What is Tracking People’s Daily?
If you are interested in Chinese politics, policy discourse and the narrative of the Communist Party of China, then this is a newsletter for you. Tracking People’s Daily is written by Manoj Kewalramani (more on me below).
From my perspective, the description of China’s information and policy environment as a black box is a misnomer. Of course, there is tremendous opacity. But like any other political entity, the leadership of the Communist Party too needs to communicate priorities and policies and shape narratives among cadres, enterprises, citizenry and the world at large. This is key to its legitimacy. Therefore, the information environment is more akin to a stained-glass window: there is an effort by the Party to project a certain image, but one cannot entirely control the light that comes through.
So, this newsletter is an effort in search of that light. It provides translations, summaries and analysis of the coverage in the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, every weekday. Munching through the proverbial “sawdust by the bucketful,” the goal is to identify patterns and shifts within jargon-filled texts that can potentially inform of changes related to priorities, policies and personnel.
You can read this interview with The Wire China for more on why I do this and what you can gain through the newsletter or listen to the below episode of the Pekingology Podcast with Jude Blanchette.
Tracking People’s Daily began as a free newsletter two years ago, essentially as an exercise in personal note-taking after my daily reading. Over time, the newsletter’s readership has grown significantly. Today, it comprises people working in government, research and media to those engaged in private companies, investment banks, and, most importantly, university education.
For that last set of people in particular, I remain committed to maintaining this as a free newsletter. That said, as the readership has grown, so has my time commitment. Essentially, my approach has evolved from personal note-taking to providing a more in-depth perspective for a discerning subscriber base.
Therefore, I am finally introducing an option to upgrade to a paid newsletter. If you find the content of the newsletter valuable and would like to support the work, I humbly request you to take this up.
There are three options to upgrade:
The annual subscription: INR 3200 annually (approximately $40).
The standard monthly subscription: INR 300 monthly (approximately $3.7). This gives you flexibility, but is around 11.11% more expensive than the annual subscription.
Founder subscription: INR 6500 annually, or another amount at your discretion if you feel that the newsletter benefits you professionally and you don’t mind paying a premium amount to pledge your support.
What you get in return is my gratitude, an additional weekly analytical brief based on the People's Daily's coverage, and a monthly brief on Chinese media and strategic affairs community’s discourse on India. Both of these will begin from March 2023.
If you choose to remain a free subscriber, then nothing changes: you will continue to receive the daily newsletter as you have been receiving it.
I am Manoj Kewalramani, Fellow-China Studies and the Chairperson of the Indo-Pacific Studies Programme at the Takshashila Institution, a leading public policy education centre located in Bengaluru, India. I am also a Senior Associate (Non-resident), Freeman Chair in China Studies, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
My research interests range from Chinese politics, foreign policy and approaches to new technologies to addressing questions of how India can work with like-minded partners to deal with the challenges presented by China's rise.
I am is the author of Smokeless War: China’s Quest for Geopolitical Dominance, which discusses China’s political, diplomatic, economic and narrative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
My work has been featured in several media publications, including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Al Jazeera, AFP, Nikkei Asia, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, and the The Diplomat. In August 2022, I also had the privilege of testifying as an expert witness before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China’s zero-COVID policy.
You can reach out to me either via email on manoj(at)takshashila(dot)org(dot)in or on Twitter @theChinaDude