An aerospace engineer who previously worked on China’s manned space program, Zhejiang’s top CCP leader, Yuan Jiajun (袁家军), knows all about soaring into the cosmos. But this week his performance at his province’s latest leadership gathering was stellar in an entirely different way – offering soaring praise of his top boss, Xi Jinping.

An official news release yesterday in Hangzhou noted that the curtain had closed on Zhejiang province’s 15th CCP Congress the previous day, and that it had “successfully completed its agenda and tasks.” It then shared important snippets of the speech delivered to the congress by Yuan Jiajun, who became Zhejiang’s Party secretary in August 2020, after serving nearly three years in the position of provincial governor.

Formerly president of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, Yuan Jiajun began his engineering studies in the 1980s at Beihang University, previously known as the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Screenshot of a profile at the Beijing Review of members of the Shenzhou space program in October 2010.

Though it claimed “fruitful political results,” the summary of Yuan’s remarks offered little in the way of agendas and tasks — but much in the way of “loyalty signaling,” or biaotai (表态), the registering of support for the top leader. The conference in Zhejiang, said Yuan, “must inspire the entire province to move forward unswervingly along the path guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping, to firmly endorse the ‘Two Establishes’, and to firmly achieve the ‘Two Protections.’”

The first of these two terms, the “Two Establishes” (两个确立), emerged in the wake of the Sixth Plenum last November. It is essentially a giftbox of loyalty to Xi, establishing him as 1) the unquestionable “core” leader of the CCP, and 2) his ideas as the bedrock of China’s future under the CCP. The phrase, once unpacked, is a claim to the legitimacy of Xi Jinping’s rule, and a challenge to any who might oppose him. Meanwhile, the “Two Protections” (两个维护) is about the need to 1) protect the “core” status of Xi Jinping within the CCP, and 2) to protect the centralized authority of the Party.

But Yuan went beyond the dry mathematics of loyalty signaling to offer more words of ardent conformity:  “We must always harbor a heart of gratitude to General Secretary Xi Jinping, a heart of love and respect, and a will to defend [him].  

CMP Staff

The China Media Project

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