Ending the 'End of History' - CCP Success a 'Reference Point' for Others - Henan Floods - Financial Sector Opening - Wang's Mideast Tour

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s July 22, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: On the top left-hand corner of the page, we have Xi Jinping’s “important instructions” regarding the flooding in Henan. Xinhua English has the same story.

“The rainfall has made the flood control situation very severe, causing severe waterlogging in Zhengzhou and other cities, water levels in some rivers exceeding alarm levels, and damages to dams of some reservoirs, Xi said, adding that sections of railways have also been shut down, and some flights have been canceled. Xi stressed that authorities at all levels must always put people's safety and property first, and take the lead in fighting the floods.”

He said that the flood situation had entered a “critical period” and that authorities must put the “protection of the people’s lives and safety of property as the first priority.” He also called on the PLA and PAP to “actively assist local authorities in emergency rescue and relief work.”

There’s also a commentary on the page about the floods. It says unequivocally that:

“Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, relevant regional party committees and governments responded urgently, relevant departments and units went all out, leading cadres rushed to the front line, people's soldiers bravely shouldered heavy burdens, fire rescue workers acted quickly, cadres and people in the affected areas United as one, and the people of the whole country watched and helped each other, thus rallying a powerful force for flood control and disaster relief.” 闻“汛”而动、听令而行,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,有关地区党委和政府紧急应对,有关部门和单位全力以赴,领导干部冲在一线,人民子弟兵勇挑重担,消防救援人员迅速行动,受灾地区干部群众众志成城,全国人民守望相助,凝聚起防汛抢险救灾的强大力量.

“We should put our loyalty and love for the party and the people into the flood control and disaster relief actions, think about what the masses think, be anxious for the masses, solve their difficulties, take great pains and bear heavy burdens, and fully demonstrate the Chinese Communists’ political character and heroic character.” 要把对党和人民的忠诚与热爱落实在防汛救灾的行动上,想群众之所想,急群众之所急,解群众之所难, 不畏艰险、知重负重,充分展现中国共产党人的政治本色和英雄本色.

David Bandurski has a really nice piece on the poor coverage of the flood in Chinese media. For instance, he writes about Henan Daily itself not leading with the story. What really caught my attention was this bit:

“It is general practice in the case of major disasters for the general secretary and the premier, the heads of the Party and the government, to jointly ‘issue important instructions’ (重要指示) and ‘make written comments’ (批示)...For example, following a deadly gas explosion in the central Chinese city of Shiyan last month, Xinhua and the People’s Daily reported both Xi Jinping’s ‘important instructions’ and (in a smaller headline just below) Li Keqiang’s ‘written comments,’ reflecting concerted action from these two top leaders. It is quite unprecedented today to see Xi Jinping’s ‘important instructions’ on flooding in Henan without mention of Premier Li. The only mention we have at all of Li today concerns an Executive Meeting of the State Council, which dealt with financial sector opening (金融业开放), and at which the premier also mentioned flood relief efforts. On tonight’s official nightly newscast, Xinwen Lianbo, mention of Li’s meeting came only at around the 15 minute mark.”

With that said, let’s look at the report on the State Council’s Executive Meeting. So PD does tell us that (Xinhua English report) the meeting covered discussions on flood control and disaster relief, financial sector opening, cross-border trade and optimising the business environment at ports. On the flooding, there are three points mentioned:

  • Mobilise forces and funds to assist the people of Henan to rescue people, treat those injured and resettle people.

  • Second, increase support for flood prevention and disaster relief in key areas and make emergency transportation plans.

  • Third, strengthen weather monitoring and early warning, ensure food safety, and keep losses to a minimum.

On the financial sector opening bit, Xinhua English has a detailed report. It says that: 

“the commitments made on financial openness will be effectively implemented. Proactive efforts will be made toward a higher level of financial openness based on a negative list approach, by aligning with international standards. The market access threshold of foreign-invested financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies will be refined, and rules concerning cross-border transactions between parent and subsidiary firms of financial institutions will be improved. Channels and methods for foreign capital to participate in the domestic financial market will be optimized. Management requirements of direct investment projects that are closely related to the real economy will be improved. Efforts will be made to keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable and at an adaptive and balanced level.”

The final bit tells us that “the overall customs clearance time for imports and exports across the country has been reduced by 60% and 80%, respectively, compared with 2017.” It calls to support the construction of overseas warehouses and improve the export return policy for cross-border e-commerce. Improve services in general and reduce costs.

Next, we have got a commentary that talks about the Jinggangshan spirit. It says that as per Xi, “the most important aspect of Jinggangshan spirit is to strengthen faith, work hard, seek truth from facts, dare to take new roads, rely on the masses, and be brave in victory.” The piece then says that as China moves towards the second centenary goal, cadres must carry forward these aspects in their mind and work.

Two more reports to note. First, Li Zhanshu spoke (English report) to Uruguayan Vice President Beatriz Argimon. Li spoke about BRI and “called on the two countries to strengthen coordination in multilateral affairs, cooperate closely in multilateral institutions, uphold multilateralism, oppose protectionism, actively promote the overall cooperation between China and Latin America, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.” Second, Wang Yang speaking at (Xinhua report) the eighth national meeting on pairing-assistance to Xinjiang in Aksu in Xinjiang. 

Page 3: Two reports to note. First, an interview with Wang Yi after his Middle East trip. He went to Syria, Egypt, and Algeria. Xinhua English also has a version of this exchange.

Here are the key points made in that:

  • Wang said that he and his hosts have agreed to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, continue to support each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns, and make new contributions to the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future.

  • He spoke about the importance of BRI and said that “we all agree that it is urgent to realize peace and stability in the Middle East and all parties should work together to find a permanent solution.”

  • China and the Arab states hold that the origin tracing of the virus is a scientific issue, which should be carried out by professionals in a scientific manner, Wang said, adding that politicization of the pandemic should be rejected.

  • He talked about vaccine nationalism and pandemic diplomacy.

  • Trampling on the sovereignty of other countries in the name of democratic transformation is an unpopular practice, Wang said, noting that instigating ‘color revolutions’ and forcing regime changes are even more harmful. He spoke about this in the context of Syria. 

  • He said that 

And this:

“China and other developing countries have always supported each other, vigorously boosted the democratization of international relations, world multi-polarization and economic globalization. Developing countries have also always extended valuable support to China over the issues concerning China's core interests, and become China's strong reliance, he said. China and other developing countries should resolutely defend fairness and justice, safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, oppose hegemonism and power politics, practice genuine multilateralism, and resist a minority group imposing its rules on the international community.”

The PD story adds some other interesting comments. For instance, it has Wang saying that these three countries were “the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with New China, and they are old friends worthy of China's trust. They all made positive contributions to China's restoration of its legitimate seat in the United Nations in those years, and their support for China's core interests has always been unwavering.”

Wang says that based on his visit, he understood that “the struggle of the Chinese Communist Party has important reference value, which is prominently reflected in the fact that the success of a country’s governance cannot be separated from independent path exploration, a strong leadership core, people-centred approach, and overall development and security.” 他们表示中国共产党的奋斗历程具有重要参考价值,突出体现在一个国家治理的成功离不开自主道路探索,离不开坚强领导核心,离不开以人民为中心,离不开统筹发展与安全.

“While the ordinary Syrian people are worried about economic issues because of sanctions, some countries are talking about protecting Syria’s human rights, displaying only hypocrisy.” 当叙利亚老百姓因为经济制裁而为大饼发愁的时候,有些国家却大谈保护叙利亚的人权,展现的只有虚伪. He added that the international community should urge the United States and the West to immediately lift all unilateral sanctions and economic blockades against Syria.

He also talked about the Israel-Palestine issue, emphasising that “it is the responsibility of the Chinese side to promote peace and stop violence.”

Next, a Zhong Sheng commentary calls the US’ pandemic response an “American failure.” It says that “some US politicians put politics above science and put political self-interest above people’s lives and health.” We get a rehashing of Trump-era failures. And then it says that “Even today, the game of interests and partisan attacks at the political level are still dragging down the prevention and control of the epidemic in the United States.” This is in reference to some politicians there discouraging vaccinations. Then the piece says that “some American politicians put political interests, their voting interests, and capital interests above the lives and health of the people, fully demonstrating that their much-vaunted democracy and human rights are of little importance in their minds.” 在抗击这场世纪疫情的大考中,美国一些政客将政治利益、选票利益、资本利益置于民众生命健康之上,充分说明他们所标榜的民主、人权在他们心中无足轻重.

Page 4: This page is entirely dedicated to the flooding in Henan. Most of these stories are about the state’s response to the flooding. Some of these are, of course, also shaping a positive/hopeful narrative about duty, supporting the public and so on. The stories describe the situation as “severe.”

One report informs us that “according to incomplete statistics, since the 16th, this round of heavy rainfall has caused more than 1.24 million people in 89 counties in Henan to be affected. The heavy rain has caused 25 deaths and 7 people are missing. The province has evacuated 16,325 people as part of emergency rescue operations, and 164,710 people have been relocated.”

There’s a report about the Henan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminding everyone to be careful in terms of drinking water at this time. Another report tells us that Hebei and Shanxi are also adopting measures, bracing for heavy rainfall.

Page 5: The fourth in the series on Xi Thought today. The first question is what is the newness that makes this the “new era”? The first point of the answer to this is about the change in the principle contradiction. 

“China’s development has reached a new historical starting point. The main social contradiction has changed from the contradiction between people's growing material and cultural needs and backward social production to the contradiction between people's growing needs for a better life and unbalanced development.” 在新中国成立特别是改革开放以来取得重大成就的基础上,我国发展站到了新的历史起点上,社会主要矛盾已由人民日益增长的物质文化需要同落后的社会生产之间的矛盾,转化为人民日益增长的美好生活需要和不平衡不充分的发展之间的矛盾.

The next new aspect is Xi’s perspective “on combining the basic principles of Marxism with China’s specific reality and with China’s excellent traditional culture.” This is a new theoretical innovation, the piece tells us. The last aspect is that based on all this, there are new goals. The 2035 goals, mentioned during the 19th Party Congress, of building “​​a prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful modern socialist country”  highlighted here. 

Some of the other key points mentioned:

  • “The new era is the era of strugglers.”

  • “The new era will create a new situation in the relationship between China and the world.” It tells us that China “is getting closer to the center of the world stage. The relationship between China and the world has undergone profound changes. Contemporary China is no longer a passive recipient of the international order, but an active participant, builder, and leader.” 中国与世界的关系发生深刻变化,当代中国已不再是国际秩序的被动接受者,而是积极的参与者、建设者、引领者.

  • Other new aspects that are mentioned are Xi’s core position, the Party’s enhanced ability to govern, and emphasis strict internal party governance. It talks about punishing “corruption” and “evil” with thunderous force. And says that all of this has led to “historic and groundbreaking achievements,” which have given the Party a new look.

  • “We have achieved a great leap from ‘catching up with the times’ to ‘leading the times.” 

It adds:

“The continuous development of socialist road, theory, system and culture with Chinese characteristics has expanded the pathways for developing countries to move towards modernization, provided a brand-new choice for countries and nations in the world who want to accelerate development and maintain their independence, and contributed Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to solving humanity’s problems.” 这意味着,中国特色社会主义道路、理论、制度、文化不断发展,拓展了发展中国家走向现代化的途径,给世界上那些既希望加快发展又希望保持自身独立性的国家和民族提供了全新选择,为解决人类问题贡献了中国智慧和中国方案.

The next question is about global changes that are taking place. Here’s the diagnosis of what’s taking place:

“the current international pattern and system are undergoing profound adjustments, the global governance system is undergoing profound changes, the international power balance is undergoing the most revolutionary changes in modern times…”

The piece talks about the shifting dynamics of economic power, with developed countries exhibiting weakness while emerging economies increasingly contributing more to global economic growth. At one point, it says that:

“The revolutionary changes in international balance of power are unprecedented. There are many internal contradictions in developed countries, and their strength is relatively declining. A large number of developing countries have risen in groups and become an important force affecting the international political and economic structure.” 国际力量对比发生的革命性变化前所未有,发达国家内部矛盾重重、实力相对下降,一大批发展中国家群体性崛起,成为影响国际政治经济格局的重要力量.

It talks about the “fierce competition brought by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation” which “are unprecedented” and are “not only effectively reshaping the global innovation map” but also will have a “far-reaching influence on the international pattern and system.”

The piece talks about China moving ahead in terms of national rejuvenation and refers to Brexit, the yellow vest protests in France and riots in the US. Interestingly, it notes that the financial crisis was the root of these events coming to the fore. It says that consequently, the gap between the rich and the poor in western countries continues to widen, resulting in political polarization, populism, ethnic conflicts and other issues. 英国“脱欧”、法国“黄马甲”运动、美国大规模骚乱等“西方之乱”不断上演,其背后是国际金融危机深层次影响持续发酵,西方国家贫富差距不断扩大,催生政治极化、民粹主义、种族冲突等问题. 

Here’s more:

“In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has become a new variable and catalyst for the unprecedented changes taking place around the world. This once-in-a-century pandemic not only adds to the sluggishness of the already weak recovery of the world economy, but more importantly, it highlights the serious shortcomings of the international system under the leadership of Western capitalism, declares the complete bankruptcy of neoliberalism, accelerates the fluctuation of international forces, makes the trend of ‘East rising, West falling’ more obvious, and pushes the deepening of the great changes that are taking place.” 特别要看到,2020年新冠肺炎疫情全球大流行,成为世界百年未有之大变局的新变量、催化剂. 这次百年一遇的大疫情,不仅让复苏乏力的世界经济雪上加霜,更重要的是它凸显出西方资本主义主导下国际体系的严重弊端,宣告了新自由主义的彻底破产,加快了国际力量此消彼长,使国际格局“东升西降”的趋势更加显著,推动大变局不断向纵深发展.

And here’s more:

“Fundamentally speaking, the century of great changes we are experiencing is the inevitable result of the contradictory movement of productive forces and relations of production worldwide, reflecting the general trend of the development of human civilization. This big change is the transformation from a unipolar world with a de facto ‘monopoly’ to a multipolar world with synergy and co-governance. Unilateralism has become increasingly unpopular, multipolarity has become an unstoppable trend of the times, and China has become an important force in the process of multipolarity in the world. This big change is the transformation of the development path of modernization from unity to pluralism. In the eyes of the world, especially in the eyes of Westerners, modernization means Westernization, but the socialist modernization path pioneered by China shows a new possibility to realize modernization. The big change is the transformation from a world in which socialism suffered from serious twists and turns to scientific socialism coming to life in the 21st century. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe, the Western world was eager to claim that history had ended with the capitalist system, but instead, the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics has declared the end of the ‘end of history’.” 纵横不出方圆,万变不离其宗。从根本上说,从根本上说,我们正在经历的百年巨变,是世界范围内生产力和生产关系矛盾运动的必然结果,反映了人类文明发展的大趋势. 我们正在经历的百年未有之大变局,是世界范围内生产力和生产关系矛盾运动的必然结果,反映了人类文明发展的大潮流大趋向。这个大变局,是从事实上“一家独大”的单极世界向协同共治的多极世界的转变。单边主义越来越不得人心,多极化成为不可阻挡的时代潮流,中国成为世界多极化进程中的一支重要力量。这个大变局,是现代化发展路径从一元走向多元的转变。在世人眼中特别是在西方人眼中,现代化就是西方化,而中国开创的社会主义现代化道路,展现了实现现代化的全新可能。这个大变局,是从世界社会主义遭受严重曲折向科学社会主义在21世纪焕发勃勃生机的转变。苏联解体、东欧剧变后,西方人迫不及待宣称历史已经终结于资本主义制度,结果却是,中国特色社会主义的巨大成功宣告了“历史终结论”的终结.

Page 10: On the Theory page today, we have a piece by the Policy Research Office of the National Development and Reform Commission. The first half of the piece basically talks about economic and developmental achievements so far. Then, we get key learnings to take forward:

  • we must adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought

  • Uphold the party's overall leadership over economic work

  • Adhere to the people-centered development thinking

  • Unswervingly implement the new development concept

  • Improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.

This last bit entails: giving “full play to the party’s leadership and the political advantages of China’s socialist system, adhere to the institutional advantages of concentrating forces on major issues, coordinate and mobilize all forces, exert the powerful energy to overcome difficulties and promote the development of the cause, and maintain the vitality of the Party and the country forever.” 在新征程上,必须坚持发挥党的领导和我国社会主义制度的政治优势,坚持集中力量办大事的制度优势,协同调动各方力量,发挥攻坚克难、推动事业发展的强大能量,永葆党和国家生机活力.

  • promote theoretical innovation based on practice

  • carry forward the fine tradition of self-reliance and hard work

  • persist in scientific decision-making and responding creatively

Next a piece by PKU Party Secretary Qiu Shuiping. His argument is that “we should adhere to the correct political orientation of running schools and train qualified builders and successors of socialism.”

He tells us that: “We should inherit and carry forward the glorious tradition of Peking University, do a good job in the education of Marxist theory, arm students’ minds with Xi Jinping's Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, which is contemporary Chinese Marxism and Marxism in the 21st century, and educate students to observe and analyze the world with Marxist standpoint and viewpoint. We should understand how Marxism has profoundly changed China and the world in the form of the extraordinary journey of the Party, deeply understand the power of truth and practice of Marxism, and establish the lofty ideal of communism and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, so as to lay a foundation for growth and success.” 我们要把北大的光荣传统继承好、发扬好,抓好马克思主义理论教育,用习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想这一当代中国马克思主义、21世纪马克思主义武装学生头脑,教育学生运用马克思主义立场观点方法观察世界、分析世界,从党的非凡历程中领会马克思主义是如何深刻改变中国、改变世界的,深刻感悟马克思主义真理力量和实践力量,树立共产主义远大理想和中国特色社会主义共同理想,为成长成才打下坚实思想基础. 

He also talks about the need to “consciously improve the political position, and continuously strengthen the Party’s overall leadership” over PKU. He concludes saying that:

“Promote the party’s development in all aspects, strengthen the political function and organizational power of the party organization, and provide strong political and organizational guarantee for building a world-class university with Chinese characteristics. Consolidate the foundation of party building in colleges and universities, enhance the creativity and cohesion of grass-roots party organizations, and give full play to the role of fighting bastion of grass-roots party organizations and the pioneering role of party members.” 坚持以党的政治建设为统领,推动党的各方面建设,强化党组织政治功能和组织力,为建设中国特色世界一流大学提供强有力政治保障、组织保障. 夯实高校党建工作基础, 增强基层党组织的创造力凝聚力战斗力, 充分发挥基层党组织战斗堡垒作用和党员先锋模范作用.

Page 17: Another Zhong Sheng commentary on the page today. This one is about the cybersecurity friction between the West and China. Basically, the piece says that while the US and its allies are talking about China, it’s the US which has been the biggest violator of cybersecurity.

It tells us that:

“China is open and frank on the issue of cyber security. The Chinese government has always resolutely maintained network security, resolutely opposed and cracked down on any form of cyber attacks, and will not encourage, support or condone hacker attacks. This position is consistent and clear.”  中国在网络安全问题上是开放和坦诚的。中国政府一贯坚决维护网络安全,坚决反对和打击任何形式的网络攻击,不会鼓励、支持、纵容黑客攻击。这一立场是一贯和明确的.

“For a long time, the United States has violated international law and the basic norms of international relations, and carried out large-scale, organized, and indiscriminate cyber theft, surveillance, and attacks on foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals. The eavesdropping targets include not only competitors, but also its own allies.”长期以来,美国违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,对外国政府、企业和个人实施大规模、有组织、无差别的网络窃密、监控和攻击,其窃听对象既包括竞争对手,也包括自身盟友.