China-Russia Axis - Wang Qishan's Bo'ao Appearance - Rule of Law Session for NPC Deputies

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s April 21, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: The lead story is about Xi Jinping’s speech at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia. I did a breakdown of the speech in yesterday’s edition. Next, Xi and Vladimir Putin sent congratulatory letters to the ninth meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the ruling parties of China and Russia.

Xinhua reports that “Xi called on China and Russia, as major powers of global influence, to deepen comprehensive strategic coordination in the new era, and to play an underpinning role in safeguarding international fairness and justice, maintaining world peace and stability, and promoting common development and prosperity. Xi expressed his hope that participants from the two parties can engage in in-depth exchanges and build consensus to open a new chapter of strategic cooperation between the two parties and contribute wisdom and strength to comprehensively deepening bilateral relations in the new era, promoting the establishment of a fairer and more reasonable international order, and building a community with a shared future for humanity.” 

The dialogue between the CCP and United Russia, meanwhile, ended with a five-point consensus. This is covered on Page 7. It says that:

  • Given the changes in the world, “the promotion of a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia in the new era on a larger scale, broader field and deeper level is essential to safeguarding international fairness and justice and maintaining world peace and stability.”

  • The two parties will participate in the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the 20th anniversary of the founding of the United Russia Party.

  • “At this meeting, representatives of the two sides actively contributed to the development of China-Russia relations against the backdrop of major changes, exchanged ideas and reached a broad consensus on the development of ruling parties in the new era, experience and strategic planning of national development, opposing external interference and maintaining national security, and local cooperation between the two countries.”

  • Depending on the development of the epidemic, the two sides will hold the sixth China-Russia Political Parties Forum in Russia at an appropriate time. The focus will be on synching BRI and Eurasian Economic Union plans.

And here’s the last point:

“The two sides firmly support each other’s independent development path in line with their national conditions, uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law, promote the international community’s adherence to the principles of open, equal and non-ideological multilateralism, and jointly address global challenges and threats. We will resolutely oppose the attempts and actions of some countries to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states, impose unilateral sanctions, engage in hegemonic bullying and create turmoil and chaos on the pretext of democracy and human rights. To achieve these goals, the two parties will coordinate their positions in bilateral contacts and multilateral occasions, increase their mutual support, and fully demonstrate the strategic value and unique role of bipartisan cooperation.”

Next, Xi spoke (English report) to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He called for “concerted efforts to push for a comprehensive and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.” He added that China and Saudi Arabia had become “good friends, good partners and good brothers.” He added that “China views its ties with Saudi Arabia from a strategic and long-term perspective, and respects Saudi Arabia's sovereignty and development path.” MBS responded saying that KSA “firmly supports China's legitimate position on issues concerning its core interests.”

Next, Xi’s chat with Indonesia’s Joko Widodo. Xi talked about helping “Indonesia build a regional vaccine production center, and jointly resist the ‘vaccine divide’.” This is quite an extensive conversation, covering a lot of areas apart from “vaccine nationalism.”

So Xi says that “in the face of profound changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, Xi emphasized, China stands ready to join hands with Indonesia to enhance strategic mutual trust, deepen strategic consensus, strengthen strategic coordination, uphold multilateralism, safeguard fairness and justice, promote global climate governance, defend the common interests of developing countries, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.”

He then talks about:

  • synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative and Indonesia's vision of Global Maritime Fulcrum.

  • infrastructure cooperation projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway

  • new growth areas like new energy and maritime cooperation, and strengthen cooperation in digital economy

  • pushing ahead with RCEP

Interestingly though, nothing in here about core interests.

Finally, you have folks from universities in China responding positively to Xi’s recent speech at Tsinghua. 

Page 2: We have Xi’s full Bo’ao speech on the page; in addition, there are two pieces about the speech. The first one is a commentary that basically reiterates the key points from his speech, pointing out that it provided a four-point initiative for the world forward.

  • consultation on an equal footing

  • openness and innovation

  • focus on health and security

  • commitment to justice

The next story reports reactions from attendees at the conference. 

Another report based on the Bo’ao Forum is about Vice President Wang Qishan’s attendance. PD says (English report) that Wang met with forum directors and strategic partners collectively, and had a discussion with representatives of Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs. He told them that the world is currently undergoing new, complex and profound changes, and all parties need to strengthen exchanges, build consensus and cooperate to find ways to respond. 

Meeting entrepreneurs, he reiterated that reform and opening will continue but added that “glory and suffering accompany each other. People must stay calm and sober through historical, cultural and philosophical thinking and build confidence and patience.”

Now all this is fine, but what’s created some buzz is Wang’s brief appearance on stage during the event. He walked up to the podium and said that he wasn’t there to deliver a speech but is rather just a “temporary host” who is making “an announcement for President Xi Jinping” who would be giving the keynote address. 

Page 3: First, PSC member Wang Yang National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference with regard to the party history learning campaign. He said that “The cadres, especially young comrades, should cherish the golden years and read more books, take the study of party history as an important starting point for realizing ideas, strengthening beliefs, improving abilities and changing styles, and further enhance ‘four consciousnesses,’ strengthen ‘four self-confidences’ and achieve ‘two maintenance’.” 

Next, Li Keqiang’s been visiting Sichuan province. The story says that in Qingling Village, Guangyuan City, Li talked to farmers about grain production and their incomes. In Shahe Town, the story talks about Li discussing healthcare and education and inspecting medicine stocks. He also asked people about how much reimbursement for medical treatment they had received. He then went to an excavation site at Sanxingdui to learn about the progress of archaeology. Two more bits in the report, which are reflected in Xinhua English too. 

Li also paid visits to several innovative enterprises and encouraged them to increase innovation capacities and continue scientific exploration. He was also briefed on Sichuan's efforts to streamline administration, delegate power, and acquire skills. He called on local authorities to establish a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment, stimulate the vitality of market entities and make all kinds of talents reach their potential.

Third, Politburo member Wang Chen spoke to some 255 NPC deputies from 32 electoral units across the country in a special session on Xi Jinping Thought on Rule of Law. He said that Xi’s thought provides a “grand blueprint for a comprehensive rule of law in the new era, and embodies Chinese experience and Chinese wisdom in building the rule of law. It is a new version of Marxist theory of rule of law in China.” 

He added:

“Deputies to the National People's Congress are members of the organs of state power. They should take the lead in earnestly studying and profoundly understanding the scientific system, rich connotation and essence of Xi Jinping's thought on the rule of law, so as to arm the mind, guide practice and promote work, fully understand the obvious superiority of China's political system and rule of law system, and enhance their confidence and determination to unswervingly follow the road of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.”

There’s also a lengthy essay by Wang Chen in the journal China Legal Science (H/T Sinocism). You can check it out here.

Page 4: Just one report to note, providing an update about the fifth round inspection and rectification underway involving 35 central and state organs and party organisations. On April 20, the CCDI and National Supervision Commission have put out details of rectification of 11 units. The individual reports are available here. But PD broadly summarises the key points:

  • party committees of all units have earnestly improved their political positions and adhered to problem orientation and strengthened work measures

  • the units have established inspection and rectification work leading groups and special work classes, led by the main responsible comrades

  • some have established systems such as rectification ledger, regular reporting mechanisms and so on; these take the form of daily, weekly and monthly reporting and evaluation systems.