|Nos 1, 2 and 3 only in the NSC|
Yu Zhengsheng, No 4 in the Standing Committee of the CCP's Politburo is normally considered as the leader in charge of the country's (restive) minorities, as well as Taiwan.
One could have thought that he would have been a pillar of the new National Security Commission (NSC) which will oversee, coordinate and monitor the country's foreign policy as well as the domestic and defence issues related to security.
Today in China, one of the major 'security' concerns is the restiveness of 'minorities' areas such Tibet and Xinjiang. Let us not forget that Mr. Yu is Chairman of both Central Working Coordination Small Groups on Tibet and Xinjiang; he is also responsible for the relations with Taiwan.
Incidentally, Yu Zhengsheng yesterday chaired the annual Taiwan Work Conference in Beijing where he called for concerted efforts from all levels of government to develop cross-strait relations and discourage the island from declaring its independence.
Yu even pleaded for renewed 'civilian-level' political dialogue in order to reach Beijing's objective, i.e. the cross-strait reunification.
Though responsible for these important security issues, Yu will not seat on the National Security Commission with his colleagues of the Standing Committee. President Xi Jinping will be the chairperson, while Premier Li Keqiang and the Chairman of the National People's Congress, Zhang Dejiang will be deputy chiefs.
A Politburo statement said that the commission will be responsible to "make overall plans and co-ordinate major issues and major work concerning national security". The NSC should directly report to the Politburo and its Standing Committee.
President Xi, who will also chair the new Leading Small Group on Reforms had earlier declared: "Ensuring [the party's] political safety and political power will be the primary tasks facing the National Security Commission," adding that the NSC would help deal with threats at home and overseas.
The South China Morning Post commented: "Observers wondered where it would sit in the state power structure and how it would align policies across the various intelligence, military and foreign affairs departments".
Why Mr. Yu is not part of it is a mystery (to me at least).
Xinhua had reported that Yu pressed for a political reunification with Taiwan: "All departments all over the country must steadfastly and wholeheartedly push for stable development of cross-strait relations, continue to promote cross-strait political mutual trust and interaction, while resolutely opposing any separatist attempt of Taiwan independence."
In the meantime, the regional CPPCC and People's Congress met in Tibet and decided to "strive to do a good job on people's livelihood... the starting point and foothold of all work".
Accordingly the Tibet Autonomous Region's Government decided to implement a series of policies on people's livelihood "so that people of all nationalities can feel the warmth of the party and the government".
Here are the new measures:
- To improve the basic cost of living allowances of low income people in urban and rural areas. For rural residents, the basic living allowance is improved from 440 yuan RMB (US $ 74) to 490 yuan RMB (US $ 80). For rural residents, it increases from 1750 yuan RMB to 1950 yuan RMB.
- To improve fiscal subsidy standard of medical system in agricultural and pastoral areas. The subsidy increases from 340 yuan RMB to 380 yuan RMB per person per year.
- To improve the fiscal subsidy standard of new rural social pension insurance. The subsidy increases from 105 yuan RMB to 120 yuan RMB per person per month.
- To improve the fiscal subsidy standard of basic medical insurance for urban residents. The subsidy increases from 300 yuan RMB to 340 yuan RMB per person per year.
- To improve the treatment of village doctors. It increases from 300 yuan RMB to 600 yuan RMB per person per month.
- To improve the basic compensation standard of epidemic prevention coordinators at village level.
- To improve the preschool subsidies, 'three guarantees' (namely eating, living, and studying fees) for herdsmen's and farmers' children who are receiving education from compulsory education to high school period, and student subsidies standard for poor children in urban areas. 200 yuan RMB are added on the basis of the original level.
- To improve the basic payment and performance evaluation standard of village cadres.
- To improve the living allowances standard of Senior party members, veteran cadres and old model workers. It increases 50 yuan RMB per person per month.
- To improve the support subsidy standard of rural residents enjoying 'five guarantees'. It increases from 2600 yuan RMB to 2900 yuan RMB per person per year.
- To distribute the living subsidy to staff in village and township authorities and public institutions in Tibet Autonomous Region.
It is doubtful; the tensions, the resentment is bound to continue.
It is all the more surprising that Mr. Yu has been side-lined and not made part of the National Security Committee.
Tibet and Xinjiang are indeed serious 'security' issues for Beijing.