context: The Politburo meeting at the end of every year evaluates the Party’s major work in that year and outlines major tasks for the following year. The 20th Party Congress will be convened by end 2022, which is especially meaningful for Xi. Given the Congress will address power transition, the entire country enters a ‘sensitive period’ normally more than one year prior to the Party Congress, when turmoils may be created deliberately in order to shake up personnel arrangements. Considering the Q3 economic data, Beijing does not want an economic downturn which may usher in social instability which would distract from the event. Besides stability maintenance in security, prioritising social stability also normally signals no big change in policy and regulation but a focus on ‘holding operations’ in all areas.

Apart from discussing economic issues, the Politburo meeting on 6 Dec 2021 signaled the leadership’s confidence in the domestic situation and called for prioritising social stability for the 20th Party Congress in 2022, as through the ‘six protections’ and ‘six stabilities’. The major tasks specified by the meeting encompassed

  • overall success in the following areas (CP note: also the areas on which the Party Centre is focusing)
    • the leading place in economic development
    • 14th 5-year plan
    • strategic tech and industrial chains
    • people’s livelihoods
    • the continuing push of reform and opening up
    • ecological civilisation
  • scitech and industry policy, underlining
    • manufacturing
    • the practice of top designs and policies
    • R&D of national strategic and core technologies
    • enterprises as the main force of innovation
    • the interaction of technology, industry and finance
  • reform and opening up ensuring the development, especially
    • spatial coordination (deployment)
    • rational distribution of market resources
    • high-quality opening-up
  • social policy
    • guaranteeing the baseline of people’s livelihoods
      • particularly ensuring employment
    • implementation of the new family policy
    • unified basic endowment insurance
    • basic public services