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20th Congress Election Commentary - The Kazakhstan Situation - Xi-Lukashenko Chat - State Council: Accelerate Major Projects - Xi is Rénmín de Hǎo Lǐngxiù - Qu Qingshan on 10 Persistences
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy from the Friday, January 11, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: Let’s begin with Xi’s conversations with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Maltese President George Vella.
The conversation with Lukashenko (English report) underscores the alignment of interests between the two sides. After offering a positive appraisal of bilateral ties over the past 30 years, Xi said that the “China-Belarus relationship has set a good example of friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries.” He then spoke about “the complex changes in the current international and regional situation.” He said that “the two countries have cooperated effectively on multilateral occasions including the United Nations, and firmly supported each other in safeguarding their core national interests, which has demonstrated the strategic value of China-Belarus cooperation.”
He called for continued cooperation and emphasised the need to “practice true multilateralism.” China, he added, “opposes external forces interfering in Belarus’ internal affairs, and, as always, supports Belarus in pursuing a development path suited to its own national conditions. Xi said the two sides should advocate the common values of mankind, guide the international community to adopt a correct approach to democracy and human rights, and promote the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Lukashenko thanked China “for always providing firm political and moral support for Belarus.” He also called for the “development of the Belarus-China industrial park and deepening cooperation in such fields as pandemic response, traditional Chinese medicine, trade, investment and education.”
Speaking to Vella, Xi described (English report) China and Malta as “old and good friends that have stood the test of time.” He added: “Xi noted that in the face of such challenges as the international financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have always helped and supported each other. The China-Malta relationship, he said, has become a model of relations between countries that are different in size, social system, history and culture.”
“Xi called for joint efforts to deepen practical cooperation, advance Belt and Road cooperation, and expand cooperation in key areas including economy, trade, investment, health care, clean energy, transportation and logistics. The two countries should also step up cultural exchanges and cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine, and expand exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education, youth and tourism, so as to foster more driving forces for China-Malta friendship, Xi said. Noting that Malta has always been a positive force in advancing relations between China and the European Union (EU), Xi said China is ready to work with Malta to uphold the general direction of China-EU cooperation and promote the sound and steady development of China-EU relations.
Vella said that ties between the two countries “have become increasingly mature and scored remarkable achievements;” “Malta cherishes the precious opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative”; and Malta firmly adheres to the one-China policy and firmly supports multilateralism”; it “is ready to play a positive role in promoting the development of EU-China relations.”
Next, the weekly State Council meeting led to a decision (English report) to accelerate the implementation of major projects outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan. The report says that currently economic operation is a critical juncture of dealing with challenges. It is important to give higher priority to stabilising economic growth, continue the strategy of expanding domestic demand, not engage in 大水漫灌 - dà shuǐ mànguàn - (a reference to monetary flooding) and take targeted steps to boost consumption and investment.
Going ahead, the report says that:
First, accelerate the implementation of the 102 major engineering projects and key special projects identified in the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan. Ensure financing, land use and energy supply for critical sectors such as food and energy security, the advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries, logistics and telecommunications, and urban government-subsidised housing. We need to simplify procedures for projects that are listed in the plan and have the right conditions, in particular major water-conservancy projects, to accelerate the implementation. This is also seen as important for providing jobs and incomes to migrant workers. Also, “guide the places where the investment of newly started projects is
Second, according to the requirement of fund-follow for projects, the 1.2 trillion yuan of local government special bond funds issued in the fourth quarter of last year should be put into specific projects as soon as possible. Accelerate the issuance of the front-loaded 2022 bond quota; make good use of investment from the central government budget, focus on projects that are under construction or can start construction as soon as possible, and leverage more non-governmental investment.
Third, deepen reform of the review and approval system for investment projects and introduce innovative measures such as a commitment system and regional evaluation. Study and introduce policies and measures to revitalize existing assets.
The meeting also stressed accelerating the centralised bulk-buying of drugs, especially medicines for chronic diseases and common illnesses, and high-value medical consumables such as dental implants to further reduce medical costs. By the end of last year, the government procurement had helped save 260 billion yuan in medical-insurance costs and patient expenditure. The report also says focusing on chronic diseases and common diseases, it is important to continue to promote centralised drug collection at the national level, and all localities will carry out provincial or inter-provincial alliance procurement of drugs outside the national centralised drug collection. By the end of this year, more than 350 drugs will be collected at the national and provincial levels in each province.
“With a history of more than 5,000 years, the Chinese nation has created a splendid culture, which makes an important contribution to the progress of human civilization, Wang noted. Wang said that the Communist Party of China, leading the Chinese people in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, has created a new model for human advancement. China will continue to strengthen solidarity and coordination with other countries to pool forces for the advancement of civilization and jointly create a better future, Wang said. ‘We are willing to share the opportunity of development with the world, accelerate the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and deepen the Belt and Road cooperation,’ he said. ‘Achieving democracy and freedom is the shared mission for all mankind, and the rich political civilizations should not be measured by only one yardstick,’ said Wang.”
Moving on, today’s story of Xi meeting grassroots cadres is focussed on his travels to Shenshan village in Jiangxi Province. The article says that the phenomenal/earth-shaking (fāntiānfùdì-翻天覆地) change that the village has experienced essentially started after Xi’s visit there in February 2016. The piece tells us that the villagers recall how Xi “braved the cold and walked through the snow to this small mountainous village,” spoke to the villagers and ate with them, encouraging them to “journey on the path of common prosperity.”
In this piece, we are told that is a 人民的好领袖 - rénmín de hǎo lǐngxiù - good leader of the people.
There’s also this recollection: “Peng Shuisheng, an old Party Secretary, met General Secretary Xi Jinping. He excitedly shook his hand and said: “It's so cold and it is such a long road. It is a blessing for us that you have come to our poor mountain village. You are not too bad! ‘The general secretary smiled, took my hand in both his hands, and later patted my hand on the back. The general secretary’s hands are very kind and warm’.” 见到了习近平总书记，彭水生激动地握住总书记的手说：“天气那么冷、路那么远，你还到我们穷山沟来，是我们穷山沟的福气。你呀，不错咧!” “总书记面带微笑，双手握着我的手，后来又拍拍我的手背。总书记的手很宽厚，很温暖。”回想起当时的情景，彭水生露出了幸福的笑容.
Finally, a commentary looking ahead at the 20th Party Congress elections. The piece calls on Party organisations across electoral units to improve their political standing, effectively enhance political judgment, understanding, and execution, put this work in an important position, strengthen organisational leadership and make careful arrangements to ensure the successful completion of the election of deputies. 选举产生党的二十大代表，是一项重大政治任务。各选举单位党组织要提高政治站位，切实增强政治判断力、政治领悟力、政治执行力，把这项工作摆到重要位置，加强组织领导，周密安排部署，确保代表选举工作圆满完成.
The commentary calls for propaganda effort and putting together documentation and process manuals so as to guide Party members to “conscientiously fulfil their obligations and actively and responsibly participate in the recommendation and nomination of deputies…It is necessary to ensure the participation rate of grassroots party organizations and party members; pay special attention to the actual situation of floating party members, retired party members, elderly and infirm party members and other groups, listen to opinions…and organise them to participate in recommendation and nomination. 通过组织党员集中学习、开展宣传、编印代表选举工作手册等多种形式，教育引导广大党员深刻认识选举二十大代表的重大意义，了解掌握代表选举工作的政策规定、程序环节，认真履行义务，积极负责地参与代表人选的推荐提名。要保证基层党组织和党员的参与率，特别注意针对流动党员和离退休党员、年老体弱党员等群体实际情况，采取电话、信函联系、上门通报情况等方式听取意见，组织他们参与推荐提名.
The next paragraph calls for “strengthening the leadership of the Party” being the fundamental component of this process of the election of deputies. The piece calls for “rigorous inspection” and highlighting “the political importance of selecting deputies, strictly enforcing the qualifications for deputies, giving top priority to political standards, ensure that deputies are selected accurately and faithfully, conduct collective research and careful review, and select the best from the best at each level so as to ensure the quality of deputies.” 要充分发挥党组织领导和把关作用。旗帜鲜明加强党的领导，是做好代表选举工作的根本保证。要严格组织考察，突出把好人选政治关，严格代表资格条件，坚持把政治标准放在首位，把人选考准考实，集体研究、认真审核，逐级遴选、好中择优, 保证代表质量.
The next paragraph talks about discipline. “We should be serious about political discipline, organisational discipline and election discipline. Strict discipline is an important guarantee for the smooth election of deputies. We should always put discipline and rules first, insist on education, warning and prevention, thoroughly study and publicise the provisions of the Party Central Committee on serious discipline, especially the ‘Ten Prohibitions’, make full use of Hengyang, Nanchong, and Liaoning to carry out warning education, and guide party members and cadres to strengthen discipline consciousness and strictly observe discipline rules. We must always maintain a high-pressure situation, strictly supervise and strictly investigate and deal with it. We will never tolerate or be soft on unhealthy practices such as vote-buying, lobbying, cheating, fraud and election sabotage and other violations of law and discipline…With the most resolute attitude and the most decisive measures, we should ensure that the election of deputies is clean and upright. 要严肃政治纪律、组织纪律和选举纪律。严肃纪律是代表选举顺利进行的重要保障。要始终把纪律和规矩挺在前面，坚持教育在先、警示在先、预防在先，深入学习宣传党中央关于严肃纪律的各项规定特别是“十严禁”纪律要求，充分运用湖南衡阳、四川南充、辽宁等地拉票贿选、破坏选举案件开展警示教育，引导党员、干部强化纪律自觉，严守纪律规矩。要始终保持高压态势，严格监督、从严查处，对拉票贿选、说情打招呼、跑风漏气、弄虚作假等不正之风和破坏选举等违规违纪违法行为，一查到底、严肃处理，绝不姑息、绝不手软。要实行一岗双责，出了问题要问责，以最坚决的态度、最果断的措施，确保代表选举风清气正.
The next paragraph talks about being thorough in terms of ideological and political work. It calls for guiding Party members to grasp the spirit of the CPC Central Committee, put the cause of the Party and the interests of the people first, correctly exercise democratic rights, correctly treat recommended nominations and election results, correctly treat unsuccessful comrades, and encourage comrades who have not been nominated or elected to correctly treat organizations and comrades and continue to work hard. It also calls for aligning thinking with the spirit of the CPC Central Committee and focussing on implementing the major decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee. 要深入细致地做好思想政治工作。教育引导党员和代表准确领会党中央精神，以党的事业和人民利益为重，正确行使民主权利，正确对待推荐提名和选举结果，正确对待落选的同志，鼓励没有被提名或没有当选的同志正确看待组织、正确看待同志，放下思想包袱，继续努力工作.
The final paragraph talks about Party organizations across all electoral units needing to set up special working organisations and select comrades who are loyal to the party, fair and upright, familiar with the work and have excellent work style to carry out the task of elections. 各选举单位党组织要建立专门工作机构，挑选对党忠诚、公道正派、熟悉业务、作风过硬的同志承担这项工作.
Wang met with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, and attended a ceremony to launch a series of events marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Sri Lanka, and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact. Wang said the two sides were “good friends” and “good partners in common development”; he said that “China has provided a large amount of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supplies to Sri Lanka.” He added that “Sri Lanka is on the key route of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia.”
“The first phase of the Colombo Port City project has been completed and new programs are being launched, said Wang, citing that the cooperative management of the Port City has brought profits for Sri Lanka, the Hambantota Port's cargo throughput has continued to see new high, and the industrial zone is developed in full swing.” He added: “the two sides should further deepen their mutual political trust, firmly support each other on issues of core interests, significant concerns and national dignity.”
This is useful to note: Wang “said the two countries opened the door for friendly exchanges by signing the Rubber-Rice Pact, demonstrating their national spirit in the fight against hegemony and power politics, and breaking the Cold War isolation imposed by the West. ‘The spirit of the pact characterized by independence, self-reliance, unity and mutual support is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples, and such spirit should be carried forward’.”
Wang also spoke about restarting FTA talks between the two sides; he added that ties “do not target any third party and should not be interfered with by any third party.”
Do also note this from The Hindu:
“‘The President pointed out that it would be a great relief to the country if the attention could be paid on restructuring the debt repayments as a solution to the economic crisis that has arisen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the Presidential Media Division said in a statement on Mr. Gotabaya’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Colombo. Mr. Wang concluded his five-nation tour of littoral countries in the Indian Ocean Region, with a one-day visit to Colombo on Sunday, following a visit to the Maldives. Sri Lanka owes China over $5 billion, amounting to about 10% of the country’s total foreign debt. Mr. Gotabaya’s request to Beijing to restructure it comes during an unprecedented economic meltdown in Sri Lanka, with the country’s foreign reserves rapidly declining following the devastating impact of the pandemic on its crucial export and tourism sectors over the last two years. In November, Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves stood at $1.6 billion, triggering widespread concern about how Colombo might pay its high imports bill, especially when the Sri Lankan rupee has considerably weakened.”
“China is ready to firmly support Kazakhstan in maintaining stability and curbing violence at a critical moment when the future and destiny of Kazakhstan are at stake. Wang Yi stressed that three days ago, President Xi Jinping sent a verbal message to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, publicly expressing support, which fully reflects the high level of permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Kazakhstan, and once again confirms the deep friendship between the two countries in times of crisis. China is ready to work with Kazakhstan to implement the important political consensus reached by the two heads of state, and is willing to do its best to provide Kazakhstan with necessary support and assistance.”
The readout further says:
“Wang Yi said that on this National Day of Mourning in Kazakhstan, China would like to pay tribute to the frontline law enforcement officers who died in the fight against violence and terrorism in Kazakhstan, and express our condolences and sympathies to the innocent people and the injured. At this moment, the Chinese government and people stand firmly together with the government and people of Kazakhstan. As a saying goes, ‘Rainbow comes after a storm’. We believe that under the strong leadership of President Tokayev, Kazakhstan will be able to fully restore peace and stability and overcome this ‘darkest hour’, and Kazakhstan will be even more resilient and stronger. Wang Yi said that the sudden chaos in Kazakhstan shows that Central Asia is still confronted with severe challenges, and once again reveals that certain external forces do not want peace and tranquility in our region. As a neighboring country, we hope more than anyone else that Central Asia will maintain long-term stability and achieve development and revitalization. Wang Yi proposed that China is willing to strengthen cooperation with Kazakhstan in law enforcement and security sectors, and increase bilateral cooperation in anti-interference so as to maintain the security of political systems and regimes of both countries. We will work together to prevent and oppose any attempts of ‘color revolutions’, and jointly oppose any interference and infiltration by external forces; ensure the security and smooth operation of major China-Kazakhstan cooperation projects, and believe that Kazakhstan will effectively guarantee the security of Chinese institutions and personnel in Kazakhstan.”
Page 3: First, this feature piece from Guizhou talking about the positive effects of the poverty alleviation policy and employment support that has been provided. This is the story of a specific relocation site from Zhijin County. The piece talks about work done by Zhang Hongfeng, Director of Zhijin County’s employment bureau to gather data about labour availability, skills and employment requirements. People were encouraged to set up their own businesses but also there was an effort to connect them to enterprises. For instance, the piece talks about Lao Yang who belongs to the Miao ethnic minority group and was encouraged to establish an embroidery factory. The key point is that this effort has led to increased incomes for people, and that this has proved to be a pathway to common prosperity.
Second a story about grassroots policing role models being honoured as “最美基层民警” the most beautiful grassroots police.
Page 7: A report (English report) about Song Taiping, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Hebei Provincial People’s Congress, being expelled from the Communist Party of China for grave violations of Party discipline and laws. The CCDI and NSC had been investigating Song. They found that:
Song had “lost his ideals and convictions and betrayed his original aspirations and mission…he “violated the eight-point frugality code on Party and government conduct by accepting banquets and travel arrangements that may have compromised the fulfilment of his duties, on many occasions, and entering private clubs in disregard of rules. Song also sold official posts, breached Party rules on personal matter reporting, accepted money, valuable paintings and other property, and engaged in profit-making activities in violation of regulations. He also used his positions to seek benefits for others in project contracting, business operations and job promotion, and obtained huge amounts of money and gifts in exchange, said the statement. Song has severely breached the Party discipline, been involved in serious violations of duty-related laws, and is suspected of taking bribes.”
On the theory page, we have a piece by Qu Qingshan on the spirit of the 6th Plenum. He basically emphasises the 十个坚持 - the 10 persistences/points that were the learnings and experiences outlined in the history resolution. I am not going into the details of the article, but this is useful to note, given the recent controversy around a Nikkei piece which drew from Qu’s December article praising Deng.
He writes 10 persistences were arrived at “under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core;” they were “carefully summarized on the basis of concentrating the wisdom of the whole Party and listening to opinions and suggestions from all sides. They were carefully summarised on the basis of fully respecting the first two historical resolutions, and the assessments made by Party congresses, plenary sessions and main representatives of the Party on the major events, important meetings and important figures of the Party since the reform and opening up. It was carefully summarised on the basis of timely adoption and absorption of the latest research achievements in the field of party history research. The historical experience of ten persistences provides us with a yardstick, which tells us what is right, what is wrong, what is truth and what is fallacy, so that we can distinguish right from wrong, unify our thinking, strengthen unity and pool our strength.” “十个坚持”历史经验是在唯物史观、大历史观、正确党史观的指导下认真总结的；是在以习近平同志为核心的党中央的坚强领导下，在集中全党智慧、听取各方面意见建议的基础上认真总结的；是在充分尊重党作出的前两个历史决议和改革开放以来历次党的全国代表大会、中央全会以及党的主要领导对党的重大事件、重要会议、重要人物所作的评价的基础上认真总结的；是在及时采纳和吸收党史研究领域最新研究成果的基础上认真总结的. “十个坚持”历史经验提供给我们的是标尺，告诉我们什么是正确、什么是错误，什么是真理、什么是谬误，从而能够分清是非、统一思想、加强团结、凝聚力量...
On the international page, there’s a report (English report by Xinhua) about CSTO members meeting to support the Kazakh regime’s actions. It says that “all parties at the meeting expressed their support for the actions taken by the Kazakh side to restore domestic stability and constitutional order, and agreed to continue to maintain contact until the CSTO peacekeeping force completes its mission in Kazakhstan.”
Also note, although not in PD, Wang Yi spoke to Sergey Lavrov. They spoke about bilateral ties and the Olympics, and then this:
“The two sides exchanged views mainly on the situation in Kazakhstan. Lavrov introduced the assessment of the situation in Kazakhstan made by the special summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), saying that more and more information clearly shows that the current chaos in Kazakhstan is a riot orchestrated by external forces. This is also the view of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev himself and Kazakhstan. The CSTO dispatched peacekeeping troops to take action at the request of the Kazakh side, and the situation in Kazakhstan has improved significantly. Wang Yi stressed, President Xi Jinping has specifically sent a verbal message to President Tokayev, publicly expressing that China firmly opposes any deliberate attempt by external forces to provoke unrest and instigate a "color revolution" in Kazakhstan. China agrees with President Tokayev's judgment on the nature of the violent and terrorist incidents in Kazakhstan, and supports the CSTO in helping Kazakhstan crack down on violent and terrorist forces and in playing a positive role in restoring stability in Kazakhstan on the premise of respecting Kazakhstan's sovereignty. Wang Yi said, China and Russia, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and friendly neighbors of Central Asian countries, should never allow chaos or war to erupt in the region. The two sides should continue to deepen coordination and cooperation, oppose interference by external forces in the internal affairs of Central Asian countries, and guard against "color revolutions" and the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism. We should leverage our respective strengths to help Central Asian countries fight the pandemic, develop their economies and eradicate the breeding ground for turmoil. We should support the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CSTO in strengthening coordination and cooperation to jointly and effectively address various challenges to regional security.