decisions and plans of provincial, municipal, and county committees, such as not showing reverence, not caring, and shouting empty or fake slogans; compare the 12 types of prominent problems pinpointed by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the 26 types of prominent problems identified by the Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission; keep a close eye on new developments and statements; and strive to promote effective, centralized rectification. Implement the spirit of Eight-Point Regulation of the CCP Central Committee in depth, insist on opposing the “four forms” [of decadence], and consolidate and expand accomplishments. Insist on people-centered development thinking, connect more closely with the masses, and effectively dispel worries and resolve problems, using effective results to win the hearts of the masses.
- Pay attention to preventing and resolving the problems of some lazy leadership cadres who take neither responsibility nor action. Pay close attention to problems with some leading cadres who do not take charge or dare to shoulder responsibility, are unwilling to act, and do not take action, resolutely suppressing such forms of laziness. Firmly carry out a broad discussion on “reform and innovate, be enthusiastic and press on” (改革创新、奋发有为), to resolve ideological and practical issues.
- Pay attention to preventing and resolving problems with some grassroots Party organizations that are weak, undisciplined, and marginalized. Pay close attention to the problems of some weak, undisciplined, diminished, and marginalized grassroots Party organizations whose declining capabilities affect project development and shake the [CCP’s] ruling foundation; continuously rectify weak and undisciplined grassroots Party organizations and carry out the “three basic constructions” (三基建设) in depth. Fully put relevant internal Party regulations into effect, improve and perfect the organizational system, and strive to convert the Party’s political and organizational strengths into grassroots governance strengths. Optimize and improve the leadership of grassroots Party organizations, resolutely prevent unqualified people (such as those involved in criminal gangs) from entering the leadership teams of the “two committees,” promote the work of “merging villages, simplifying work, raising salaries, recruiting talent, and building institutions,” and enhance the capabilities and level of grassroots Party organizations in terms of tackling development, promoting stability, strengthening the Party, and improving services.
- Pay attention to preventing and resolving problems among some leading cadres who are breathing easy and resting in the fight against corruption. Prevent certain leadership cadres from easing up on the fight against corruption because the political ecosystem has gone from “chaos” to “order” [由乱转治] and prevent certain leadership cadres’ ideas of breathing easy and resting from influencing the struggle for complete victory in the fight against corruption. Insist on always being on the road of strict Party self-governance, maintain a high-pressure attitude on combating corruption, insist on forcefully reducing the existing amount and effectively containing any increase [in corruption], and consolidate and win an overwhelming victory in the fight against corruption. Deepen treatment of both symptoms and root causes, resolutely eradicate the breeding grounds of corruption, and promote the overall mantra of “I dare not, cannot, and do not want to be corrupt.” Unswervingly promote comprehensively going from strict Party self-governance to in-depth development, insist on resolutely preventing and correcting what the masses oppose and hate, deepen the special oversight of corruption and work-style problems (作风问题) in the field of poverty alleviation and the special rectification of corruption and work-style problems in the field of people’s livelihoods, and use real anti-corruption results to strengthen the masses’ sense of gain.
III. Safeguard Measures
Preventing and defusing major risks is a key step on the way to achieving the “two centenary” goals and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and this major decision and plan builds on the deep groundwork and foresight of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. All villages and all units must bring their thinking and actions into harmony with the spirit of the center [the CCP Central Committee] and the requirements of the provincial, municipal, and county committees; insist on taking Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era as the guide; and insist on and strengthen the Party’s leadership. [These villages must] consciously establish bottom-line thinking, have a stronger sense of urgency, and improve their prevention and control capabilities; they must be closely connected with their respective realities, implement [tasks] in a well-organized manner, work in a solid and orderly fashion, and complete all security and stability maintenance tasks without compromise.
Have a stronger sense of urgency and strengthen risk assessment. Every six months, all villages must carry out a comprehensive investigation of the risk factors and emerging problems in the regions and fields under their jurisdiction. It is necessary to give risk prevention an important position in scientific decision-making, require conducting risk assessments prior to decision-making, and carry out real-time monitoring, evaluation, and early warning of the main factors that tend to trigger risks in order to cut risks off at the source. Sharing of risk information between departments must be strengthened, as must mutual support, cooperation, and enhanced synergy. We must insist that each level ensure implementation for said level, thus ensuring implementation at all levels, and prevent and overcome shirking of responsibility and working half-heartedly so we can form a good situation where everyone has responsibility and takes responsibility, works together on prevention and resolution, and jointly maintains security and stability.
Strictly supervise, inspect, and enhance performance evaluation and accountability. Risk prevention and resolution must be seen as an important aspect of performance evaluation, with the town Party committee regularly carrying out supervision and inspection of risk prevention and resolution mechanisms so they can swiftly discover, supervise, and rectify existing problems.
Strengthen organizational leadership and promote work implementation. Prevention and resolution of major risks is an important political task to advance the plan of the CCP Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, and it is necessary [for us] to shoulder political responsibility for the prevention and resolution of major risks. All villages and units must place the prevention and resolution of major risks high on the agenda, in accordance with the instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the plans of the provincial, municipal, and county committees, and adopt a highly responsible attitude toward the Party and the people. They must always look at, think about, and grasp the big picture and effectively guard the land with responsibility, accountability, and diligence in order to create the conditions for climbing to the peak by holding the bottom line. All leadership cadres must resolutely shoulder political duties; dare to assume tasks, take on responsibilities, and take up struggles; truly grasp all aspects of risk prevention and resolution so they can work firmly, carefully, and to the letter; and resolutely win the tough battle to prevent and defuse major risks.
Jude Blanchette is the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
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