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China-Kazakhstan Ties - Xi & Culture: Connecting Past to Present - Interview with Anhui Party Secretary Zheng Shanjie - Tian Peiyan on Xi as Core & Party's Future Direction
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy from the Tuesday, January 4, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: Let’s begin with a report about Xi Jinping exchanging congratulatory messages (English report) respectively with First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In his letter, Xi talks about how he “cherishes the sound working relationship and deep personal friendship with Nazarbayev.”
Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that in his message, Tokayev said that “since the establishment of diplomatic ties 30 years ago, Kazakhstan and China have set a good example for the international community to develop state-to-state relations, and have become an important factor for the stability and prosperity in the Eurasian region. The two sides have completely resolved the boundary issue left over from history, and built their border into a bridge of friendship and unity between Kazakhstan and China.”
Meanwhile, this is an interesting piece about the stresses in the China-Kazakhstan relationship.
Next, the fourth in the commentary series based on Xi Jinping’s new year speech. This one is drawn from this paragraph of Xi’s speech:
“This year has also recorded many memorable Chinese voices, Chinese moments and Chinese stories: youthful vows of "pledging to the Party to make my country strong"; affectionate expression of "pure, true love saved for the motherland"; the Zhurong rover probing Mars, the Xihe satellite chasing the sun, and the Tianhe space station core module traveling among the stars; athletes outdoing themselves to excel on the sports field; the whole nation staying united in solid COVID-19 response; people in disaster-stricken areas standing together to rebuild their homes; members of the People's Liberation Army and Armed Police devoted to building a strong military and protecting our country. The hard work and dedication of countless unsung heroes have all added to the great momentum of China's march forward in the new era.”
I am doing a very short summary of the piece:
It says that China’s achievements are not gifts from the heavens or alms given by others; these are products of “hard work, wisdom and courage of the people under the leadership of the Party.” The piece then underscores that “facts prove that the Chinese nation is a nation of heroes, and the new era is an era of heroic achievements.” 事实证明，中华民族是英雄辈出的民族，新时代是成就英雄的时代. It argues that 100 years ago, China was in a state of decline and decay; in comparison, today it is prosperous and is “moving towards a great rejuvenation at an unstoppable pace.” But, it is good to feel confident and proud, it is also important to accept responsibility and build on the great accomplishments of the Chinese Communists of the past who united and led the people. Essentially, people must build on the inheritance and be worthy of the times. The piece also argues that if everyone does their individual bit, then together this becomes a powerful driving force to advance the cause of the Party and the country.
Third, a brief note, which leads to a report on Page 5 about the steps being taken to combat food waste. Fourth, a brief picture report (English report) about unit No. 6 of the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant of the China National Nuclear Corp. becoming China’s second and the world’s third Hualong One reactor to achieve grid connection.
Finally, there’s a long review of work done in terms of revitalising Chinese culture since the 18th Party Congress. This is really about Xi Jinping more than anything else.
The piece begins by telling us that since then Xi has demonstrated far-sighted and strategic vision, clear-headed and courageous historical consciousness, and deep and firm cultural self-confidence and has integrated the ancient and modern, connecting China to the rest of the world, awakened, revived and promoted China’s fine traditional culture, and instilled it with vigour and vitality. 党的十八大以来，习近平总书记以高瞻远瞩的战略眼光、清醒勇毅的历史自觉、深沉坚定的文化自信，融汇古今、联通中外，在波澜壮阔的伟大实践中唤醒激活、弘扬光大中华优秀传统文化，使之焕发出勃勃生机活力.
The next chunk of the article basically talks about how Xi has connected the ancient to the modern.
So talks about Xi’s anti-corruption campaign and links it to imperial times, talking about how the inspection teams are akin to the imperial envoy carrying the imperial sword 钦差大臣 (qīnchāi dàchén) or akin to the 八府巡按 (bā fǔ xún àn). It talks about Xi’s emphasis on building institutional strength harks back to the fourth Plenum Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee with this phrase from the Book of Shang. 凡将立国，制度不可不察也. The piece also talks about Xi discussing the dialectics of war and peace; this draws from his speech in October 2020 on the 70th anniversary of the Korean war. Xi had then said that one may need to use force to end war. 以战止战、以武止戈. The argument is that one needs to be ready to fight in order to end up fighting. Based on this, the piece talks about the military reforms under Xi.
In this same context of integrating the ancient to modern, the piece talks about Xi’s emphasis on comprehensive deepening reform as “a major strategic plan.” He also mentions improving and developing the system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and promoting the modernisation of the national governance system and governance capacity. It talks about the new development concept, dual circulation, disaster relief, food security and balancing of development and security. This then leads to talking about Xi’s Governance of China series, and Henry Kissinger’s praise for the book.
“Through the echoes of history, General Secretary Xi Jinping has clearly pointed out that special attention should be paid to tapping the essence of the 5,000-year-old Chinese civilisation, combining the promotion of fine traditional culture with the Marxist position, viewpoint and method, and unswervingly following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 穿越历史的回响，习近平总书记鲜明指出，要特别重视挖掘中华五千年文明中的精华，把弘扬优秀传统文化同马克思主义立场观点方法结合起来, 坚定不移走中国特色社会主义道路.
The piece then goes back to Xi’s 2012 visit to the The Road Toward Rejuvenation exhibition in Beijing. And after a bit, it says that in the face of complex and severe international competition, what values should be established to uphold cultural self-confidence in contemporary China? In this context, Xi is quoted talking about the 12 core socialist values.
The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has creatively condensed the connotation of traditional culture into core values, making it a fundamental project for gathering the soul and strengthen the foundation, ensuring that traditional culture transcends time and space, and survives and thrives with new splendour in the new era. Activate traditional culture, and make the influence of core socialist values as ubiquitous and ever-present as the air. 以习近平同志为核心的党中央将传统文化内涵创造性凝结于核心价值观中，使之作为凝魂聚气、强基固本的基础工程，推动优秀传统文化跨越时空、历久弥新，在新时代绽放新光彩. 激活传统文化，使社会主义核心价值观的影响像空气一样无所不在、无时不有...
The piece then says that under Xi core socialist values based on China’s excellent traditional culture have become a daily code of conduct and ‘greatest common denominator’ of social consensus. 在习近平总书记引领下，立足于中华优秀传统文化的社会主义核心价值观，化作百姓日用不觉的行为准则，成为凝聚社会共识的“最大公约数”.
Some of the ideas that are then discussed are the importance of family and family education and moral and self-cultivation. In addition, there’s talk about preservation and rebuilding of heritage sites and cultural relics preservation. The piece then talks about Xi desiring to forge “a strong sense of community of the Chinese nation” with cultural identity being critical to this. The piece also touches on literature, art, and sports.
The piece says that at present, it appears that there is a resurgence of the theories of clash of civilisation and civilisational superiority; therefore, there is a debate on what path should be mankind’s destiny: conflict or dialogue, confrontation. This is a major issue today. In this context, the piece talks about BRI. It argues that BRI draws on Chinese history. In this context, we talk about Xuanzang and Zheng He. This is followed by a brief discussion on China’s foreign policy under Xi. The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations of 2019 gets a mention here, as does the concept of a community of common destiny.
The piece also talks about Xi’s 2013 visit to Qufu and Xi’s September 2020 visit to the Yuelu Academy. The latter leads to the final discussion in the piece, about seeking truth from facts and adapting the truth of Marxism to local conditions. The idea is that this is the secret of the Party’s success. It adds:
“Xi Jinping has integrated Marxism with the fine traditional Chinese culture that has been inherited for thousands of years and values that permeate the DNA of the nation. He has made new theoretical creations of pioneering significance, and pushed Marxism to keep pace with the times and gain public acceptance.” 习近平总书记以“我将无我，不负人民”的博大胸怀，将马克思主义同传承千年的中华优秀传统文化、渗透民族基因的价值观念融会贯通，进行了新的具有开拓性意义的理论创造，推动马克思主义与时俱进、深入人心——
Page 2: There is an interview with Zheng Shanjie, Anhui Party Secretary. First, here’s how he plans to implement the goal of seeking progress while maintaining stability.
First, have prudent and effective macro policies; implement taxes and fee cuts, and guide financial institutions to increase support for the real economy, especially small and micro businesses, scientific and technological innovation, and green development.
Second, boosting confidence of market entities, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and individual businesses.
Third, deepen supply-side structural reform and promote high-quality and coordinated development of the tertiary sector.
Fourth, implement policies that support science and technology innovation.
Fifth, pursue reform and opening up. In this context, he talks about BRI and leveraging RCEP
Six pursue the regional coordinated development strategy. This includes integrated development of the Yangtze river delta region, high quality development across the central regions, the Yangtze river economic belt and other major strategic development, development of the Hefei metropolitan area, development of the the Wanjiang city cluster and the Dabie Mountains revolutionary base areas, and the South Anhui International Cultural Tourism Demonstration Area
Seven, coordinate and promote economic development and livelihood protection, and strive to narrow the regional gap, urban and rural gap, and income gap.
He ends this by talking about supporting the development of the tertiary sector in order to make the pie bigger. 推动三次产业协同发展，把“蛋糕”做大做好
Next, on common prosperity, he says that this is a new aspect of Xi Jinping Economic Thought. Anhui is a developing province; unbalanced and inadequate development is the biggest problem facing the province. Making the ‘pie’ of high-quality economic development bigger and better is the top priority. This requires us to speed up the high-quality and coordinated development of the tertiary sector and lay a solid industrial, economic and material foundation for common prosperity. 安徽是一个发展中省份，发展不平衡不充分是最大省情，把经济高质量发展的“蛋糕”做大做好是重中之重。这就要求我们必须加快推动三次产业高质量协同发展，打牢共同富裕的产业基础、经济基础、物质基础.
In terms of actions, he talks about three actions plans:
First, strengthening agriculture with science and technology, strengthening agriculture with new machinery, and increasing farmers’ incomes.
Second, in terms of industry, he talks about improving quality, expanding quantity and enhancing efficiency. In the next five years, he talks about focussing on next generation information technology, automobiles and spare parts, equipment manufacturing and new materials.
Third, focusing on strengths and addressing shortcomings. This entails domestic trade, developing modern logistics, promoting cultural tourism, financial services, software and information technology services, science and technology services, making up for the shortcomings of foreign trade, promoting the construction of free trade pilot zones, strengthening foreign trade entities, and accelerating the formation of a cross-border integrated industrial ecosystem.
The last question is about science and technology innovation. In this regard, he says that in Anhui, the total number of high-tech enterprises exceeds 11,000, and 12 scientific and technological achievements have won national science and technology awards. Going ahead, he promises:
Adherence to market orientation. This refers to innovation being driven by market mechanisms and demand.
Pursue industrialisation, while linking scientific discovery, technological innovation and industrial development.
Encourage enterprises to play a leading role in R&D.
Finally, he talks about pursuing urbanisation. In regard to achieving this, he talks about streamlining administration, delegating power, strengthening regulation and improving services. In addition, he promises to “fully implement the central government’s policies to benefit enterprises” and effective supervision to “ensure that market players can enjoy preferential policies in full and on time.” Finally, he talks about Anhui’s energy mix.
In Anhui, coal accounts for 69% of primary energy consumption and more than 92% of power generation. There are also a number of old industrial bases and resource-exhausted cities. It is urgent for Anhui to comprehensively transform its economic and social development model into a green one. He says that Anhui will keep in mind Xi Jinping’s instructions to curb the blind development of “two high” projects – i.e. projects with high energy consumption and high carbon emissions – and promote the optimal mix of coal and new energy. He also talks about working to deal with air, water and soil pollution… 安徽煤炭占一次能源消费的69%，煤炭发电量占比超92%，还有一批老工业基地、资源枯竭型城市，经济社会发展全面绿色转型迫在眉睫。我们将牢记习近平总书记殷殷嘱托，遏制“两高”项目盲目发展，推动煤炭和新能源优化组合。实施大气、水、土壤污染防治升级版，落实长江“十年禁渔”举措，深化新安江、大别山等生态保护补偿制度改革.
Page 3: On the page, we have the full joint statement (English version) of the leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races, and comments (English version) by vice FM Ma Zhaoxu.
Ma said that by issuing the joint statement, the five Nuclear-Weapon States stressed that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought and reiterated that none of the nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State. This is the first time for leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States to issue such a joint statement, which has demonstrated the political will of the five states to prevent nuclear wars, and given their common voice of maintaining global strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear conflicts, he added. Noting that the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century and the impact of COVID-19, Ma said the international strategic security field faces many major challenges. The joint statement is conducive to enhancing mutual trust, said Ma, adding that replacing competition among major countries with coordination and cooperation is of positive significance to the building of major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. China has always been advocating the idea that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and has been playing a leading role in promoting the five countries to take joint actions. Thanks to China's efforts, the content of “reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State” is included in the joint statement, according to Ma.
Next, a piece on how China is ready for the Olympics, and positive comments from abroad. Finally, a piece on the International Liaison Department conducting an event hosting leaders from the Middle East and North Africa on Xinjiang-related issues. The piece says that they extended support for China’s position.
Page 4: A bunch of reports on the page around the LegCo members’ oath-taking ceremony. There are comments from HKMAO and the Liaison Office. Here’s Xinhua English’s story and SCMP’s story on the oath-taking, if you are interested.
Page 9: On the theory page, the lead piece is by Tian Peiyan, the deputy director of the Party’s Policy Research Office. He writes that since the 18th Party Congress, the Party has been strict in terms of its governance and sought to enhance the Party’s overall leadership. This has “fundamentally reversed the trend of lax and weak governance over the Party.” Consequently, the Party’s political leadership, ideological guidance, mass organisation, social appeal, self-purification, self-perfection, self-innovation, and self-improvement have been significantly enhanced.
He says that the “two establishments” have been firmly rooted in the hearts of the people. “Having a strong leadership core and scientific theoretical guidance is an important symbol of a mature Marxist party, and the key to our party becoming a century-old party and achieving continuous success. He says that the achievements since the 18th Party Congress have been possible because General Secretary Xi Jinping has been “at the helm as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the core of the whole party” and because of the scientific guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The two establishments, he argues, “reflect the common aspiration of the whole party, the whole army and the people of all ethnic groups in China, and are of decisive significance to the development of the cause of the party and the country in the new era and the historical process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” “两个确立”深入人心并不断巩固发展。拥有坚强的领导核心、科学的理论指导是成熟的马克思主义政党的重要标志，是我们党能成为百年大党、不断取得事业胜利的关键所在。我们这么大一个党、这么大一个国家，如果党中央没有定于一尊、一锤定音的权威，党中央、全党没有众望所归的领导核心，那是不可想象的，那就什么事情也办不成。党的十八大以来，我们党之所以能够解决许多长期想解决而没有解决的难题，办成许多过去想办而没有办成的大事，推动党和国家事业取得历史性成就、发生历史性变革，最根本的原因在于有习近平总书记作为党中央的核心、全党的核心掌舵领航，在于有习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想科学指引。雄辩的事实证明，确立习近平同志党中央的核心、全党的核心地位，确立习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的指导地位，反映了全党全军全国各族人民共同心愿，对新时代党和国家事业发展、对推进中华民族伟大复兴历史进程具有决定性意义.
In the next paragraph, he talks about strengthening Party leadership across the board and linking it from top to bottom. He says that efforts have been put into maintaining strict political discipline and preventing individualism, de-centralism, liberalism, selfish departmentalism, being good guys, etc, along with improving the political judgment, political understanding and political execution of the Party’s leading cadres, and ensuring Party leadership across agencies like the CPPCC, supervisory organs, judicial organs, procuratorial organs, armed forces, enterprises and institutions, mass grassroots organizations, social organizations, etc…
He argues that with all these efforts, the Party is today in better health. He adds that the effort has led to stopping some “unhealthy trends that were considered impossible to stop in the past, and corrected some stubborn trends that had not been eliminated for many years. Adhere to the direction of ideological party building and institutional governance of the party, carry out centralised education across the party, clear up the party’s ideological roots, strengthen the foundation of faith, supplement the calcium of spirit, stabilise the rudder of thought, and maintain the true political character of the Communists. …刹住了一些过去被认为不可能刹住的歪风，纠治了一些多年未除的顽瘴痼疾，党风政风和社会风气为之一新. 坚持思想建党和制度治党同向发力，开展一系列党内集中教育，从思想上正本清源、固本培元，筑牢信仰之基、补足精神之钙、把稳思想之舵，保持共产党人政治本色.
He further promises to “strengthen political training, ideological training, practical training, and professional training, so as to build a contingent of high-quality and professional officials who are loyal, clean, and responsible.” He also promises to maintain the anti-corruption effort.
In the next section, Tian talks about making a new leap in adapting Marxism to China. Of course, he has lots of praise here for Xi Jinping Thought, which is 21st Century Marxism from the CPC’s perspective. Tian discusses the thoroughness of Xi Jinping Thought, which is reflected in its “political, truthful, practical and moral” strength. He says that Xi Thought encapsulates “reform, development and stability, internal affairs, foreign affairs and national defense, and governance of the Party, country and army. It combines Marxist philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism, and embodies the organic unity of the historical logic, theoretical logic and practical logic of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 这一思想统揽改革发展稳定、内政外交国防、治党治国治军，贯通马克思主义哲学、政治经济学、科学社会主义，体现中国特色社会主义历史逻辑、理论逻辑、实践逻辑的有机统一. He also talks about continuing to draw lessons from history to guide the future.
The next section talks about further strengthening the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Our Party adheres to the correct direction of reform, taking the promotion of social fairness and justice and improving people’s well-being as the starting point and foothold, focusing on further emancipating the mind, emancipating and developing productive social forces, emancipating and enhancing social vitality, opening roads on mountains, building bridges when encountering water, daring to bite hard bones, resolutely breaking all unreasonable institutional obstacles, and resolutely breaking all unreasonable barriers of vested interests. We will further promote the reform of the economic system, political system, cultural system, social system, ecological civilisation system, national defense and army, and party building system, establish and improve a series of institutional mechanisms that are urgently needed for national governance and necessary to meet the people’s new expectations for a better life… 我们党坚持改革正确方向，以促进社会公平正义、增进人民福祉为出发点和落脚点，聚焦进一步解放思想、解放和发展社会生产力、解放和增强社会活力，逢山开路、遇水架桥，敢于啃硬骨头、敢于涉险滩，坚决破除一切不合理的体制机制障碍，坚决打破一切不合理的利益固化藩篱，深入推进经济体制、政治体制、文化体制、社会体制、生态文明体制、国防和军队改革和党的建设制度改革，建立健全一系列国家治理急需、满足人民对美好生活新期待必备的制度机制，着力增强改革的系统性、整体性、协同性，推动改革全面发力、多点突破、蹄疾步稳、纵深推进，各领域基础性制度框架基本确立，许多领域实现历史性变革、系统性重塑、整体性重构.
In this regard, he then talks about respecting the constitution and adhering to law-based governance while also governing the Party through rules and paying attention to the coordination between intra-Party regulations and state laws. The subsequent paragraph discusses enhancing the system and capacity for governance. In this, he talks about promoting law-based thinking and awareness of the law. But he also emphasises ensuring that:
“candidates recommended by Party organizations become leading personnel of organs of state power through legal procedures; that they exercise the Party’s leadership over the state and society through organs of state power, and use the principle of democratic centralism to safeguard the authority of the Central Committee and the unity of the whole Party and the country.” 善于使党组织推荐的人选通过法定程序成为国家政权机关的领导人员，善于通过国家政权机关实施党对国家和社会的领导，善于运用民主集中制原则维护中央权威、维护全党全国团结统一.
In the final section, he talks about China’s economic development, enhanced innovation capacity, poverty alleviation, cultural development, building an ecological civilisation, a peaceful China, and its external engagement, referencing BRI, China’s pandemic diplomacy and desire to participate in global governance reform. In making all of these arguments, he reiterated that China’s development has established a new form of human civilisation, and offered a “path for developing countries to achieve modernisation, and provided a new choice for countries and nations that want to speed up development while maintaining their independence.”
In the final paragraph, he talks about further developing “whole process democracy” and giving “full play to the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, making better use of the role of the government, and opening up channels for social mobility” in order to ensure smooth flow of social wealth and unleashing society’s creativity. 充分发挥市场在资源配置中的决定性作用、更好发挥政府作用，畅通社会流动渠道，形成人人渴望成才、人人努力成才、人人皆可成才、人人尽展其才的良好局面，使社会财富充分涌流、社会创造活力竞相迸发. — While he said this, I find it interesting that he did not mention common prosperity in this piece.
A review of the first year of the implementation of the Veterans Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China
On the international page, there’s a story critical of the US’ seizure of Iranian oil from four foreign-flagged tankers in or around the Arabian Sea while en route to Venezuela. The oil reportedly has been sold for $26.68 million, the report says.