Centenary Publicity Campaign, Li Speaks to Entrepreneurs & Party's Comprehensive Governance

Here are the reports and stories that I found noteworthy in the April 12, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily.

Page 1: First up, the General Office of the CCP has issued a notice for new activities related to the centenary. These are titled “Forever Follow the Party” Mass Theme Publicity and Education Activities. These are essentially aimed at reinforcing the message about the Party-led system, reform and opening up, ethnic unity, fulfilling the 14 FYP agenda and so on. 

The thematic publicity and education activities will be implemented in two stages. The first stage will end by May 2021. The focus here is going to be on the outcomes of the Fifth Plenary, the Two Sessions, poverty alleviation campaign for which a commendation conference is planned and showcasing achievements during the 13 FYP and publicising the 14 FYP. “The second stage is from May to the end of 2021, with a climax in June and July. Focusing on studying, propagating and implementing the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China…”

Some of the essential features of these activities:

  • Ensure that “the party flag is flying high at the grassroots level.”

  • “Use red resources such as revolutionary sites, revolutionary memorial halls, and martyrs' cemeteries to organize and carry out the oath of new party members to join the party, and carry out activities for party members to revisit the oath of joining the party.”

  • Lots of lectures from Party officials at all levels. “Organize party secretaries at all levels, party leaders, outstanding party members, and old party members to give party lectures.”

  • Site visits to talk about successes. “We carefully designed and launched a batch of learning and experience routes and high-quality red tourism routes, and guided the cadres and the masses to carry out on-site inspections and national conditions research nearby.”

  • “Organize a wide range of publicity activities for the people, and invite people who have witnessed important events, theoretical workers and practical workers, especially the role models of the times, to go to the grassroots to carry out itinerant preaching.”

  • “Organize national universities, middle schools and primary schools to carry out special party team activities.”

  • Finally, there’s likely to be a whole range of cultural products, i.e., exhibitions, films, TV shows, etc, along with neighbourhood events.

Next, there’s a commentary on why it’s important to study Party history. The emphasis is on keeping in mind the original aspiration, i.e., maintaining close ties to the people and solving practical problems of the people. This is targeted at cadres.

Third, Li Keqiang spoke at a symposium with Chinese entrepreneurs. PD reports that “At the symposium, experts such as Zhang Xiaojing, Peng Wensheng, Ma Bin and the heads of Guangzhou Baiyun Electric Group, Zhejiang China Commodity City Company, and Ctrip.com made statements. They believed that the national tax and fee reduction policies are both practical and effective. The production and operation of enterprises have continued to recover, but the sharp rise in international commodity prices has brought great pressure on enterprises to increase costs. Everyone also put forward suggestions on stabilizing economic operation, the development of small, medium and micro enterprises, import and export trade, and tourism development.

Li Keqiang said that over the past year, the “majority of market entities have worked hard with perseverance, and the economy has shown a stable recovery trend.” But “the current complex and severe international environment has added new uncertainties. The domestic economic recovery is not balanced.” He added that “analysis of the economic situation should be comprehensive and objective, both to see the year-on-year growth rate and look at the chain growth rate, both to see the macroeconomic data and look at the personal feelings of market participants, both to see the overall situation of economic operation and pay close attention to the new situation and new problems...”

He added, as per Xinhua English: “Efforts should be made to maintain the continuity, stability and sustainability of macro policies, in a bid to ensure that the country's economy runs within an appropriate range and promote high-quality development, Li said. The premier underscored paying attention to the changing situations at home and abroad, adding that the policy support for securing employment, people's livelihoods and the operations of market entities will not weaken. Li urged implementing measures aimed at supporting small and micro-sized businesses and self-employed individuals, better leveraging policies to promote the innovation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector, as well as channeling more funds to the real economy.”

Pages 2 & 3: Two pieces on the page worth noting. First, there’s a report (English version) about Saturday’s mine accident in Hutubi County, Changji Prefecture of Xinjiang. PD says that “in the process of technological transformation, there was a sudden flooding, which caused underground power outage and communication interruption.” 29 people were initially trapped. 8 of them have been rescued. 

Second, an update on the vaccination effort in China. PD says that as of April 10, a total of 164.471 million doses of new coronavirus vaccines have been reported nationwide.

“Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the National Health Commission's Disease Control Bureau, said that vaccination is mainly carried out around ‘two key points.’ The first is key areas. Priority is given to ensuring that port cities, border areas, large and medium-sized cities with a high risk of epidemics across the country, and areas with clusters of epidemics in the past. The second is the key populations, including cold chain practitioners, medical and health personnel, personnel of government agencies, enterprises and institutions, college students and faculty, service personnel at large-scale supermarkets, and relevant personnel of transportation, logistics, and welfare institutions that guarantee the operation of the society.”

Nothing so far in PD about the controversy surrounding the efficacy of vaccines that Gao Fu, head of the China CDC, landed himself into. You can read his clarification in the Global Times. 

There’s a piece about China’s vaccine diplomacy. It says that “China has provided and is providing vaccine assistance to more than 80 countries and 3 international organizations, while exporting vaccines to more than 40 countries, and is also developing vaccine research and development and production cooperation with more than 10 countries.” Then the piece talks about vaccine deliveries and use in specific countries.

Page 9: On the theory page today, there’s a piece by Xie Chuntao, deputy dean of the Central Party School. Xie writes about comprehensive governance of the Party. Xie argues that to govern the party comprehensively, it is important to:

  • Strengthen the party's leadership. That is the “core” task.

  • Focus on comprehensiveness, i.e., govern the entire party; all members and party organizations and all fields, aspects, and departments of party building, with the focus on seizing the “critical minority.” This is about keeping “leading cadres” in check in terms of their exercise of power.

  • Be strict. 

  • Focus on governance, i.e., from the Party Central Committee to the local party committees at all levels, from the central ministries and commissions, the state organs and departments to the grass-roots party branches, they must shoulder the main responsibilities…

“Strictly governing the party in an all-round way is a great self-revolution. Continuously carrying out self-revolution while carrying out social revolution is the most significant sign that distinguishes our party from other parties. Only by administering the party strictly with the spirit of self-revolution, resolutely fighting against all issues that affect the party’s advanced nature and weakening the party’s purity, and achieving self-purification, self-improvement, self-renewal, and self-improvement, can the party be built stronger powerful.”

He then talks about the key tasks. These include:

  • Correcting the “four winds”

  • Adhering to the eight central regulations.

  • Tackling corruption, which he calls the “biggest threat” the party faces

  • Getting high-quality cadre who are responsible

  • Combine ideological party building with strict governance with a focus on “leading cadres.”

On the “four winds.” I found this fascinating paper, which explains the significance of the phrase “four winds.” It argues that the 四风 sifeng “four winds” concept:

“originates in the traditional cosmological theory of the human body and health in relation to nature, conventionally referred to as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is indigenous to China. The Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing) regards the imbalance of natural forces such as wind, damp, and hot and cold in the microcosm of the human body as a central cause of ill-health. The factor 风 feng “wind” or “draft” in particular is considered the top trigger of a hundred diseases (Unschuld 2003). This concept is lexicalized in many Chinese terms referring to various medical conditions such as 中风 zhong-feng “stroke,” literally “hit by wind,” 风湿 feng-shi “rheumatic disease,” literally “wind damp,” 痛风 tong-feng “gout,” literally “pain from wind,” 白癜风 bai-dian-feng “vitiligo,” literally “white-spot wind.” In folk understanding of ill-health, the notion of 受风 shou-feng “exposure to wind” is often invoked as a trigger of illness. Thus, we can say that the notion of “four winds” is part of the Chinese cultural model of health and ill-health...In the Chinese epistemic community, “wind” is metaphorically associated with adverse influence, and 四风 si-feng “four winds” specifically refers to four undesirable “work styles”—formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance as the causes of corruption.”

Page 16: Three reports to note on the international page. There’s obviously no issue with the nature of the reporting here. The noteworthy bit is the choice to report these specific stories. First, a piece on events along the US-Mexico border. It says that:

“Data released by the US government on April 8 showed that the US Customs and Border Protection intercepted 172,000 illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border in March, a record high. The illegal immigrants intercepted in March included nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants. This number is the highest in a single month since the release of data in 2009. The Associated Press reported that these child immigrants are detained in heavily overcrowded and poorly-conditioned temporary detention facilities and are also at high risk of infection with the new crown virus.”

The piece then pulls information from various American media outlets to criticise the US government’s policies, particularly in the context of the treatment of minors. 

Next a report based on a controversy in the UK about racism. Here’s the BBC’s explanation of what’s happened:

“Downing Street set up the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in June last year, following anti-racism protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US. The commission was tasked with looking into racial inequality in the UK. Their report - published last month - concluded that the country ‘no longer’ has a system rigged against people from ethnic minorities. It also said family structure and social class had a bigger impact than race on how people's lives turned out. The report acknowledged that overt racism exists, particularly online, but said the UK ;should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries’ for its success in removing race-based disparities in society. Dr Tony Sewell who chaired the commission told the BBC they found "anecdotal evidence" of racism but no proof of ‘institutional racism’ in the country.”

Now people have been protesting this report with a letter written to Boris Johnson urging him to “repudiate the commission’s findings immediately and withdraw its report.” 

So, this is covered in PD today. It talks about the controversy and then highlights the following:

  • The Lamy Report of 2017, which PD says found that “ethnic minorities account for 14% of the total population of the UK, but only 6% of the police force, and their proportions in judicial systems such as district courts are also lower than the proportion of the population.”

  • A Guardian article, which says that “in the past five years, British schools have recorded more than 60,000 cases of racial discrimination. But since the government announced in 2017 that schools do not need to record and report incidents of discrimination and bullying, this number is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.”

  • “According to British media reports, racial discrimination is very serious among Asians, especially Chinese. After the UK's "Brexit" referendum, domestic xenophobia rose sharply. During the epidemic, discrimination and hatred against Asians, especially Chinese, in the UK surged.”

Third, a piece on the EU’s efforts to build battery supplies to support its growing NEV market. It says that:

  • “Europe sold more than 1.36 million new energy vehicles last year, becoming the world's largest new energy vehicle market. According to the EU's goal, there will be at least 30 million zero-emission electric vehicles by 2030.”

  • “It is predicted that Europe will need to produce nearly 1/3 of the world's electric vehicle batteries in 2030 in order to remain competitive in the market. For now, its battery supply capacity is far from this.”

  • “Last year, the EU also approved two "major projects of European common interest" on batteries; 12 EU countries will invest tens of billions of euros to support battery technology research and development, new battery materials, power storage technology, battery shell materials, battery recovery and recycling and other aspects of the whole industry chain, in which enterprises are the most important participants...The European Union predicts that the value chain of the entire battery industry will reach 250 billion euros by 2025, from raw material mining and production to recycling of used batteries.

  • Then the story talks about some of the investments that have taken place.

It then ends with this: “Overall, because the industry chain is not yet complete, labor, tax and other costs remain high, compared with the surging new energy vehicle sales market, the speed of production and return cycle of European battery production capacity is not synchronized with it, which will affect the actual direction and effectiveness of the industry. However, the European battery industry still contains great opportunities, and its industrial policies and practices will provide valuable experience for the transformation of the global automotive industry.”