China-Indonesia Ties - Xi Meets Meloni & UNSG - The Missing Sentence: 'Today’s Era Must Not be of War' - Chinese Analysts on Xi-Biden Talks - 仲音: Dynamic Clearing Most Economical & Effective Strategy
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy in the Thursday, November 17, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: It’s another day of the front page being dominated by Xi Jinping’s engagements in Indonesia. First, let’s look at the report on Xi’s remarks during a discussion on digital transformation. Xinhua reports:
“Countries should make concerted efforts to foster an open, inclusive, equitable, just and non-discriminatory environment for the development of digital economy, and advance international cooperation on nurturing the digital industry and promoting the digital transformation of industries, to unleash the potential of digital economy in driving global growth, the Chinese president said. Building ‘a small yard with high fences’ to limit or hinder cooperation in science and technology will hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself, Xi noted, adding that such practices are incompatible with the common interests of the international community. Xi said it is important to put development first and bridge the digital divide, saying countries should jointly promote connectivity in the digital age, and take effective measures to promote digital literacy and skills for all. It is particularly important to help developing countries and disadvantaged groups to adapt to digital transformation and strive to close the digital divide, he stressed. China has launched the initiative of building a digital Silk Road, and has identified digital economy as a key area of cooperation under the Global Development Initiative, Xi said, noting that China looks forward to cooperating with all parties in this regard. Xi also called for global efforts to follow an innovation-driven approach and facilitate post-pandemic recovery. China has proposed the G20 Action Plan on Digital Innovation and Cooperation, which is aimed at promoting the innovative application of digital technology and making innovation outcomes beneficial to all and shared by all, and welcomes the participation of all parties, Xi added.”
Second, Xi Jinping’s meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The two leaders watched the operational trial of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway through video link. Xinhua reports:
“Xi noted that China stands ready to keep forging synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Indonesia's Global Maritime Fulcrum and bring about the early completion and operation of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway. The two sides will continue to advance the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridor and the ‘Two Countries, Twin Parks’ to elevate bilateral cooperation to a higher level, the Chinese president said, noting that China will continue to support Indonesia in building a regional vaccine production center, and advance the joint research and development of vaccines. China welcomes more competitive products from Indonesia to enter its market, and will continue to encourage outstanding Chinese companies to participate in major infrastructure construction projects in Indonesia, take part in the development of Indonesia's new capital and the North Kalimantan Industrial Park, and expand cooperation in digital economy, green development and other areas, Xi said. Xi underscored that as representatives of major developing countries and emerging markets, China and Indonesia must uphold true multilateralism, focus on key areas such as poverty alleviation, food security and development-oriented financing, build signature projects of the Global Development Initiative, contribute to stronger, greener and healthier global development, and foster a more just and equitable global governance system. China supports Indonesia's ASEAN rotating chairmanship next year and efforts to focus on development and cooperation, foster a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home in the region, and build an even closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, he said.”
In terms of outcomes: The two sides signed a Plan of Action for Strengthening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Indonesia (2022-2026), a plan on jointly promoting cooperation within the framework of BRI and GMF, an agreement on further expanding and deepening bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and a series of other cooperation documents on digital economy, education, vocational training, agriculture, health, medicinal plants, media, infrastructure financing and import of Indonesian bananas. The two sides also issued a joint statement, which is published in the paper today.
Some excerpts from the joint statement:
“The two sides reaffirmed commitment to uphold the principle of non-interference into internal affairs of each other and continuing to firmly support each other on issues concerning such core interests as national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. Indonesia reiterated its firm adherence to the one-China policy, its continued support for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and China's peaceful reunification. China reiterated its firm support for Indonesia's efforts to secure its national unity and territorial integrity.”
“The two sides attached great importance to the cooperation for sustainable development, including under the framework of the Global Development Initiative (GDI), and will deepen cooperation in such fields as poverty alleviation and poverty reduction, rural revitalization and development-oriented financing, speed up cultivation of fresh growth points such as green development and digital economy, and carry out cooperation in such major projects in Indonesia as the new capital and the North Kalimantan Industrial Park. The two sides will expand trade and investment cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit and reciprocity and promote industrial upgrading, maintain stability in supply chain and industry chain, ensure food security and energy security, so as to jointly make contributions to the regional development and global recovery in the post-pandemic era.”
“The two sides share common interests in ensuring peace and stability through dialogue and diplomacy, and will maintain close communication and coordination in regional and global security affairs, jointly address regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and bio-security. The two sides agreed to enhance communication and explore efforts in potential cooperation on the Global Security Initiative (GSI).”
The two sides will continue to strengthen multilateralism, and strengthen cooperation at such multilateral fora as the United Nations, APEC, and G20, actively enhance the South-South cooperation through such mechanisms and frameworks as BRICS, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77, with a view to firmly safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries as well as global fairness and justice, and demonstrate the responsibilities of major developing countries, promote global governance toward the development with greater fairness and justice, so as to contribute more to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Third, Xi’s meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Xinhua reports:
Xi said that it is important for the two countries to carry forward the tradition of friendship, understand and support each other’s core interests and major concerns, pursue common ground while shelving differences, expand consensus, and set an example for relations between countries with different social systems and cultural backgrounds…Xi stressed his hope for the two sides to tap into the China-Italy Government Committee and dialogue mechanisms across sectors to explore the potential of cooperation in such areas as high-end manufacturing, clean energy, aviation and aerospace and in third-party markets.”
Other key points:
China welcomes Italy to be the guest of honour of the 2023 China International Consumer Products Expo.
Xi hoped that Italy will play an important role in promoting the EU's commitment to an independent and positive China policy.
Meloni said Italy does not approve of bloc confrontation, and believes that countries should respect their differences and disagreements, strengthen solidarity, keep to dialogue and exchanges, and enhance mutual understanding.
It’s not in the Chinese reporting, but Reuters reports that Meloni told Xi that “Italy wants to increase exports to China, stressed the importance of reviving the EU-China dialogue, including on human rights, and accepted an invitation to visit China.”
The Reuters report also adds that as per the Italian government’s statement the two leaders “agreed that every diplomatic initiative should be promoted to put an end to the conflict and avoid an escalation” in Ukraine. Again, none of this finds mention in the Chinese readouts.
Fourth, Xi’s meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Some excerpts from the Xinhua report:
“Xi said that to achieve world peace, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be observed and the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously.” — The second part of that sentence offers quite the caveat for the first, doesn’t it?
“At present, the global development process is confronted with unprecedented challenges and developing countries, the vulnerable ones in particular, have suffered the most, Xi said. It is imperative to place development at the center of the international agenda, nurture new drivers for global development, forge a global development partnership, pursue more robust, greener and more balanced global development, and let every country and individual benefit more and in a fairer way from development outcomes…In this regard, countries need to match their words with actions and produce more tangible results rather than make empty rhetoric, he noted, stressing that China will strengthen cooperation with the United Nations and jointly work for solid progress on the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative.”
Guterres “noted the United Nations firmly supports the one-China principle, and recognizes it as a red line for China that must be respected and not crossed.”
He also said “when it comes to helping developing countries realize common development, China’s efforts have been unmatched.”
Finally, there’s a report on Xi and Li Keqiang exchanging congratulatory messages with the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, respectively, on the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties.
Page 2: Wang Yi met with his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard. Xinhua reports Ebrard said that “the Mexican side will continue to support China in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests, actively promote Belt and Road cooperation, further enhance high-level mutual trust between the two countries, and deepen cooperation with China among Latin American and Caribbean countries.”
The report adds: “For his part, Wang said China also will continue to firmly support Mexico in safeguarding its core interests, noting that both China and Mexico are independent countries and important emerging economies, and have always been respecting each other and treating each other as equals. The two countries' relationship does not target the third party, and also goes in parallel with their respective foreign relations with others, Wang said.” It further has Wang saying that “China appreciates Mexico's important role in promoting the relations between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries…”
Also on the page is a part of the G20 declaration (English text of the full declaration) that was agreed upon. The full paragraph on the war in Ukraine is included in the extracts:
“This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks. There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognizing that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”
What’s really interesting is that the next paragraph from the declaration is also included but with one tiny, not-so-inconsequential omission.
Here’s the actual paragraph:
“It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”
And here is what’s been published in PD:
What’s missing is the final sentence: “Today’s era must not be of war.” Now, that might not sound like a really big deal to others. But if you were in India, that sentence is a big deal, because that’s the formulation that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put forward during his engagement with President Vladimir Putin in September on the sidelines of the SCO. And the fact that it was part of the G20’s view on the situation was a big deal domestically in India and was seen a measure of the success of Indian diplomacy during this difficult moment. For instance, two days ago, the Financial Times had reported:
“The Indian delegation played a big role in achieving consensus among member states over the wording that criticised the Russian invasion, according to three officials with knowledge of the negotiations. The language of the draft statement echoed Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s words to Putin in September by saying ‘now is not the time for war’.”
Having worked for over a decade in the news media, including Chinese state media, I understand that more often than not incompetence and oversight, rather than malice, are better explanations for reporting errors and omissions. This simply does not appear to be one of those cases. Unfortunately, this seems like a deliberate and rather petty decision to omit that sentence.
Page 3: A report on Chinese experts discussing the Xi-Biden meeting. The piece has comments from Xu Bu, Zhu Feng, Su Xiaohui, Wu Xinbo and Gao Fei. All of them sound rather optimistic.
In the first part, Xu Bu and Zhu Feng highlight the importance of heads of state diplomacy in regard to China-US ties. Zhu says that the two leaders had a candid and constructive dialogue and instructed their respective teams to take the conversation forward, this is “in line with the international community's expectation that China and the United States will handle their relations well.” 中美元首就事关中美关系以及世界和平发展前景的重大问题进行坦诚、深入、建设性、战略性沟通，并责成双方工作团队跟进磋商，落实两国元首达成的重要共识，符合国际社会对中美处理好彼此关系的期待. — This is a repetition of the theme of China being a responsible major power.
Xu Bu says that the “face-to-face meeting between Chinese and US heads of state in three years reflects the importance that both sides attach to developing bilateral relations.” 中美元首举行3年来首次面对面会晤，体现了双方对于发展双边关系的重视.
Su Xiaohui saw the meeting as a positive, particularly coming after big domestic agenda items in both countries getting done with. “China has always been committed to leading and shaping Sino-US relations from a positive perspective and pushing Sino-US relations back to a healthy and stable development track. The US side made it clear that the two countries have a common responsibility to show the world that they can control differences and avoid and prevent misunderstandings, misjudgments or fierce competition from turning into confrontation or even conflict.” 中方始终致力于从积极的角度引领和塑造中美关系，推动中美关系重回健康稳定发展轨道。美方明确表示，美中双方有共同责任向世界展示，美中能够管控分歧，避免和防止由于误解误判或激烈竞争演变成对抗甚至冲突.
Wu Xinbo says that given the circumstances, the fact that there was a bilateral meeting is in itself a “positive signal.” 在世界政治经济局势动荡不定的情况下，中美两个大国的元首举行面对面会晤，本身就是一个积极信号，能够为全球稳定增加信心，为实现共同发展增添动力.
There’s little analysis going forward. Rather, the individuals are repeating what we already know. For instance, Zhu Feng says that China called on the US to adhere to mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation; that the two sides must have the correct view of each other’s internal and external policies and strategic intentions; and that they should establish the tone of dialogue rather than confrontation and win-win rather than zero-sum exchanges. 中方提出中美应坚持相互尊重、和平共处、合作共赢，倡导中美双方应该正确看待对方内外政策和战略意图，确立对话而非对抗、双赢而非零和的交往基调. He adds that the teams on both sides will work to inject positive energy and a safety valve.
Xu Bu talked about the discussion on Taiwan. Su Xiaohui said that “China hopes that the US side will match its words with deeds” on the Taiwan issue. He added that “Clarifying our core interests and red lines is of positive significance to preventing the US from making strategic misjudgments.” “明确我们的核心利益、红线，对于防止美方的战略误判具有积极意义.” — If the red line is that the US must not be seen as supportive of ‘Taiwan Independence’ activities, then I guess the question is what does Beijing define as comprising those activities today? Does support for Taiwan at say the WHA imply support for “independence”? Does support to ensure that Taiwan’s diplomatic allies do not get weaned away imply a breach? This, as per the Taiwanese side, is what they expect Beijing to do more vigorously after the 20th Party Congress. Basically, how precisely was this red line outlined in the meeting?
Just to remind everyone, this is how Wang Yi had described this bit of the talks: “President Xi stressed that the Taiwan question is ‘the core of the core interests of China’, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the red line that the United States must not and should not cross in China-U.S. relations. China urges the U.S. side to match its words with action, abide by the one-China policy and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, fulfill its commitment of ‘not supporting 'Taiwan independence’, stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China policy, restrain and stop ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist rhetoric and activities, and prevent the situation from moving to a point of no return.”
The final bit of the article talks about common interests, such as ensuring no conflict, no confrontation and peaceful co-existence, along with the recovery of the global economy, the response to climate change, and the resolution of regional hotspot issues. “The two sides should respect each other, benefit each other, focus on the overall situation, and provide a good atmosphere and stable relationship for cooperation.” 双方应该相互尊重，互惠互利，着眼大局，为双方合作提供好的氛围和稳定的关系.
Gao Fei says: “Peaceful cooperation between China and the United States is in the interests of both sides and the common interest of the world.” 中美之间的和平合作符合双边利益，也符合世界的共同利益. Zhu Feng says: “China and the United States should make efforts to make the list of cooperation longer and longer, not shorter and shorter.”中美双方应努力使合作清单越拉越长，不要越缩越短. And Xu Bu says that the measures that have been taken at the meeting to promote practical cooperation “will help stabilise Sino-US relations, help the two countries achieve peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation and truly be responsible to history, the world and the people.” 中美双方采取措施推进务实合作，有助于稳定中美关系，有助于两国实现和平共处、合作共赢，真正做到对历史、对世界、对人民负责.
Page 4: A report on Li Zhanshu talking to Gustavo Porras, head of Nicaragua's National Assembly. Xinhua reports:
“The two countries resumed diplomatic ties in December last year on the basis of the one-China principle, which Li said opened a new chapter in bilateral relations. China highly appreciates Nicaragua's support in issues concerning China's core interests and major concerns, and believes Nicaragua will continue to back China’s endeavor of justice to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Li said. China will firmly support Nicaragua's efforts in defending its national sovereignty and dignity and exploring a development path suited to its national conditions, he said. He said China is ready to synergize development strategies with Nicaragua, explore more drivers of cooperation, and carry out people-to-people exchanges.” Li also talked about working together in the context of GDI, GSI and BRI.
Next, there’s a report on the 20th Party Congress spirit study session in Nanning, Guangxi, with Jiang Xinzhi making the presentation. Likewise, in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Wu Hanfei led the presentation. The report reiterates the goals of Chinese-style modernisation and the two establishments and two safeguards.
Finally, there’s a 仲音 commentary, which argues that as per data, China’s economy is showing strong resilience, sufficient potential and wide room for manoeuvre; and China’s epidemic prevention and control policy had a good cost-benefit ratio. The data the piece mentions are:
95.4% of winter wheat has been sown
national freight logistics are running in an orderly manner, with 7.4033 million trucks passing through the national expressway, an increase of 4.02% from the previous month
a total of 552 million express parcels were delivered during the Singles’ Day sale
The article adds that the fight against COVID-19 is “complex, arduous and repetitive” and it “tests patience, strength and endurance.” In order to understand think through the general strategy and principle of China’s anti-epidemic policy of adhering to the supremacy of people and life one must keep in mind the “general ledger.”
“The safety of people’s lives and health are the primary criteria to assess the effectiveness of epidemic prevention and control. The COVID-19 pandemic has been prevalent all over the world for nearly three years, and almost everyone has been affected to varying degrees. However, comparing on the basis of the two indicators of morbidity and mortality, Chinese people have been the least affected. It is because we always insisted on dynamic clearing that we have ensured very low morbidity and mortality rates, ensuring that safety of people’s lives and health can be protected to the greatest extent. This irrefutably proves that insisting on dynamic clearing is the best practice of the concept of people first and life first.” 人民的生命安全和身体健康是判断疫情防控成效的首要标准。新冠肺炎疫情全球流行了近三年，几乎每个人都受到了不同程度的影响，但从发病率和病亡率两个指标看，中国人受到疫情的影响是全球最小的。正因为始终坚持动态清零，我们才保证了极低的发病率和病亡率，让人民生命安全和身体健康得到最大程度的保护。这无可辩驳地证明，坚持动态清零是对人民至上、生命至上理念的最好践行.
“In the face of the pandemic, it is most cost-effective to protect a wider range, a larger population and a longer-term interest. Faced with the pandemic, we insisted that ‘it is better to have a temporarily impact the economic development a little than to harm the lives and health of the people, especially in order to protect the elderly and children.’ Compared with developed countries, although there is a gap in the availability of medical resources per capita and medical technology level in China, the average life expectancy in the country has increased steadily over the past two years. The average life expectancy in China reached 77.93 years in 2020, up 0.63 years from 2019, and then to 78.2 years in 2021. Scientific and powerful epidemic prevention and control policies and measures have contributed to such achievements.” 在大流行的疫情面前，保障更广范围、更大人群、更为长远的利益，是最符合成本效益的。疫情面前，我们坚持“宁可暂时影响一点经济发展，也不能让人民群众生命安全和身体健康受到伤害，尤其是要保护好老人、孩子”。与发达国家相比，我国人均医疗资源数量、医学技术水平虽然都有一定差距，但这两年人均预期寿命稳步上升，2020年我国居民人均预期寿命达到77.93岁，较2019年上升0.63岁，2021年则提高到78.2岁。能取得这样的成绩，科学有力的疫情防控政策举措功不可没.
“In the short term, dealing with sudden outbreaks quickly and preventing spillovers and a large-scale rebound will inevitably have a certain temporary impact on development; but in the long term, this will bring healthier and more sustainable development. Practice has fully shown that insisting on dynamic clearing is by no means an obstacle to development; rather it offers a boost to development. Dynamic clearing is the anti-epidemic strategy with the lowest comprehensive social cost. If we calculate the general ledger, our anti-epidemic measures are the most economical and effective.” 抗疫斗争，要算眼前账，更要算长远账。从短期看，以快制快处置突发疫情，严防外溢扩散和规模性反弹，难免会对发展造成一定的暂时影响，但放眼长远，换来的将是更健康持久的发展。实践充分表明，坚持动态清零，绝不是发展的阻力，而是发展的助力。动态清零是综合社会成本最低的抗疫策略，如果算总账，我们的防疫措施是最经济的、效果最好的.
The next paragraph talks about China’s strengths in implementing dynamic clearing:
Party’s strong leadership, organisation and execution capabilities
China’s socialist system has extraordinary organisational and mobilisational capabilities, overall coordination capabilities, and implementation capabilities… 我国社会主义制度具有非凡的组织动员能力、统筹协调能力、贯彻执行能力…
The indomitable will of the Chinese people is the source of strength to overcome all difficulties and obstacles on the road ahead; in the face of risks and challenges, we have always been united as one… 中国人民具有不屈不挠的意志力，是战胜前进道路上一切艰难险阻的力量源泉，面对风险挑战总是能够团结一心、众志成城，筑起“铜墙铁壁”“钢铁长城”“坚固防线”.
China’s comprehensive national strength accumulated since the founding of New China, especially since the reform and opening up, was key and was used well to ensure “victory in the Battle to Defend Wuhan and the Great Shanghai Defense war.” 我们打赢武汉保卫战、打赢大上海保卫战，得益于新中国成立以来特别是改革开放以来长期积累的综合国力，得益于危急时刻能够最大限度运用我们的综合国力.
China’s “long-term accumulated solid material foundation, the complete industrial system that has been established, the strong scientific and technological strength that has been built and abundant medical resources’ reserve can provide strong support for the normalisation of epidemic prevention and control. 我们长期积累的雄厚物质基础、建立的完整产业体系、形成的强大科技实力、储备的丰富医疗资源，能够为常态化疫情防控提供坚强支撑.
The experience accumulated over the past three years of pandemic control
The article ends by saying: “Persistence is victory, and unity is strength.” So not only should China persist with dynamic clearing but also “unify thoughts and actions behind the decision-making and deployment of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core…” 坚持就是胜利，团结就是力量。坚决把思想和行动统一到以习近平同志为核心的党中央决策部署上来，坚定不移坚持人民至上、生命至上，坚定不移落实“外防输入、内防反弹”总策略，坚定不移贯彻“动态清零”总方针，坚决落实疫情要防住、经济要稳住、发展要安全的要求，坚决克服麻痹思想、厌战情绪、侥幸心理、松劲心态，抓实抓细疫情防控各项工作，我们就一定能巩固疫情防控重大战略成果，实现疫情防控和经济社会发展双胜利.
Page 6: Today’s long article following the Party Congress is by Xiao Jie, discussing the promotion of law-based governance. I am not doing a breakdown of this.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang in Bali. The American readout says that “they discussed global macroeconomic and financial developments, including the challenges of high and volatile energy and commodity prices, and exchanged views on the macroeconomic outlook in the United States and China.” SCMP reports: “A PBOC statement following the meeting referred to the exchange as ‘constructive’. ‘Talks on specific bilateral matters, such as trade, investment and technology, should be the next steps,’ said He Weiwen, a senior fellow at the Beijing-based Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.” That said, this is an important caveat: “No meaningful negotiations are expected in coming months, however, as Beijing will soon reshuffle cabinet officials.”
COVID cases are surging in China, closing in on the 20k a day mark, but there’s really very little coverage in the paper of the challenges. There have been protests in Guangzhou. SCMP reported that “On Monday night, social media posts and videos showed hundreds of residents breaking through lockdown barriers, breaching checkpoints and marching on the streets of the city’s dense and unregulated urban villages. Some even got into fist fights with local health authorities and volunteers in protective gear.” And there are reports of confusion as local authorities figure out what exactly they should be doing. For instance, Shijiazhuang’s Party chief, Zhang Chaochao, said this week that the city’s “optimisation” of prevention measures should not be seen as authorities “lying flat” nor is Shijiazhuang moving towards “full liberation” from COVID curbs. But what this means is not clear for people. SCMP’s report informs that since the the announcement of new measures for precise and targeted action by the State Council last week, cities including Shijiazhuang, Shanghai, Sanya, Yanji in northeastern Jilin province and Fuzhou in southeastern Fujian province, have called off mass testing, while Beijing and Guangzhou have stopped identifying medium-risk areas and secondary close contacts. One interesting datapoint is in the tweet below:
This Caixin report has useful information on tax rebates: “China has refunded almost twice as much in value-added tax so far this year as in the past three years combined as the government steps up support for businesses hurt by the slowing economy and Covid restrictions, according to the national tax authority. VAT rebates to taxpayers totaled more than 2.3 trillion yuan ($325 billion) this year through Nov. 10, according to the State Taxation Administration. That exceeded VAT refunds totaling 1.2 trillion yuan from 2019 through 2021, government data showed. The manufacturing sector received 617.6 billion yuan in tax refunds, the most among all industries, according to the administration. Tourism, civil aviation, railway and road transportation, which were hit the hardest by the pandemic, received 509 billion yuan in VAT rebates. The total value of tax breaks this year including tax cuts and delays exceeded 3.7 trillion yuan as of Nov. 10, Wang Daoshu, deputy head of the administration, said Wednesday at a briefing.”
Finally, do check out this video below; it offers a good, succinct discussion on China’s space program, along with comparisons to India and the US.