Discover more from Tracking People's Daily
2nd Plenum Communique - Finance & Tech Sector Institutional Reform Likely - Qin Gang to Visit India - Warning US on Taiwan
Here are the key reports and articles that I found noteworthy from the People’s Daily’s edition on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
Page 1: The top story today is the communique following the second plenary session of the 20th Central Committee.
Xinhua says that a total of 203 full members and 170 alternate members of the CPC Central Committee attended the session. Deputy secretaries of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and leading officials of related departments were also present in a non-voting capacity.
In terms of outcomes:
The session adopted a list of proposed candidates for the leading positions of state institutions to be recommended to the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), and a list of proposed candidates for the leadership of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee to be recommended to the first session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee.
The session adopted a plan for the reform of Party and state institutions.
Xi Jinping also presented a work report, and delivered remarks on the plan for reform of Party and state institutions.
The communique then offers a very positive assessment of the new Politburo’s work so far.
“The plenary session fully affirmed the work of the Politburo since the first plenum of the 20th Central Committee. It agreed that faced with a severe and complex international environment and arduous tasks of domestic reform, development and stability, the Politburo has fully implemented the spirit of the 20th Party Congress and the first plenary Session of the 20th Central Committee. It has held high the great banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implemented Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, adhered to the general tone of striving for progress while maintaining stability, and has better coordinated the two overall situations at home and abroad, epidemic prevention and control, economic and social development, and development and security. It has enhanced the work on learning, propagating and implementing the spirit of the 20th Party Congress, solemnly mourned Comrade Jiang Zemin, done a good job in the preparations for the transition at the NPC and CPPCC, dynamically optimised and adjusted the measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, made efforts to promote a steady economic recovery, promoted high-quality development, solidly promoted the construction of socialist democracy and the rule of law and publicised ideological and cultural work, earnestly safeguarded and improved people’s livelihood, resolutely safeguarded national security and social stability, started a new journey of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, further deepened comprehensive and strict party governance, and made new strides in various tasks.” 全会充分肯定党的二十届一中全会以来中央政治局的工作。一致认为，面对严峻复杂的国际环境和艰巨繁重的国内改革发展稳定任务，中央政治局全面贯彻党的二十大和二十届一中全会精神，高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜，全面贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想，坚持稳中求进工作总基调，更好统筹国内国际两个大局，更好统筹疫情防控和经济社会发展，更好统筹发展和安全，兴起学习宣传贯彻党的二十大精神热潮，隆重悼念江泽民同志，做好全国人大、全国政协换届准备工作，动态优化调整新冠疫情防控措施，着力推动经济稳步回升、促进高质量发展，扎实推进社会主义民主法治建设和宣传思想文化工作，切实保障和改善民生，坚决维护国家安全和社会稳定，开启中国特色大国外交新征程，进一步深化全面从严治党，各项工作迈出新的步伐.
Xinhua English summarises the next bit well; I’ll also share the corresponding Chinese language text:
“The plenum emphasized that upcoming sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee are of great significance for further mobilizing the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups to strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts. It was pointed out at the plenum that since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made deepening the reform of Party and state institutions an important task in modernizing China's system and capacity for governance. As a result, the functions of the Party and state institutions have been transformed in a systematic and holistic manner, which has provided a strong guarantee for the Party and the country to make historic achievements and see historic changes in the pursuit of the cause of the Party and the country. Valuable experience has also been accumulated in this process for further deepening the reform of Party and state institutions.” 全会强调，开好十四届全国人大一次会议和全国政协十四届一次会议，对进一步动员全党全国各族人民为全面建设社会主义现代化国家、全面推进中华民族伟大复兴而团结奋斗，具有重大意义。全会认为，党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为核心的党中央把深化党和国家机构改革作为推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的一项重要任务，按照坚持党的全面领导、坚持以人民为中心、坚持优化协同高效、坚持全面依法治国的原则，深化党和国家机构改革，党和国家机构职能实现系统性、整体性重构，为党和国家事业取得历史性成就、发生历史性变革提供了有力保障，也为继续深化党和国家机构改革积累了宝贵经验.
The next chunk says that the 20th Party Congress made “important arrangements for deepening institutional reforms.” This work must be guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, strengthening the centralised and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and promoting the modernisation of the national governance system and capacity. It must adhere to the general tone of striving for progress while maintaining stability, adapt to the requirements of promoting the five-pronged overall approach and four comprehensives, adapt to the needs of building a new development pattern and promoting high-quality development, and adhere to the problem orientation. Efforts are needed to deepen institutional reform in key areas and to ensure that the Party’s leadership over socialist modernisation becomes more refined in institutional setup, more optimised in the division of functions, more improved in institutions and mechanisms, and more efficient in operation and management. 全会指出，党的二十大对深化机构改革作出重要部署，对于全面建设社会主义现代化国家、全面推进中华民族伟大复兴意义重大而深远。必须以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导，以加强党中央集中统一领导为统领，以推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化为导向，坚持稳中求进工作总基调，适应统筹推进“五位一体”总体布局、协调推进“四个全面”战略布局的要求，适应构建新发展格局、推动高质量发展的需要，坚持问题导向，统筹党中央机构、全国人大机构、国务院机构、全国政协机构，统筹中央和地方，深化重点领域机构改革，推动党对社会主义现代化建设的领导在机构设置上更加科学、在职能配置上更加优化、在体制机制上更加完善、在运行管理上更加高效. — Quick take: Although we do not yet know what sort of changes are likely in the institutional structure. The use of “key areas” above is interesting. In this context, two areas are worth noting. First, there was this WSJ report by Keith Zhai and Lingling Wei last week on the Party possibly resurrecting the Central Financial Work Commission. Also, there has been reporting that the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security are likely to be separated from the State Council and subordinated to a new Internal Affairs Committee directly under the Central Committee. Both these would be really significant moves.
“All localities and departments must, from the overall perspective of the development of the cause of the Party and country, fully recognise the importance and urgency of the reform of Party and state institutions, fully understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, enhance the four consciousnesses, strengthen the four self-confidences and achieve the two safeguards, and consciously integrate their thoughts and actions into the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee, resolutely understand and uphold the authority and seriousness of the decision-making and deployment of the CPC Central Committee, strengthen confidence and determination in reform, strengthen organisational leadership, and faithfully implement the tasks of institutional reform to the letter.” 全会强调，各地区各部门要站在党和国家事业发展全局高度，充分认识党和国家机构改革的重要性和紧迫性，深刻领悟“两个确立”的决定性意义，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”，自觉把思想和行动统一到党中央决策部署上来，坚决维护党中央决策部署的权威性和严肃性，坚定改革信心和决心，加强组织领导，不折不扣把机构改革任务落到实处. — Quick take: Quite the warning this is for everyone.
Xinhua English captures the next bits well: “Thoroughly studying, disseminating and implementing the guiding principles from the 20th CPC National Congress is the primary political task of the whole Party, both at present and in the near future, the plenary session stressed, calling for further efforts in this regard. It called on leading officials to continue setting good examples in comprehensively studying, grasping and implementing these guiding principles. Localities and departments should formulate and carry out detailed plans and initiatives in line with their realities to ensure that the guiding principles are implemented, it stressed.”
“At present, the world is undergoing momentous and rapid changes unseen in a century, and it has entered a new phase of turbulence and transformation…China has entered a development period in which strategic opportunities, risks and challenges are concurrent, and uncertainties and unforeseen factors are rising, and it must therefore be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms. At home, China faces many deep-seated problems regarding reform, development and stability, with the triple pressures of shrinking demand, disrupted supply and weakening expectations remaining relatively high, the session underscored, adding that the foundation for economic recovery needs to be further consolidated, and unexpected circumstances may occur anytime. The plenary session urged all Party members to remain confident and strategically clear-headed, and carry forward the fighting spirit to strive to achieve the goals and tasks for the year. It stressed the need to fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, accelerate the creation of a new development pattern, and pursue high-quality development. More efforts should be made to expand domestic demand, guarantee and improve the well-being of the people and advance rural revitalization across the board, the session stressed. Reform and opening up should be resolutely deepened, and a series of strategic, creative and pioneering reform measures should be put forward focusing on the goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects, with new breakthroughs in important areas, it said.”
There are some additional points in the PD report. One of which is this: “Adhere to and improve the basic socialist economic system, improve the modern enterprise system with China characteristics, strengthen and improve modern financial supervision, promote high-level opening to the outside world, and make overall plans for reforms in various fields.” 要坚持和完善社会主义基本经济制度，完善中国特色现代企业制度，加强和完善现代金融监管，推动高水平对外开放，统筹谋划好各领域的改革.
Another is: “Efforts should be made to strengthen the work of safeguarding and improving people’s livelihood, implement the policy of giving priority to employment, ensure the basic livelihood of people in need, strengthen the social security net, make up for the shortcomings in medical and health services, especially with regard to urban and rural primary medical and health services, and improve the policy system for supporting more births.” 要着力加强保障和改善民生各项工作，落实落细就业优先政策，保障好困难群众的基本生活，扎牢社会保障网，补齐医疗卫生特别是城乡基层医疗卫生公共服务的短板，完善生育支持政策体系. — Quick take: Why I’ve highlighted the second one is obvious. The first one is useful to note because it likely means that the financial support system linked to employment generation for firms that was set up during the pandemic is not going to go away for now. In other words, the policies related to tax and fee reduction and rebates will persist this year.
Another point says: “Efforts should be made to expand domestic demand, effectively improve the resilience and security of the industrial and supply chains, further optimise the market-oriented and legalised international business environment, effectively prevent and resolve major economic and financial risks, and maintain the bottom line of ensuring no systemic risks.” 要努力扩大内需，切实提升产业链供应链韧性和安全水平，进一步优化市场化法治化国际化营商环境，有效防范化解重大经济金融风险，守住不发生系统性风险的底线.
Towards the end, the communique talks about improving the system of comprehensive and strict Party governance, and taking the Party's political construction as the guide. It also calls for implementing the strategic plans on Party building laid out at the 20th Party Congress, ideological and political construction of the leading group of officials after their terms begin following the Two Sessions and achieving tangible results by carrying out in-depth study and learning of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era across the whole Party. 在全党深入开展学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想主题教育，要科学谋划、精心组织，强化理论学习和运用，取得实实在在的成效.
Efforts must be made to improve Party conduct and enforce Party discipline with a strict tone, and consistently tackle the problems of formalities for formalities' sake, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance. Integrated efforts should also be made to ensure officials do not dare to be, are not able to be, and do not want to be corrupt, so as to win the tough and prolonged battle against corruption.
Next on the page is a report on the CPC Central Committee holding a consultative meeting on Tuesday with non-CPC political parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and personages without party affiliation. This report has much more information on the areas where we are likely to see institutional changes.
Xinhua says that the “attendees were informed of the plan for deepening reform of Party and state institutions” and about the lists of proposed candidates for the leading positions of state institutions to be recommended to the 14th NPC and 14th CPPCC National Committee.
Xi Jinping delivered a speech, in which he said that: “The 20th Party Congress made important arrangements for deepening the reform of the Party and state institutions, and put forward clear requirements for deepening the reform of the financial system, improving the unified leadership system of the CPC Central Committee over scientific and technological work, optimising the government responsibility system and organisational structure, improving the decision-making and deliberation coordination mechanism of the CPC Central Committee, optimising the allocation of institutional resources, promoting grassroots governance with Party building, strengthening the Party building work in mixed-ownership enterprises and non-publicly-owned enterprises, and rationalising the management system of Party building work in trade associations, societies and chambers of commerce.” 习近平在讲话中指出，中共二十大对深化党和国家机构改革作出重要部署，在深化金融体制改革，完善党中央对科技工作统一领导的体制，优化政府职责体系和组织结构，完善党中央决策议事协调机构，优化机构编制资源配置，推进以党建引领基层治理，加强混合所有制企业、非公有制企业党建工作，理顺行业协会、学会、商会党建工作管理体制等方面提出明确要求.
He said the draft plan has been formed to implement the above. He added that “this round of reform of Party and state institutions has, overall, highlighted key sectors and fields, with sharp focus, great intensity, broad coverage, and deep impact on interests. It focuses on solving some difficult problems of public concern. It is expected to have a major impact on economic and social development.”
Then talking about the proposed list of candidates recommended for important positions in the 14th NPC and 14th CPPCC National Committee, Xi tells us about the priorities for selection of candidates.
He said that during the deliberation process, “it was believed that the individuals selected should fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a new era, deeply understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, enhance the four consciousnesses, strengthen the four self-confidences and achieve the two safeguards; it is necessary to unswervingly follow the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics, adhere to the organic unity of the Party's leadership, the people being the masters of the country, and governing the country according to law, strengthen the work of the NPC and CPPCC, and unite all forces; adhere to the principle of the Party’s management of cadres, adhere to the principle of having both integrity and ability, put integrity/morality first, and appoint people from all around the country on the basis of merit, implement the standards for good cadres in the new era and the requirements of loyalty, cleanliness, and responsibility, and strictly monitor candidates in the context of political relations, integrity, and image.” 在酝酿过程中，大家认为，新一届国家机构和全国政协领导人员人选的产生，要全面贯彻新时代中国特色社会主义思想，深刻领悟“两个确立”的决定性意义，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”；要坚定不移走中国特色社会主义政治发展道路，坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一，加强全国人大、全国政协的工作，团结凝聚各方面力量；要坚持党管干部原则，坚持德才兼备、以德为先、五湖四海、任人唯贤，落实新时代好干部标准和忠诚干净担当要求，严把人选政治关、廉洁关、形象关.
He added that keeping all this in mind, having full consideration of candidate conditions, structural requirements of all aspects and needs of work, the Politburo has recommended the candidates list. Xi then “hoped” that the attendees will support the plan and recommended candidates, and unsurprisingly, the attendees “voiced their support.”
Finally on the page is a report on Qiushi publishing Xi’s article in its latest edition. The article is just one paragraph, which reiterates the five key points that Xi spoke about while attending the deliberation session of the delegation from Inner Mongolia during the NPC session in March last year.
The five points are:
First, uphold the overall Party leadership and stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Second, socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only path to realise the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Third, working hard in unity is the path the Chinese people must take to make historic achievements.
Fourth, putting into practice the new development philosophy is the only way for China to grow and develop in the new era
Fifth, exercise full and rigorous self-governance of the Party
Page 2: There’s a report on an implementation plan to support the development of TCM. Briefly, Xinhua English says: “Under the plan, major projects will be launched focusing on fields such as the high-quality development of TCM health services, talent training, culture promotion and its inheritance, innovation, and modernization. Guided by the plan, China will see TCM become a major pillar for building a healthy China by 2025, with improvement in TCM quality, international influence, and scientific and technological innovation capacity.”
Page 3: First, there’s a report on Foreign Minister Qin Gang travelling to India to attend the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting. This will be Qin’s first engagement with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar since taking office. To me, this is a measure of the lack of outreach by Beijing towards Delhi in comparison to its renewed diplomacy with Australia, Japan, European states and even the US, until the balloon saga.
FYI: There was an in-person meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs last week, which discussed proposals for dealing with existing friction points in the standoff in Eastern Ladakh.
If you are interested, do check out this report by Nayanima Basu for ABP, where I shared some thoughts on the trajectory of India-China ties.
The Paper: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a few days ago that “one of the reasons that the world is so concerned about a crisis across the Taiwan Strait is because this is not an internal matter, as China would have it, based on its sovereignty. It’s a matter of concern to quite literally the entire world” and that “if there were a crisis in Taiwan as a result of China’s aggression in some fashion, that would have I think disastrous consequences for the world economy and for countries around the world”. What is your response?
Mao Ning: Secretary Blinken’s remarks are absolutely irresponsible and absurd. China firmly opposes that. It seems that some history lessons are in order for the top US diplomat on the Taiwan question. Taiwan has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times. The one-China principle is a universally recognized basic norm in international relations and the important political prerequisite and foundation for China’s diplomatic relations with countries in the world…” She then mentioned the 1972, 1978 and 1982 communiques, saying that “the US made those political commitments to China on the Taiwan question, which are written down in black and white.”
“For some time, the US has been deliberately ignoring and twisting the history and sending the wrong message on the Taiwan question. The US has significantly relaxed its restraint on official interactions and reinforced military contact with Taiwan and touted ‘Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow’. It has even been revealed by the media that the US government has a plan for ‘the destruction of Taiwan’. We cannot help but ask, what exactly is the US trying to achieve? I need to stress again that the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. It is at the very core of China’s core interests. It is the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in this relationship. China will never allow any external force to interfere in our internal affairs. We have a clear message for the US: It is time to stop - stop walking on the edge, stop using the salami tactics, stop pushing the envelope, and stop sowing confusion and trying to mislead the world on Taiwan. If the US refuses to change course and goes down that wrong path, there will be real consequences and it will come at real costs to the US.”
Then, we have the third article in the series on the global significance of Chinese-style modernisation. This article tells us that “Realising common prosperity for all people is one of the essential requirements of Chinese-style modernisation, and it is also a key indicator that Chinese-style modernisation is different from western modernisation. Chinese-style modernisation insists that development is for the people, development depends on the people, and the fruits of development are shared by the people. This provides a Chinese solution to the problems encountered in the process of modernisation, such as disparity between the rich and the poor and polarisation.” 治国之道，富民为始。中国式现代化是全体人民共同富裕的现代化，实现全体人民共同富裕是中国式现代化的本质要求之一，也是中国式现代化区别于西方现代化的显著标志。中国式现代化坚持发展为了人民，发展依靠人民，发展成果由人民共享，为解决现代化进程中遇到的贫富悬殊、两极分化等难题提供了中国方案.
The piece adds: “China is a big country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, and achieving common prosperity is a long-term, arduous and complex task. China will adhere to the people-centred development philosophy and promote common prosperity through high-quality development. At present, China has established a set of ideas, institutional arrangements and policy measures to promote the common prosperity of all people, and it is confident that the achievements of modernisation will benefit all people more fairly.” 中国是一个有14亿多人口的大国，实现共同富裕具有长期性、艰巨性、复杂性的特点。中国将坚持以人民为中心的发展思想，在高质量发展中促进共同富裕。目前，中国已经形成促进全体人民共同富裕的一整套思想理念、制度安排、政策举措，有信心让现代化建设成果更多更公平惠及全体人民.
“Common prosperity is a difficult problem in the development of human civilization. In the pursuit of modernisation, some countries have experienced serious disparities develop between the rich and the poor and the collapse of the middle class, leading to the tearing of the social fabric, political polarisation and populism; some countries have failed in their economic transformation, experienced stagnant development and have fallen into the so-called ‘middle-income trap’. Chinese-style modernisation insists on realising people’s yearning for a better life as the starting point and end result of modernisation, and strives to safeguard and promote social fairness and justice, promote common prosperity of all people, and resolutely prevent polarisation. Our common prosperity is to better meet the people’s needs for a better life, gradually achieve overall prosperity and universal/general prosperity, adhere to the combination of market and government, and unify efficiency and fairness, divide the cake well while making the cake bigger, and build an olive-shaped distribution pattern. This is how President Xi Jinping explained the Chinese solution to deal with the problem of income distribution inequality. Increasingly, people abroad believe that, when economic globalisation is encountering counter-currents and western modernisation is hitting a bottleneck, it is Chinese-style modernisation that is paying attention to benefiting the people and is committed to achieving social equality, blazing a new path of modernisation.” 共同富裕是人类文明发展中的难题。在追求现代化的过程中，一些国家贫富分化严重，中产阶层塌陷，导致社会撕裂、政治极化、民粹主义泛滥；一些国家经济转型失败，发展陷入停滞，落入所谓“中等收入陷阱”。中国式现代化坚持把实现人民对美好生活的向往作为现代化建设的出发点和落脚点，着力维护和促进社会公平正义，着力促进全体人民共同富裕，坚决防止两极分化。“我们的共同富裕，是要更好满足人民美好生活需要，逐步实现整体富裕、普遍富裕，坚持市场和政府相结合、效率和公平相统一，在做大蛋糕的同时分好蛋糕，打造橄榄型分配结构。”习近平主席如是阐释破解收入分配不平等问题的中国方案。越来越多国际人士认为，在经济全球化遭遇逆流、西方现代化遭遇瓶颈之际，中国式现代化注重造福于民、致力于实现社会平等，走出了一条现代化的新路径.
The piece then mentions BRI and GDI, saying that as China modernises, it will “increase its investment in global development cooperation.”
Finally, there’s a piece previewing Lukashenko’s visit to China, by discussing the depth of bilateral ties.
On Pages 9, 10 and 11, we have the full statistical bulletin on social and economic development in 2022. This is useful to bookmark for folks interested. The English version is available here.
The top-line data is as follows:
“According to preliminary estimation, the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 was 121,020.7 billion yuan, up by 3.0 percent over the previous year. Of this total, the value added of the primary industry was 8,834.5 billion yuan, up by 4.1 percent over the previous year, that of the secondary industry was 48,316.4 billion yuan, up by 3.8 percent and that of the tertiary industry was 63,869.8 billion yuan, up by 2.3 percent. The value added of the primary industry accounted for 7.3 percent of the GDP; that of the secondary industry accounted for 39.9 percent; and that of the tertiary industry accounted for 52.8 percent. The contribution of the final consumption expenditure to GDP growth rate was up by 1.0 percentage point, that of the gross capital formation to GDP growth rate up by 1.5 percentage points and that of the net exports of goods and services to GDP growth rate up by 0.5 percentage points. The per capita GDP in 2022 was 85,698 yuan, up by 3.0 percent over the previous year. The gross national income in 2022 was 119,721.5 billion yuan, up by 2.8 percent over the previous year. The overall labor productivity was 152,977 yuan per person, up by 4.2 percent over the previous year.”
Tracking People's Daily is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.