Editor’s Note for Monday, May 23, 2022

A note for Access newsletter readers from Jeremy Goldkorn.

editor's note from jeremy goldkorn, editor in chief of supchina

My thoughts today:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet arrived in China today at the start of the first trip by a holder of the office since 2005 amid what Reuters calls “concerns that it could lead to an endorsement rather than scrutiny of China’s rights record.”

She’ll be in China for six days, and will visit Xinjiang. There’s nothing she can do that will please both Beijing and its international critics. We’ll keep you updated on her progress.

It’s not only Michelle Bachelet that is going to find it difficult to speak this week. The Chinese Communist Party issued a document on May 16 about “Party building among retired cadres” in the Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 era.

The main advice to retired senior officials: Shut your mouth! Or in the words of the People’s Daily:

It is necessary to ensure that retired cadres, especially Party members who have held leadership positions, continue to listen to the Party’s words, follow the Party’s words, and consciously maintain a high degree of ideology, politics, and action with the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core.

It is not allowed to arbitrarily discuss the major policies of the Party Central Committee, not to spread politically negative remarks, and not to participate in the activities of illegal social organizations.

This seems directed at the people who have been cited as talking, in recent weeks, of leadership issues, the people who have hinted to Western media journalists that there is some disagreement at the top in Beijing about China’s current direction under the Chairman of Everything.

Our word of the day is taken from today’s Foreign Ministry briefing:

China will take firm actions to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests. We mean what we say.

中方将采取坚定行动维护自身主权和安全利益,我们说到做到。

zhōngfāng jiāng cǎiqǔ jiāndìng xíngdòng wéihù zìshēn zhǔquán hé ānquán lìyì, wǒmen shuō dào zuò dào.

This language is totally milquetoast by current Beijing standards. Read into that what you will.