February 2022 Politburo Meeting
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February 2022 Politburo Meeting

The Politburo’s February meeting convened to deliberate on a draft of the upcoming Government Work Report, a report on central inspection tour work, and a work report on central party discipline inspections.

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The Politburo met on Friday (February 25) and looked at three documents:

1. draft Government Work Report;

2. Comprehensive Report on the Eighth Round of Inspection Tours of the 19th Central Committee; and

3. Report on the 2021 Priority Work of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.

Premier Li Keqiang will be delivering the Government Work Report at the annual session of the National People’s Congress (starting March 5). This Politburo meeting discussed a draft version of this report. Note that this work report relates to government work (centred on economic and social development) and not Party work (although the boundary between the two is blurry at times).

For those wanting to know more about China’s economic policy this year, and what Li will be saying at the National People’s Congress, I recommend you go through the Politburo readout (translation linked above).

The assessments, themes and signals on government work from the Politburo meeting are largely consistent with what came out of the State Council’s 6th plenum held on January 19: praising achievements in 2021 despite a tough year.

However, there is one exception, concerning the risks confronted by the Chinese economy. At the State Council plenum, Li stated that: “[China’s] economy is currently facing new downward pressures and uncertainties have grown in number”. No such language came out of the Politburo meeting.

The Politburo meeting considered that the central government completed its main 2021 goals and tasks relatively well. For 2022, the top government priority is to first ensure economic and social stability and then seek progress. Here are the principal tasks for 2022:

— stabilise the economy through more robust macroeconomic measures;

— stimulate market vitality by deepening reform;

— implement the innovation-driven development strategy; and

— expand domestic demand, and promote inter-region coordinated development and urbanisation.

The second document is the report on the central inspection tour work in 2021. Politburo affirmed this work, which has focused on financial corruption. The meeting linked financial corruption, political supervision and financial sector reform as issues that should be tackled in an integrated way.

The third document is the report on the 2021 work of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work, the body that coordinates central party discipline inspections. The Politburo meeting affirmed the group’s work in 2021 and set its top priority for 2022: to entrench the “Two Establishments” (or, in other words, to reinforce Xi’s power in the lead up to the 20th Party Congress late this year).

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