China-Russia Joint Statement - Party Line on 1962 War & Tiananmen - 18 Key Xi Thought Centers - The Qualities Xi Wants in Cadres

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s June 29, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: There are just two pieces on the page. The first one is about the entire PSC + Wang Qishan (English report) and around 20,000 people watching a performance titled The Great Journey at the National Stadium on Monday evening. The PD story has a detailed breakdown of the performances, and a long list of all the Party leaders who attended.

The other story is about the Xi-Putin conversation that took place yesterday. The meeting ended with a joint statement and the two leaders officially deciding to extend the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. 

Xinhua reports that Xi said that the treaty is a vivid example of fostering a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for humanity. PD informs that he added: “Today's Sino-Russian relations are mature, stable and solid, and can stand the test of any international changes. The two sides have firmly supported each other on issues involving their core interests, and their strategic cooperation has been fruitful, which has effectively safeguarded the common interests of the two countries.”今天的中俄关系成熟、稳定、坚固,经得起任何国际风云变幻考验。双方在涉及彼此核心利益问题上相互坚定支持,战略协作富有成效,有力维护了两国共同利益. 

Putin said (Putin’s comments reported by TASS) the treaty demonstrates the willingness of enduring friendship between the two peoples. “Russia is satisfied with the unprecedented high level of current China-Russia ties as well as comprehensive and steady development of bilateral cooperation,” Putin added.

PD adds:

The two sides stressed that they should jointly and firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law, safeguard global strategic security and stability, support and practice true multilateralism, oppose interference in other countries' internal affairs under the guise of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, and oppose the imposition of unilateral coercive sanctions. 双方强调,共同坚定维护以联合国为核心的国际体系和以国际法为基础的国际秩序,维护全球战略安全稳定,支持和践行真正的多边主义,反对打着“民主”和“人权”幌子干涉别国内政,反对搞单边强制性制裁。

They also spoke about vaccines and trade, along with cooperation in low-carbon energy, digital economy, and agriculture. The discussion also covered the US’ Afghanistan pullout. I thought this bit about the SCO was very interesting, although it’s unclear what this means. 

“Both sides believe that under the current situation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is facing new opportunities and challenges, and should comprehensively plan and promote its development.” 双方认为,当前形势下,上海合作组织面临新的机遇和挑战,应全面谋划和推进该组织发展. 

The joint statement that was issued is available on the second page. Here’s what I thought were among the key highlights:

  • The two leaders felt that it was important to extend the treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation given its practical use, particularly amid intensified international competition amid the pandemic.

  • “Sino-Russian relations have reached the highest level in history, and are characterized by maturity, constructiveness and sustainability...Russia needs a prosperous and stable China, and China needs a strong and successful Russia....Russian-Chinese relations are based on the principles of equal treatment, a high level of mutual trust, adherence to international law, protection of each other's core interests, and support for each other's defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

  • Sino-Russian relations are not similar to the military-political alliance during the Cold War, but a new type of international relations, which transcends the mode of state-to-state relations, does not seek expediency, does not have ideological color, comprehensively considers each other's interests, does not interfere in each other's internal affairs, has independent value, and does not target third countries.

  • The statement also says that both sides have resolved all issues related to the border and not territorial issues remain between them.

  • Part 4 of the statement talks about “military and military-technical cooperation that is not directed at third countries.” “The two sides abide by the consensus reached on the mutual reduction of military forces in the border areas and the strengthening of trust in the military field...” In addition, they commit to “expand the number and scale of joint exercises, strengthen the exchanges between the theaters and services of the two countries, improve the legal basis for military cooperation, and expand cooperation in the field of military education.”

The next bit says that in order to support each other’s core interests, they will work on:

  • Expanding bilateral trade

  • Strengthening strategic and comprehensive energy cooperation; this includes hydrocarbons and nuclear energy

  • Supporting the expansion of local currency-denominated settlements in the areas of bilateral trade, investment and credit.

  • Strengthening ties in industry, information communication, and aerospace.

  • Partnering in basic science and high-tech fields, promote the two-way flow of talents, and expanding innovative cooperation.

  • Agriculture and post-pandemic opening

  • They also say: “we will use the Northern Sea Route to strengthen cooperation and promote the sustainable development of the Arctic.”

The next few sections talk about education, cultural cooperation, environment, TV and media communication and partnering on health, covering “areas of early warning and response to infectious diseases, drug, diagnostic reagents, and vaccine research and development.” There’s also a bit in there on opposing politicisation of sports, mentioning the 2022 Winter Games.

Section 8 is interesting in that it deals with the current nature of geopolitics. It says that:

“The world is going through a period of turbulent change, and instability and uncertainty have increased significantly. The governance deficit, trust deficit, development deficit and peace deficit faced by mankind in international affairs are increasing, and there is still a long way to go to achieve universal security and promote sustainable development.”

It talks about certain countries “advocating competition and confrontation among major powers” and “believe in zero-sum games” and says that: “Some countries draw ideological lines, violently interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states, impose unilateral sanctions at every turn, and shake the legal basis of the international relations system, including in the field of arms control, with various negative effects. The process of resolving international conflicts and problems has become more complicated. The threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism are on the rise, especially in the neighboring countries and surrounding areas of China and Russia.” 

And so: 

“Both China and Russia believe that it is necessary to build a more just and democratic international order. Therefore, both sides need to strengthen foreign policy coordination, defend common interests in the international arena, and maintain international and regional balance of power. The more turbulent the world is, the more necessary it is for China and Russia to strengthen strategic cooperation.”

Backing the UN system, they say:

The two sides are opposed to changing the generally accepted arrangements and mechanisms in line with international law through ‘engaging in small circles’, solving international problems by alternative solutions without consensus, and engaging in political confrontation in multilateral institutions.

The statement adds that Russia “positively assesses” China’s idea of building a community of common destiny...and China China “positively assesses Russia's efforts to promote the construction of a fair and multipolar international relations system.”

They talk about the “politicisation” of human rights and oppose “double standards,” of “using human rights issues as a tool to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States.” 

On arms control, they both back the NPT and we get this:

“The two sides believe that nuclear-weapon States have special responsibilities for maintaining international security and global strategic stability, and should solve existing concerns through dialogue and consultation, enhance mutual trust, consolidate common security, and avoid misunderstandings and strategic misjudgments that may intensify contradictions and trigger military confrontation. Nuclear war can’t be won, won’t be won, and should never be launched. Considering the risk of nuclear escalation, every effort should be made to avoid any military conflict between any nuclear-weapon States.”

On the INF Treaty: “The two sides emphasized that after the withdrawal of the United States from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, it accelerated the research and development of land-based medium-range and medium-and short-range missiles and sought to deploy them in Asia-Pacific and Europe, which aggravated tension and distrust, increased international and regional security risks, weakened the international arms control and non-proliferation system and undermined global strategic stability. China and Russia urge the United States and relevant countries to exercise restraint and respond positively to Russia's initiative to suspend the deployment of land-based medium-range and short-range missiles. The two sides will maintain close dialogue and coordinate their positions.”

The section also contains paragraphs on weaponization of outer space, chemical weapons and biological weapons, but they say that “multilateral non-proliferation and export control cooperation should not target individual countries and hinder legitimate international economic and scientific cooperation.” 

The statement then talks about promoting “the construction of a global international information security system based on the principles of preventing information space conflicts and encouraging the peaceful use of information technology.” In this, they want the “development of a new UN code of conduct for states in cyberspace.” The statement also talks about theconvergence of their positions on international Internet governance issues, including ensuring equal participation of all countries in governance, enhancing the role of all countries in the process, and preserving the sovereignty of domestic Internet governance.” Russia backs China’s Global Data Security Initiative. 

Page 2: There’s a lot of Xi Jinping on the page today. First, a report featuring Xi’s letter (English report) to the Baihetan hydropower station in southwest China, offering his congratulations on the launch of operations of its first two generating units. He refers to China’s commitments on carbon peak and neutrality in this context.

Second, a report on Xi’s congratulatory message (English report) to Hun Sen, president of the Cambodian People’s Party, on the 70th anniversary of the CPP’s founding. He offers praise for Hun Sen, commits China’s support for Cambodia “in pursuing a development path that suits its national conditions,” and wants the “building of the China-Cambodia community with a shared future.” In the PD report, Hun Sen is repeatedly referred to using his title of “Chairman.”

Third, we have a new book by Xi; this one’s about Xi’s thoughts on the full and strict governance of the Party. And while we are talking about Xi’s thoughts, there’s this new website: http://www.chinadiplomacy.org.cn - that has been launched on Chinese diplomacy. PD says “The special website system documents important foreign affairs activities, speeches, expositions, and signed articles of General Secretary Xi Jinping since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, as well as documents and research results related to Xi Jinping’s diplomatic thoughts, and uses a digital map to display the diplomatic footprints of General Secretary Xi Jinping.” 

Also note this report in Xinhua English on the increasing institutionalisation of Xi’s ideas and vision.

Seven new research centers...have been established to further study, research and promote Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Eleven research centers or institutes for this purpose had already been set up earlier...The seven new research centers were set up in the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, and the China Law Society, as well as in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Shandong provinces.”

Finally, a short bit telling us that books on Party history learning have been published in “ethnic minority languages.”

Page 3: There’s a long piece on the page essentially featuring different remarks and observations that Xi has made about the nature of CCP members. This is quite smartly done. The piece essentially tries to make a point about the kinds of qualities that Xi would like cadres to imbibe and does so through his comments about what are role models from the past. So we get references to the importance of sacrificing for the cause, patriotism, not fearing challenges - even death, innovation of the governance and scientific kind, caring for the masses and delivering results, etc.

“General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that ‘ideals and beliefs are the ‘calcium’ of the Communists’ spirit. Without ideals and beliefs, or if ideals and beliefs are not firm, there will be 'calcium deficiency' in spirit, and you will get 'chondrosis'.” 习近平总书记强调,“理想信念就是共产党人精神上的‘钙’,没有理想信念,理想信念不坚定,精神上就会‘缺钙’,就会得‘软骨病’.” I’ve read this before, but it is worth underscoring that we shouldn’t treat these references to ideology and beliefs as cheap talk. 

One story that caught my attention was of Huang Danian, the late Chinese geophysicist. The PD piece tells us that he left his “superior life” abroad and returned to China. In May 2017, Xi had praised him as “the ideal of serving the country through science and technology” wanting others to follow his example.

Page 4: The page is dedicated to the new Central Committee Regulations on the Party Emblem and Flag of the Communist Party of China. The document says that:

“The Party emblem and flag show that the CPC is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and a Marxist political party that strives for the happiness of the Chinese people, the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the persistence and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the realization of the lofty ideal of communism.” 党徽党旗表明中国共产党是中国工人阶级的先锋队,同时是中国人民和中华民族的先锋队,是为中国人民谋幸福、为中华民族谋复兴,为坚持和发展中国特色社会主义、为实现共产主义远大理想而不懈奋斗的马克思主义政党.

Members must uphold the “dignity” of the emblem and the flag. There are details on dimensions and colour, and there are details about when, how and in which circumstances can the emblem and flag be used. Private usage is not allowed.

Article 15 says that in case of a Party member’s death, after due certification and approval, the flag can be used to cover the “remains or urn, but the party flag shall not touch the ground, shall not be cremated with the remains, shall not be buried with the urn.”

There’s also a commentary to go with this, but it’s nothing really interesting.

Pages 6, 7 and 8 carry the second part of the long historical timeline that began yesterday. Today’s piece ends in 2005. I thought I’d look at a few moments to see how they are represented.

Since we start in 1959 today, we begin with the “liberation of Tibet.” The bits regarding July and August 1959 talk about how during the expanded Politburo meeting in Lushan, “the criticism of Peng Dehuai and others was wrongly launched.” Also from August 2 to 16, the Eighth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was held in Lushan. After the meeting, the whole party erroneously launched an ‘anti-rightist’ struggle.”

On the 1962 war, the piece says: “On October 20, the Chinese border guards were ordered to carry out self-defense counter-attacks against the armed attack of the Indian army. Starting from December 1, the Chinese border guards unilaterally withdrew 20 kilometers from the line of actual control on November 7, 1959, and set up a civil checkpoint on the Chinese side of the line of actual control.” If this is the view, then why not clarify officially that this is your perception of the LAC?

1966: “From May 4th to 26th, the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee was held. The meeting passed the "May 16 Notice." In August, the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed the ‘Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.’ The convening of these two meetings marked the full launch of the ‘Cultural Revolution’.”

The timeline also goes on to reference with specific moments the rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping. It struck me reading this all together that the year 1976 was likely to be difficult for more than just Mao’s death. Zhou Enlai and Zhu De also passed away in the same year before Mao.

1977: “From August 12th to 18th, the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held. 1,510 representatives attended the conference, representing more than 35 million party members across the country. The congress declared that the ‘Cultural Revolution’ had ended and reiterated that China would be built into a modern socialist country within the 20th century, but it failed to fundamentally correct the errors of the ‘Cultural Revolution’.”

The 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of December 1978 gets much attention. “The plenary session criticized the wrong policy of "two whatevers", fully affirmed that the scientific system of Mao Zedong Thought must be mastered completely and accurately…” It also “made a historic decision to shift the work center of the party and the state to economic construction and implement reform and opening up; decided to improve the party's democratic centralism, strengthen the party's leading institutions…” 全会批判了“两个凡是”的错误方针,充分肯定必须完整地、准确地掌握毛泽东思想的科学体系,高度评价关于实践是检验真理的唯一标准问题的讨论;果断地停止使用“以阶级斗争为纲”的口号,作出把党和国家工作中心转移到经济建设上来、实行改革开放的历史性决策;决定健全党的民主集中制,加强党的领导机构,成立中央纪律检查委员会,选举陈云为中央纪委第一书记.

The Tiananmen Story:

1989: “At the turn of spring and summer, political turmoil occurred in Beijing and other cities. The Party and the government relied on the people, opposed the turmoil with a clear-cut stand, quelled the counter-revolutionary riots in Beijing, defended the political power of the socialist countries, safeguarded the fundamental interests of the people, and ensured the reform, opening up and modernization drive to move forward…春夏之交 北京和其他一些城市发生政治风波,党和政府依靠人民,旗帜鲜明地反对动乱,平息在北京发生的反革命暴乱,捍卫了社会主义国家政权,维护了人民的根本利益,保证了改革开放和现代化建设继续前进.

“On June 9th, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the political turmoil in Beijing was determined by the international climate and China's own microclimate, and emphasized that the basic line, principles, policies and development strategies formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC were correct and should be carried out unswervingly.”6月9日,邓小平在接见首都戒严部队军以上干部时指出,北京发生的政治风波是国际的大气候和中国自己的小气候所决定的,强调党的十一届三中全会以来制定的基本路线、方针、政策和发展战略是正确的,要坚定不移地干下去.

“In a conversation with several responsible comrades of the central government on June 16, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that any collective leadership must have a core, and leadership without a core is unreliable. He also pointed out that we must focus on reform and opening up on the one hand, and punish corruption on the other, combining these two things. 6月16日 邓小平在同几位中央负责同志谈话时指出,任何一个领导集体都要有一个核心,没有核心的领导是靠不住的. 并指出,我们要一手抓改革开放,一手抓惩治腐败,把这两件事结合起来. (No prizes for guessing why this is being highlighted.)

The Tiananmen saga ends in the timeline with the report on Zhao Zhiyang’s “Mistakes in the Anti-Party and Anti-Socialist Turmoil” and Jiang Zemin taking charge.

Page 9: We have a report on the page about the Party Central Committee sending central groups to supervise and guide the development of party history learning and education in various regions, departments and units. As of June 25, the first round of this work was completed, covering 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and 121 departments and units. Generally, the assessment is that it’s all been good and “political positions” have improved.