6th Plenum Curtain Raiser - Key Choices: The Anti-Corruption Campaign - Xi Thought on Rule of Law Review - Pollution Control Guideline - New Book on Xi's Discourses - Journalism Awards
Here are the stories and pieces from the November 8, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy. Xi’s basically everywhere today. It feels like this is a paper now of Xi, for Xi and by Xi.
Page 1: There are a lot of long pieces today, which run across several pages. Let’s begin with a report about a new book of Xi’s discourses; his one is about Xi’s views on people being the masters of the country -- 论坚持人民当家作主. This is published by the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee. The report tells us that this includes 50 discourses written by Xi, with some of them being made public for the first time. Just about all of Page 2 is dedicated to introducing the key articles from this collection.
Also on the page, we have the new guidelines on further promoting the nationwide battle to prevent and control pollution, while strengthening ecological protection. I am not going through the entire document. The English report on this tells us that:
The document “details major targets for improving the country's ecological environment, with the total discharge of major pollutants continuously declining for 2025 and 2035. By 2025, carbon dioxide emissions per unit of the country's GDP will be reduced by 18 percent from the level in 2020...In cities at or above the prefectural level, the intensity of PM 2.5 will be decreased by 10 percent, the proportion of days with good air quality will reach 87.5 percent, while the proportion of surface water with relatively good quality (at or above Grade III) should be above 85 percent during the period. By 2035, a green way of life and production will have been formed, carbon emissions will stabilise and decline after reaching a peak, and the country’s ecological environment will see fundamental improvement, said the circular.”
Next, let’s get to the curtain raiser for the 6th Plenum, which begins today.
The first line’s sort of a dead give away, if one isn’t clear about the purpose that history serves: “The best commemoration of history is to create new history.” 对历史的最好纪念, 就是创造新的历史.
And there are more such clear-eyed statements about what to expect from the Plenum. For instance, we are told that the meeting is focused on comprehensively summarising the great achievements and historical experience of the Party’s century-long struggle. The idea of looking back is to look ahead to the struggle of the future. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, century-old Party, through a comprehensive and profound review of history, will surely further build consensus, stay true to its founding mission, and lead all the Chinese people in making new achievements on the new journey of national rejuvenation. 肩负着承前启后、继往开来的伟大使命，此次会议重点研究全面总结党的百年奋斗的重大成就和历史经验问题。回望过往的奋斗路,眺望前方的奋进路。在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下，百年大党通过对历史的全面深刻总结，必将进一步凝聚共识、抖擞精神,不忘初心、牢记使命，带领全体中华儿女在中华民族伟大复兴的新征程上再创新的辉煌.
The piece then goes back to the past.
Readers are asked whether they remember the “old China” that had been bullied? It was the Party that “united the people, fought bloody battles and persevered, overthrew the three mountains and realised national independence and people's liberation.”
They are asked to recall the “days of poverty.” The Party then “united and led the people,” and “made great efforts to make the country strong through self-reliance.”
Finally, they are asked to think back to the “turning point” in history, when the Party adopted reform and opening up. Today, in the new era, contemporary Chinese Communists, with Comrade Xi Jinping as their chief representative, have written a brilliant new chapter in this long scroll of rejuvenation. 曾记否，旧中国饱受欺凌，党团结带领人民，浴血奋战、百折不挠，推翻三座大山，实现民族独立、人民解放；曾记否，一穷二白岁月里，党团结带领人民，自力更生、发愤图强，让一个人口众多的东方大国大步迈进社会主义社会；曾记否，在历史转折关头，党团结带领人民，解放思想、锐意进取，以改革开放的关键一招，让中国大踏步赶上时代…步入新时代，以习近平同志为主要代表的当代中国共产党人，在这幅复兴长卷中写下新的绚丽篇章——
The achievements of the Xi era that are highlighted are:
Alleviating absolute poverty and achieving Xiaokang
Governing the Party with strict discipline, and launching an anti-corruption campaign unprecedented in the history of New China
Achieving major strategic results in the fight against COVID-19
Having “long-term strategic vision” and adapting and leading a new normal of economic development, building a new development pattern and promoting high-quality development.
And building a community with a shared future for mankind
Then we get to more developments linking Xi’s era to the past. For instance, we are told that Xi has identified that institutional/systemic competition is critical to competition in today’s world. This is linked to the Party’s history. So from the “bean elections” in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia region to the establishment of the people’s congress system, and today to the “great idea” of people’s democracy in the whole process.
We are then told that the system/institutional structure has been critical to achieving the “two miracles” of “rapid economic development and long-term social stability.” “In the new era, the Chinese communists are taking the ‘system’ as the key to solve the challenges of the times.” 步入新时代, 中国共产党人以“制度”为钥破解时代挑战.
We then get a lot of talk about China’s achievements in space, atomic weapons, sports, exports and economic development, high-speed rail, etc. All this is attributed to the changed spirit of the Chinese people, which in turn is attributed to the Party.
“Since the birth of the Communist Party, the Chinese people’s spirit moved from passivity to passive to one of taking initiative. The Party became the backbone of the Chinese people’s struggle for national independence, people’s liberation, national prosperity, and happiness.” 自从中国产生了共产党，中国人民就开始从精神上由被动转为主动，中国人民谋求民族独立、人民解放和国家富强、人民幸福的斗争就有了主心骨. Under Xi, his Thought shines brilliantly in the Party constitution, the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is held high, the position of Marxism as the guiding ideology is sustained, and there is a common ideological foundation for a united struggle by the whole party and the whole nation, the core values of socialism are widely promoted, the soft power of Chinese culture is greatly enhanced, cultural self-confidence is increasingly evident, and the national spirit with patriotism as the core and the spirit of the times with reform and innovation as the core are even higher... 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想在党章中熠熠生辉，中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜高高举起，马克思主义在意识形态领域的指导地位、全党全国人民团结奋斗的共同思想基础更加巩固，社会主义核心价值观广泛弘扬，中华文化软实力大幅提升，文化自信日益彰显，以爱国主义为核心的民族精神和以改革创新为核心的时代精神更加昂扬……不断升腾的精神力量，澎湃着民族前进的步伐.
We are then told that “under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process.” This leads to a conversation about history being a mirror and textbook for understanding the past but also guiding the future. This then leads to brief comments of the two previous history resolutions. Without going into details, what’s highlighted is that each of these resolutions entailed the top leaders, Mao and Deng, respectively, calling for the Party to unite and look ahead as though it were a new historical starting point.
This then leads to a few paragraphs talking about how Xi, since the 18th Party Congress, has visited red sites and has delivered important speeches on the study of party history, the history of the new China, the history of reform and opening up, and the history of socialist development. He has launched a Party history education campaign and called for “drawing inspiration from history and extracting magic weapons to defeat the enemy from historical experience.” 习近平总书记号召全党，“必须从历史中获得启迪，从历史经验中提炼出克敌制胜的法宝”. Each previous “systematic review” of Party history has allowed the Party to ensure greater unity, and we are told that Xi, over the years, has figured out the “password” for why the party was successful in the past and how it will succeed in the future. This is essentially referring to the “nine musts (九个必须)” that Xi spoke about in his centenary speech.
The piece then says that:
“Not long ago, General Secretary Xi Jinping presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, making it clear that the upcoming Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee will focus on comprehensively summarising the great achievements and historical experience of the Party’s century-long struggle.
Standing at this moment and looking back at the past century, it is precisely what we need to embark on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country and uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
Standing at this moment, looking back at the past century, it is precisely what is needed to strengthen political consciousness, overall situation consciousness, core consciousness, alignment consciousness; to strengthen confidence in the path, theory, system and culture, to resolutely safeguard General Secretary Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the Central Committee and the whole party, to resolutely safeguard the authority of the Party Central Committee and its centralised and unified leadership, and to ensure that the whole party moves forward in unison.
Standing at this moment and looking back at the past century, it is precisely what is needed to advance the Party’s self-revolution, enhance the Party’s ability to struggle and respond to risks and challenges, preserve the Party’s vitality, and unite and lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in continuing to strive for the realisation of the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.”
After this, we are told that China today is in unique circumstances; there is a shifting of the international balance of power, there is a new digital economy taking shape, there is a move towards common prosperity, etc, and while the future is bright, the road ahead will not be easy. Just as Mao had warned in 1945 that the Party must be prepared to suffer losses, Xi warned during the October 2021 Politburo meeting that the Party was born into a dangerous world, and that it must guard against complacency, demonstrate more vigilance and always be prepared for potential danger, even in times of calm. The piece ends by reiterating the need to be close to the people and always adhere to the leadership of the Party as the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. I thought this line sums it up well:
The key to China’s success lies in the Party. It was so in history; it is so in reality; and it will remain so in the future. 办好中国的事情，关键在党。历史如此，现实如此，未来仍将如此.
Let’s move to the key choices column for the day. I covered the five pieces through the weekdays last week, but there were two other such columns over the weekend.
The sixth piece was about the choice of constructing an ecological civilisation or pursuing modernisation that ensures harmony between humans and nature.
The seventh piece on Sunday talked about Xi’s leadership in the context of the goal of strengthening the army in the new era, which implies building “a people’s army that listens to the party’s command, can win battles, and has a good work style,” with the aim of creating a world-class force.
Today’s article talks about the anti-corruption campaign under Xi. There’s a lot of praise for the campaign for having improved the party’s “political ecology,” its “cohesion and combat effectiveness,” “solidarity and unity,” relationship with the masses, etc, and it has given the Party “new vitality,” all of which has provided “a strong political guarantee for the development of the cause of the party and the country.”
The piece says that “comprehensively enforcing strict Party self-governance is a distinctive feature of the Party’s governance in the new era, and it has achieved historic and pioneering achievements, exerting all-round and profound influence.” 回望奋斗历程,全面从严治党是新时代党治国理政的一个鲜明特征，取得了历史性、开创性成就，产生了全方位、深层次影响.
After this we get a review, going back to November 2012. The piece offers several details in providing a review. We are told that dealing with corruption has been a matter of the Party’s survival; how popular grievances and social unrest in other parts of the world has led to the collapse of regimes; we are told that the eight-point regulation has been critical to ensuring good work styles; we are told that clean government is critical; we are told that there has been a sustained campaign targeting tigers, flies and foxes.
“Statistics show that since the 18th Party Congress, the CCDI has put on file 453 central-level officials (zhōng guǎn gànbù) under investigation; the national discipline inspection and supervision organs filed and examined 3.805 million cases, investigated and dealt with 4.089 million people, and punished 3.742 million people with party discipline and government affairs. Since the 19th Party Congress, the discipline organs have investigated and dealt with over 390,000 cases of infringement of people’s interests in areas related to people’s livelihood, and dealt with 359,000 people. They have investigated and dealt with 280,000 cases of corruption and misconduct in the field of poverty alleviation, and punished 188,000 people. They investigated and dealt with 93,000 cases related to the provision of ‘protective umbrella’ for criminal gangs, and handled 84,000 people. Since the launch of the ‘Operation Sky Net’ in 2014, 9,165 fugitives, including 2,408 Party members and state functionaries, have been repatriated from 120 countries and regions, and 21.739 billion yuan of stolen money has been recovered.” 有数据统计，党的十八大以来，中央纪委共立案审查调查中管干部453人；全国纪检监察机关立案审查案件380.5万件、查处408.9万人、给予党纪政务处分374.2万人. 党的十九大以来，查处民生领域侵害群众利益问题39万余件，处理35.9万人；查处扶贫领域腐败和作风问题28万件，处分18.8万人；查处黑恶势力“保护伞”相关案件9.3万个，处理8.4万人. 2014年“天网行动”开展以来，从120个国家和地区追回外逃人员9165人，其中党员和国家工作人员2408人，追回赃款217.39亿元.
After this, we get statistics showing very high levels of public satisfaction, and praise for the targeted and effective nature of the anti-corruption campaign, along with commitment that the grip of the campaign must not loosen. We are told that there is a zero tolerance approach and no domains are forbidden. Initial work to create a system and mechanism to ensure that people dare not, cannot and do not want to, be corrupt has been carried out.
The last section of the piece has this noteworthy line: The newly revised Regulations on Disciplinary Actions in the Communist Party of China have made it clear that ‘two safeguards’ are the most fundamental political discipline and rules. 新修订的《中国共产党纪律处分条例》更是将“两个维护”作为最根本的政治纪律和政治规矩予以明确.
These regulations were published in August 2018. Here’s Article 2, based on China Law Translate’s translation:
Article 2: The establishment of Party discipline must persist in the leadership of the Communist Party of China over state supervision work, and be guided by Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of ‘Three Represents,’ the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; persist and strengthen Party leadership, resolutely preserving General Secretary Xi Jinping's status as the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the entire Party; resolutely preserving the authority and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee to implement the overall requirements for establishing a Party for the new era and making full strategic deployments for Party governance, fully strengthening the establishment of Party discipline.”
One of the final warnings in the piece is “The future and destiny of a political party and a political power depend on the popular sentiment.” -- This is really important to keep in mind so that one avoids the tropes that the Party only rules by fear and coercion. There’s a lot of effort put into keeping in mind popular support and legitimacy.
There’s also a commentary related to this key choices column, which reiterates the main points. Two other pieces on the page: First, there’s a commentary linked to Xi’s CIIE speech; this offers little new.
Second, there’s a long review on the implementation of Xi Thought on Rule of Law. This begins with the November 2020 central conference on work related to overall law-based governance. The piece says that this was an important, epoch-making meeting. The most important outcome was that it was decided that Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law represented the latest achievement in adapting Marxist theories on the rule of law to the Chinese context, serving as the fundamental guideline for law-based governance in China (English readout of the meeting).
We are then told that Xi Thought on Rule of Law contains:
“profound strategic thinking, clear political orientation, strong historical responsibility and sincere feelings for the people. With the power of truth, unique ideological charm and great practical strength, Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law provides a powerful ideological weapon for the new journey of building rule of law in China and provides a grand blueprint for building law-based governance in China in the new era.” 习近平法治思想蕴含着深远战略思维、鲜明政治导向、强烈历史担当、真挚为民情怀，以强大真理力量、独特思想魅力和巨大实践伟力，为奋力开启法治中国建设新征程提供了强大思想武器，在中华大地描绘出新时代法治中国建设的壮阔蓝图.
The piece adds that:
“Great times give birth to great ideas, and great ideas guide great journeys. Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law was formed in the critical period of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the historical background of the world undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, inheriting the ideological essence of Marxist theory on the rule of law and ceaseless pursuit of rule of law by Chinese Communists.” 伟大时代孕育伟大思想，伟大思想领航伟大征程。习近平法治思想形成于中华民族伟大复兴处于关键时期和世界处于百年未有之大变局的历史背景，继承了马克思主义法治理论的思想精髓，赓续了中国共产党人孜孜不倦的法治追求.
The piece talks about the publicity plan for Xi Thought on Rule of Law, which was passed this year, and then says that over the past year, all localities and departments have deepened their study and training, carefully made plans and implemented them, made Xi Jinping Thought on the rule of law a focus of theoretical study for party committees , and made it a key course for Party schools and leadership academies, and organized law departments at all levels to carry out training. The review also promises to “promote Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law into textbooks, classrooms and minds.”
The piece then highlights some other documents that have been published to establish Xi Thought on Rule of Law as a guide; these are one plan and two outlines: plan to build the rule of law in China (2020-2025), Implementation Outline for the Establishment of a Rule of Law-Based Society (2020-2025), and outline on promoting the building of a rule of law government from 2021 to 2025.
The piece then provides a brief bit about each of these three documents. For instance, it calls the first of the three documents listed above as a “programmatic document for advancing the rule of law in all respects.” It talks about providing legislative support for rural revitalisation, preserving the environment, comprehensively deepening reform and addressing livelihood issues. The aim is to ensure that the governance system is “systematic, standardised and coordinated.”
After this, it talks about ensuring that the approach to law-based governance is forward-looking, solution-oriented and with the aim of providing “long-term institutional guarantee for the development of the cause of the Party and the country.” The piece talks about the importance of fairness and justice. In this context, it refers to the recent guideline that has been issued to strengthen legal supervision work of the people’s procuratorates. Here is what the readout of that document had said:
“Procuratorial organs should give full play to their duty of conducting legal supervision, said the document, calling on them to safeguard national security and social stability and ensure high-quality socio-economic development. Both quality and results of legal supervision should be improved comprehensively to safeguard judicial justice, it noted, urging improvements in mechanisms of information sharing, case notification, and case transfer between people's procuratorates and law enforcement, public security, judicial, and judicial administrative organs. The guideline demanded fine-tuned supervision on filing, investigations, and trials of criminal cases, as well as civil proceedings. Procuratorial organs were also asked to push forward works on public interest litigations, among others.”
Some of the other bits that the piece touches upon are the importance of safeguarding people’s interest; creating a sound business environment through delegating power and streamlining services; and “strict, standardised, fair and civilised” enforcement of law.
Page 3: There’s a piece on Xi’s Thought on diplomacy. This talks about Xi’s goal of “building a community with a shared future for mankind and achieving win-win” outcomes.
“To build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation is the only way to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Over the past eight years and more, President Xi Jinping has visited 69 countries on five continents on 41 overseas visits. Today, China has established partnerships with 108 countries and four regional organizations, creating a global network of partnerships and blazing a new trail of state-to-state relations featuring partnership rather than alliance and dialogue rather than confrontation.” 推动构建相互尊重、公平正义、合作共赢的新型国际关系，是构建人类命运共同体的必由之路。8年多来，习近平主席41次出访，足迹遍及五大洲69个国家。如今，中国已同108个国家和4个地区组织建立伙伴关系，编织起一张遍布全球的伙伴关系网，走出了一条结伴而不结盟、对话而不对抗的国与国交往新路. -- The bits highlighted tell us that revision of the current world order is the pathway to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Also, we are told:
“In the face of unilateralism, protectionism and hegemonism, President Xi Jinping has stressed that multilateralism means that ‘international affairs should be handled through consultation and the future of the world should be in the hands of all countries’. Facing the challenges of global governance, President Xi Jinping called on all parties to uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and work together to overcome the deficits in governance, trust, peace and development, so as to make the global governance system more just and equitable. In the face of the severe impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, President Xi Jinping has called for prioritising development in the global macro policy framework and bringing global development to a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive development...China’s plan and practice of advocating true multilateralism, promoting common development and building a community with a shared future for mankind embodies the greatest common interest of people of all countries in building a better world, and it has made major explorations and original contributions to promoting world peace, development and win-win cooperation.” 我们生活的世界充满希望，也充满挑战. 面对单边主义、保护主义、霸权主义等逆流，习近平主席强调，多边主义的要义是“国际上的事由大家共同商量着办，世界前途命运由各国共同掌握”；面对全球治理遭遇的困境, 习近平主席呼吁各方秉持共商共建共享原则，携手破解治理赤字、信任赤字、和平赤字、发展赤字，推动全球治理体系朝着更加公正合理的方向发展；面对新冠肺炎疫情给世界经济带来的强烈冲击, 习近平主席主张将发展置于全球宏观政策框架的突出位置，推动全球发展迈向平衡协调包容新阶段…倡导真正的多边主义, 力促共同发展, 构建人类命运共同体的中国方案和中国实践, 凝聚起各国人民共同建设美好世界的最大公约数, 为推动世界和平发展、合作共赢做出重大探索和原创性贡献.
Then the piece goes on to highlight how China has helped other countries and provided support to international agencies. This includes aid, vaccines, BRI, trade expos, FOCAC and forum with Arab states, etc. It also talks about how Xi has spoken about China “sharing its development experience and opportunities with the rest of the world” and has been “welcoming other countries to hitchhike on China’s development and embark on a glorious journey of common development.” 在习近平主席引领下，新时代中国坚定不移奉行开放战略，将自身发展经验和机遇同世界各国分享，欢迎各国搭乘中国发展“顺风车”，奏响共同发展的华美乐章.
Page 4: We have a piece about Xi congratulating Xinhua (English report) on its 90th anniversary. In the letter, Xi called on the agency to “sustain revolutionary legacy, keep its best practices while making innovations to strive for a new type of leading global all-media institution.” Here’s more from the English report:
“In his letter, Xi pointed out that over the past 90 years Xinhua has unswervingly followed the Party, disseminated the Party's propositions, reflected people's will, recorded the spirit of the times, and spread China's voice. ‘Xinhua has played important roles in the historical stages of revolution, construction and reform,’ he said. On the new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects, Xinhua should, under the leadership of the CPC, keep its correct political orientation, stand firm in ideals and convictions, maintain close ties with the people, sustain revolutionary legacy, and keep its best practices while making innovations, Xi said. He also called on Xinhua to speed up media’s integrated development and strengthen overseas communication, in its efforts to build a new type of leading global all-media institution. Xi urged the news agency to make greater contributions to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.”
Page 5: We have information about the 31st China Journalism Award. Xinhua’s English report informs us that a total of 346 news entries by media outlets across the nation won this year's China Journalism Award. The award-winning works covered topics including China's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty relief and the achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
I thought this bit from PD’s coverage of this was telling:
“Behind the honour are journalists who remained true to their original aspiration, comprehensively and deeply publicised the Party’s innovative theories, widely disseminated the Party’s propositions, actively reflected the aspirations of the people, painted a picture of the times with their hearts and souls, and lent a strong voice to the times. 荣誉背后，是广大新闻工作者坚守初心本色，全面深入宣传党的创新理论，广泛传播党的主张，积极反映人民心声，用心描绘时代画卷，用力奏响时代强音.
All the winners are listed from Pages 17 to 19.