context: Accounts of Politburo meetings are notable for what is said and what is not. It’s clear that political–specifically Party–matters are dominating discussions at the top at presently; the economy is not presented to readers as the main priority. Moreover, the final passage signals dissatisfaction with the way these meetings themselves are being run, pointing to a level of discontent with process and colleagues that is uncommon.

On 7 January, Xi Jinping 习近平 CCP General Secretary presided over a Politburo Standing Committee meeting to hear work reports from Party groups of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, State Council, Central People’s Political Consultative Conference, Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, as well as the Central Secretariat.

The meeting acknowledged progress and contributions from those groups over the past year. Stressing that this year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, is crucial to building a moderately prosperous society and achieving the first centenary goal, it urged those groups to take the lead in

  • strengthening the ‘four consciousnesses’ (of political ideology, the overall picture, the core and the Party line)
  • strengthening the ‘four self-confidences’
  • maintaining ideological and political consistency with the Central Committee and Xi Jinping as Party core

It also required them to

  • impose strict Party discipline
  • be earnest in intra-Party political life
  • strictly execute democratic centralism
  • set an example in following the eight-point regulation
  • guard against and overcome formalism and bureaucratism

The Central Secretariat was called upon to set an example in strengthening and safeguarding the Party’s authority, having the courage to act, improving deliberative capacity as well as focus on carrying out Politburo Standing Committee work arrangements and tasks assigned by the Central Committee.