January 2022 Politburo Meeting
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January 2022 Politburo Meeting

Politburo’s first meeting of the new year included deliberations on the report on the work of leading Party members groups within top state organs and the upcoming Regulations on Public Petitioning.

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The Politburo met on Monday (January 24) and deliberated on two documents:

  • a consolidated report from the Politburo Standing Committee on the work of the leading Party members groups within the top state organs; and
  • the Regulation on Public Petitioning.

The first item is a routine document. Generally, at every January’s Politburo meeting, it deliberates on the work of leading Party members groups within top state organs in the past year. What are these groups? According to the Central Committee:

Leading Party members groups are leading bodies set up by the Party in the central and local state organs, people’s organizations, economic and cultural organizations and other non-Party organizations to play a leading role in their own work units. They are an important organizational form for the Party to exercise leadership over non-Party organizations.

Like the previous years, the Politburo “fully affirmed” the work of these leading Party members groups over the last year, and approved their work plans for this year.

While this is a routine matter, it is worth reminding ourselves that the Party exercises state power through several mechanisms, including its control of leading Party members groups embedded in state institutions. For example, all current leaders of the State Council (the premier, four vice-premiers and five state councilors) are also members of the leading Party members groups within the State Council.

Another point worth highlighting is that this is the first time the “Two Establishments” have appeared in an official Politburo meeting readout. The “Two Establishments” (两个确立) first appeared in the communiqué of the 6th Plenum in November:

The Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and established the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups…

(author’s translation, bold added)

Since then, the “Two Establishments” have started to appear in important Party documents, including the Communiqué of the 6th Plenum of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (released on January 20).

The increasing appearance of the “Two Establishments” in key Party documents would be an indication of Xi’s solidifying position in the lead up to the 20th Party Congress late this year.

The second item examined by the Politburo meeting is the Regulation on Public Petitioning [complaints and proposals]. Once formally adopted and released publicly by the State Council, this set of regulations will supersede the existing ones from May 2005. The most significant changes to the public complaints and proposals system in recent years related to the role of law in solving conflicts. The forthcoming regulations will most likely reflect these changes.

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