News: A national conference on public security was held in Beijing on 7 and 8 May. The conference was attended by a number of senior officials including Chinese president Xi Jinping, PBSC member and Vice Premier Han Zheng, and PBSC member and Central Committee Secretariat Wang Huning. In his keynote speech, Xi stressed the importance of police loyalty and competence, and the need to reform through technology. Last but not least, Xi also pointed out the “zero-tolerance” to any violations of party discipline within the police force.
Quick Take: It’s been 16 years since last such conference on public security was held, under the lead of then-president Hu jintao in 2003. The implication is two-fold—firstly, it was Xi’s first appearance at such high-profile conference centered on public security. The department has previously been relatively sidelined from core political dynamic; however, as the former Public Security Vice Minister Meng Hongwei (孟宏伟) was taken down for corruption and political wrongdoings in October 2018, it has then gained much attention and became a key target of CCDI’s antigraft investigation in 2019. There have recently been countless disruptions within the department and multiple departmental and county-level officials taken down nationwide. Secondly, loyalty to the party and to Xi personally becomes an increasingly important factor in officialdom, not just in public security but also in all government organs.