Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s June 30, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: The front page today is heavy on pictures from yesterday’s celebrations and the medal ceremony. First, Xi Jinping conferred the first-ever July 1 Medals, the Party’s highest honour, on model CPC members. 29 CCP members who have made “outstanding contributions to the Party and the people” received the honour, some posthumously, Xinhua tells us. The full list of individuals is shared on Page 10.
In fact, Xinhua English has a good breakdown of Xi’s comments.
He termed the individuals as role models who “embody Party members’ staunch faith, fighting and dedicated spirit, integrity and devotion, and loyalty to the Party's fundamental tenet -- putting the people at the very center of their hearts, and wholeheartedly serving the people.” In saying this, he called the awardees “everyday heroes” who are “rooted in the people.”
The PD piece summarises the key points of his speech, which is published on Page 2, if you are interested:
All party members must love the Party and maintain a firm belief in Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics
All members must “always maintain flesh-and-blood ties with the people”
All members must be at the forefront of tackling challenges---the more difficult the situation, the more at the forefront one shall be
He wants them to be strict in terms of public and personal morality, practising self-restraint, frugality, self-discipline and political integrity
The second piece on the page is about Xi meeting outstanding county-level Party secretaries. Note that Xi was accompanied by Ding Xuexiang and Chen Xi. A total of 103 county-level Party secretaries were awarded for remarkable achievements on their posts. PD says that Party members and cadres should view these individuals as examples and that they should “thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, strengthen the ‘four consciousnesses’, strengthen the ‘four self-confidences’, achieve ‘two maintenance’, and build a loyal character.” 广大党员干部要以受表彰的优秀县委书记为榜样，深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”，铸牢忠诚品格，坚守人民情怀，弘扬务实作风，砥砺担当精神，锤炼过硬本领，保持清廉操守，为全面建设社会主义现代化国家、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦作出新的更大贡献.
The full list of individuals and comments by some of them are shared later in the paper.
The final piece on the page is a short note telling us that Xi will be delivering a speech tomorrow.
Page 2: PD has an editorial on the page drawing from yesterday’s events. It praises Xi’s speech and reiterates the key points that he made. It says:
“Among the winners of the July 1 Medal, there are veterans with great military achievements, grassroots cadres who have dedicated their lives to the cause of poverty alleviation, craftsmen who have rich rich knowledge and skills, educators who use red genes to cultivate people’s souls, scientists who dedicated themselves to research, and farmers and herdsmen who have inherited the spirit of patriotism and border protection...They have made outstanding contributions to the Party and the people and created precious spiritual wealth.” “七一勋章”获得者中，有战功赫赫的百战老兵，有把生命奉献给脱贫攻坚事业的基层干部，有集丰厚理论素养和操作技能于一身的大国工匠，有用红色基因树人铸魂的教育工作者，有潜心研究、矢志奉献的科学家，有传承爱国守边精神的农牧民……他们为党和人民作出了杰出贡献，创造了宝贵精神财富.
Page 3: There’s just one piece on the page. This is basically telling us how under Xi Jinping, the Party and country have made “historic achievements.” The piece references different comments and visits by Xi over the course of his tenure as General Secretary. So his December 8 2012 visit to Shenzhen during which he placed a flower basket near Deng Xiaoping’s statue is mentioned to point to continuity in achieving the goal of development and a moderately prosperous society. Consequently, poverty alleviation gets mentioned in the following paragraphs. This is followed by pollution and financial risks. Interesting how all three of Xi’s “three tough battles” got woven into the narrative.
The piece then tells us that how amid the present situation “the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core put forward a series of pioneering new ideas, new ideas and new strategies with broad strategic vision, profound historical thinking and strong mission, which have promoted the historic achievements and changes in the cause of the party and the country.” This is followed by harking back to the new normal in the economy, i.e., slowing GDP and shifting priorities, along with the regional development strategy.
The next bit is about governance reform measures that were adopted. This is all essentially about how Xi has led and done things and filled with folksy bits about him meeting people and asking questions about their lives and working to address their concerns. Here’s an example:
“On July 18, 2016, General Secretary Xi Jinping came to Yangling Village, Dawan Township, Jingyuan County...He walked into the villager Ma Ke’s house. He heard that solar water heaters were installed. The General Secretary asked the little boy at home with concern: " Do you often take a shower?" Why is the general secretary so concerned about the little things of people's livelihood such as bathing?” The answer that the piece provides is that winter heating in the north became among the policy priorities for Xi. “It seems that there are trivial things, but General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized: ‘they are all major events, which have a bearing on the lives of the broad masses of the people, and are a major project of people's livelihood and popular support’.”
Likewise, the toilet revolution gets a mention, foreign policy is discussed, the space station is mentioned...and so it goes unquestioningly telling us that many significant achievements have been made since 2012, ending with the idea that a new journey is beginning now.
Page 4: Just one story on the page worth noting. This one’s about Wang Yi attending the G20 meeting via video link. Xinhua English tells us that Wang said that “the global epidemic situation is still grave, and the economic recovery is clearly disparate, Wang said G20 members should uphold unity and cooperation and exert leadership in the global fight against the epidemic.”
“He said China has so far provided more than 450 million doses of vaccines to nearly 100 countries, calling on nations with the ability to reject export restrictions or overstocking and make contributions to eliminate the immunization gap.”
“He said G20 members should take the lead in practicing true multilateralism and firmly safeguard the global system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law. They should also adhere to openness and inclusiveness, aim for win-win cooperation, and oppose zero-sum games.”
Page 5: More centenary related reports today. First, a report with comments from the individuals who have been awarded the July 1 medal. Second, a report which talks about the recently released New China Research (NCR), the think tank of Xinhua News Agency, research report on the political commitment of the Communist Party of China.
It’s an 84-page English report. Here’s what Xinhua said about this report.
“When Western academic theories cannot explain the success of the CPC, new research paradigms should be established to seek answers from the Party's own theories and practices, according to the report. The report has three chapters: ‘why have the Chinese people chosen the CPC,’ ‘how does the CPC represent the people’ and ‘what contributions does the CPC make to human progress.’ The CPC enjoys the wholehearted support of the broadest possible majority of the people, which has not changed with the passage of time, the report says. The CPC has made clear its commitment to its founding mission, adopted a tried-and-true democratic system, built a relationship of trust between the Party and the people, and formed an effective supervision system, the report says. The report says that from the perspective of the political advancement of mankind, the secret to the CPC's success in making China increasingly prosperous and strong can provide other countries with a useful reference for party building and state governance. The report encapsulates the secret of the CPC’s success in five English letters: ABCDE, and stresses that the CPC does not seek to export China's model, nor does it ask other countries to follow in China's footsteps.”
A - All for the People
B - Blueprint Drawing
C - Capacity Building
D - Development Shared
E - Effective Governance
Third, there’s a report about the centenary festivities and events in Hong Kong. It’s really two parallel words that seem to exist in the city at present. At one level, the city is marking the anniversary of the National Security Law with things changing and control tightening at a rapid pace. For instance, here’s Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security, telling the city’s judiciary that “[Hong Kong’s] independent judiciary’s power is authorised by the National People’s Congress. It must highly manifest the national will and national interest, or else it will lose the legal premise of the authorisation...It will be the biggest loophole in the rule of law if national security is not safeguarded.” SCMP says that Zheng warned that Hong Kong’s much-vaunted rule of law would only be “castles in the air” if the legislation was not enforced.
At another level, we see the celebrations being reported in Party-state media. So PD today talks about singing in public squares, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra playing Chinese classics, dance rehearsals, exhibitions and posters… the story talks about reminiscence on the past and passing “on the red spirit.”
And that’s pretty much it in terms of what’s covered in the paper today.