context: Politburo meetings convey the prevailing sense of policy focus in the central political leadership. Lower-level cadres looking for signals that they need to focus on kick-starting a struggling national economy will not find anything in the published account below to support that view. Party fundamentalists will be better pleased.

Central Committee Politburo, with Xi Jinping 习近平 CCP General Secretary presiding, held a 25 Jan 2019 meeting to consider and affirm the work of National People’s Congress Standing Committee, State Council, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and Central Secretariat in 2018, and agreed to their 2019 work arrangements. The meeting concluded that the Secretariat has fulfilled its decision-making role, and the five Party groups affiliated with the other institutions have

  • earnestly studied and implemented Xi Jinping’s socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era
  • implemented the spirit of the 19th National Congress and the Second and Third Plenary Sessions of the 19th Central Committee
  • safeguarded the authority and centralised leadership of the Central Committee
  • implemented the decision-making of the Central Committee
  • fulfilled their duties concerning the overall situation of Party work and the State
  • strengthened Party groups’ self-construction, and implemented democratic centralism

The meeting stressed that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and is the key year for building a well-off society in an all-round way. All upper-level organisations should keep the general tone of work steadily and strive for progress. In particular, the Central Secretariat should consciously set an example in strengthening and maintaining the authority and centralised and unified leadership of the Central Committee, improve its deliberative ability, and better serve the decision-making and overall work of the Central Committee. Party organisations at all levels and the broad masses of Party members and cadres should always keep a high degree of consistency with the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core, so as to ensure the unity of will, action and pace of the whole Party.

Efforts should also be made to

  • strengthen political belief and political leadership
  • improve political ability
  • purify political ecology
  • comprehensively promote the Party’s political construction to improve its quality
  • conduct in-depth study and publicity
  • strengthen supervision and inspection of implementation

The meeting also discussed ‘Regulations on requesting instructions and reporting important matters’ and ‘Regulations on selection and appointment of leading cadres of the Party and government’.

In the former, departments in all regions should deeply understand the importance of strengthening the work of requesting instructions and reporting.

Where the latter is concerned, new policies and regulations have responded to some emerging situations and problems in cadre work and looked to build a high-quality professional cadre team, loyal and clean. Party committees and groups at all levels should act to form a systematic, scientific, standardised, effective and simple system of selecting and employing persons. Both regulations reflect the need to upgrade the level of institutionalisation, standardisation and scientific quality in their respective areas.