Food Security - Xiaokang - Politics First in Party Building

Here are the stories and pieces from the July 5, 2021, edition of People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: The centenary celebration may be in the rearview but Xi Jinping’s still front and center. So we have a Xinhua piece today basically telling us that Xi is constantly and particularly concerned about China’s “grain and rice bowls.” It’s interesting that the piece emphasises, via an old Xi quote, that the food security situation is severe.

The piece talks about the attention that Xi has paid to the issue of food security. The piece takes us back to Xi’s time in Liangjiahe. It refers to Xi’s comments about how people did not have meat to eat and how he wanted them to eat meat. It then discusses Xi’s time in Fuzhou, and then back to Shaanxi. The story here is about how Xi gave his corn dumplings to villagers who were eating simple wheat bran dumplings. And then how he was moved by the villagers were leaving the “real food,” i.e., the corn dumplings, I guess, for the labourers and their children. 在陕北插队时,习近平看到老百姓吃的是更差的糠团子,就用他的玉米团子和老乡换,这让一起劳动的老乡非常感动。后来,当发现老乡并没吃玉米团子,而把“真粮食”留给壮劳力和孩子,他心里触动非常大.

Anyway, you get the drift of the piece. Moving on, there’s a commentary on the page that draws from Xi’s centenary speech. The basic point that the commentary is making is that without the CCP, there would be no new China and no economic miracle. Also, it tells us that the Party’s leadership was and is the people’s choice and that one must not waver in this choice, since historical experience has shown that it is correct. 历史和现实都告诉我们,历史和人民选择中国共产党领导中华民族伟大复兴的事业是正确的,必须长期坚持、永不动摇.

“Now, we have achieved the first centenary goal and are moving forward with vigor towards the second centenary goal of building a fully modern socialist power. In the face of the complex situation and difficult tasks, we have to comprehensively grasp the the unprecedented changes taking place in the world and the overall situation of the great rejuvenation strategy of the Chinese nation in order to effectively cope with major challenges, resist major risks, overcome major obstacles, resolve major contradictions and carry out the great struggle with many new historical characteristics. To achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the most fundamental guarantee or the leadership of the Party.” 现在,我们实现了第一个百年奋斗目标,正在意气风发向着全面建成社会主义现代化强国的第二个百年奋斗目标迈进. 面对复杂形势和艰巨任务,我们要全面把握世界百年未有之大变局和中华民族伟大复兴战略全局,有力应对重大挑战、抵御重大风险、克服重大阻力、化解重大矛盾,进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争,实现中华民族伟大复兴,最根本的保证还是党的领导. 

It then says “the entire party and the country must maintain a high degree of ideological, political, and action-consciousness, and cannot waver in the slightest...” We get a repeat of Xi’s framing that “the party leads everything in the east, west, north and south.” Also: “To uphold the party’s leadership, first of all, adhere to the party’s central authority and centralized and unified leadership. Maintaining the authority of the Party Central Committee and centralized and unified leadership are clear political norms and fundamental political requirements, ensuring that the entire party maintains a high degree of consistency in ideological and political actions with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core...”

Third, we have a longish piece celebrating the achievement of Xiaokang. As a Xinhua English piece along similar lines informs us: “In the traditional Confucian sense, Xiaokang describes a state whereby, although there is imperfection, everyone is adequately provided for. It was reintroduced into political discourse in the 1970s, and the CPC has since led efforts to turn this concept into reality. Over the past eight years, the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core oversaw the final push that transformed China into a Xiaokang society in all respects.” Also think this is interesting framing: “Xi said achieving the Xiaokang goal on time represents ‘a solemn promise that our Party has made to the Chinese people and to history’.”

Finally, there’s a Ren Zhongping commentary. The first part talks about China’s developmental and poverty alleviation achievements. It talks about how looking back, there is a glorious dream that has been etched on the road that has been traversed and calls on the people to push ahead to the goal of socialist modernisation. 回望过往的奋斗路,我们以全面建成小康社会的世纪伟业,把光荣与梦想写在了历史深处;眺望前方的奋进路, 我们还要全面建成社会主义现代化强国,继续在人类的伟大时间历史中创造中华民族的伟大历史时间.

The next section talks about the past and paints a picture of the challenging circumstances of a 100 odd years ago and even 40 odd years ago. The language is very evocative, and the piece’s essential message is about the leadership of the communist Party being critical to China’s rise. Anyway, here’s the kind of language in the piece.

“China entered the 20th century with the shame of having its capital captured by the Eight-Power Allied Forces. In 1900, the armies of the Great Powers paraded through the Forbidden City to celebrate their victory, and the flags of the occupying forces were draped over the streets of Beijing. After the Opium War, from being ‘inferior to others in terms of goods’ to being ‘inferior to others in terms of institutional system’ and being ‘inferior to others in terms of ideology and culture’, the Chinese people suffered from bullying and humiliation, and their national self-confidence fell to the bottom. Some people even asked the question: Can the Chinese modernize? Can they catch up with the Westerners? Can we use science and machinery? 中国是带着首都被八国联军攻占的耻辱进入20世纪的. 1900年,列强军队在紫禁城阅兵庆祝胜利,北京大街小巷遍悬占领军国旗。鸦片战争后,从“器物不如人”到“制度不如人”,再到“思想文化不如人”,中国人饱受欺凌和屈辱,民族自信心更是跌入了谷底,有人甚至提出这样的困惑:中国人能近代化吗?能赶上西洋人吗?能利用科学和机械吗?

“From the 18th century to the 20th century, the West advanced rapidly, while China missed the opportunities of the industrial revolution, globalization, and the waves of scientific and technological revolution and industrial change, and just “crawled at a snail’s pace’. Today, the CPC has led the Chinese people to build a moderately prosperous society, not only writing the ‘most inspiring miracle’ in the history of human development, but also recovering the ‘lost 200 years’ of the Chinese nation.” 从18世纪到20世纪,西方国家飞速前进,中国却一次次错失工业革命的机遇、全球化的机遇、科技革命和产业变革的浪潮,只是“蜗牛般地爬行”. 今天,中国共产党带领中国人民全面建成小康社会, 不仅书写了人类发展史上“最激动人心的奇迹”,更找回了中华民族曾经“失去的二百年”. 

Page 2: We have a short report about two Chinese astronauts making the country’s first spacewalk in 13 years outside the core module of space station Tianhe on Sunday. Next, a report about the “enthusiastic response” by Party officials at lower levels to Xi’s speech. For instance:

“‘The important speech of General Secretary Xi Jinping gives people confidence and strength. There is a sense of mission and urgency as the bugle is sounded,’ said Luo Lin, deputy secretary of the Party Working Committee and director of the management committee of Chongqing Liangjiang New District.”

“General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech is an action guide for our Party to unite and lead the people to learn from history and create the future, and is the core content of current and future Party history study and education,’ said Mu Zhanyi, director of the Party History Research Office of the Jilin Provincial Committee, adding that ‘We must make good use of red resources, continue the red bloodline, carry forward the glorious tradition, develop through the wind and rain, grow in response to challenges, and march toward great rejuvenation with an unstoppable pace’.” “习近平总书记的重要讲话是我们党团结带领人民以史为鉴、开创未来的行动指南,是当前和今后党史学习教育的核心内容。”吉林省委党史研究室主任穆占一说,“我们要用好红色资源、赓续红色血脉、弘扬光荣传统,在经风历雨中发展、在应对挑战中成长,以不可阻挡的步伐迈向伟大复兴.”

Page 3: A longish piece carrying congratulatory comments from foreign politicians.

Page 6: A piece about July 1 medal awardee and Korean War veteran Wang Zhanshan; another piece about Cheng Xiangmin, Secretary of the Songjiang District Party Committee of Shanghai and the Science and Technology Innovation Corridor that he pioneered over there. Here’s an English report for some context.

Page 13: We have a long piece from the National Party Building Research Association (全国党的建设研究会). It says that:

“We attach great importance to building the party politically, ensuring that the whole party obeys the central authorities, safeguarding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and centralised and unified leadership. It is a distinctive feature and political advantage of the Communist Party of China to speak clearly about politics. Since its founding, our party has attached great importance to building the party politically. In this, it has taken ensuring that the whole party obeys the central authorities and safeguarding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and centralised and unified leadership as the primary task of its political construction. Since the 18th Party Congress, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, the Party’s political construction has been comprehensively strengthened and incorporated into the overall layout of the Party’s construction and placed in the first place, making clear the leading role of political construction in the Party’s construction...political discipline and political rules have become stricter, the majority of party members and cadres have firmer political beliefs, and their political awareness, overall situation awareness, core awareness and conformity awareness have been continuously strengthened, and their political judgment, political understanding and political execution have been continuously improved.” 高度重视从政治上建设党,保证全党服从中央,维护党中央权威和集中统一领导. 旗帜鲜明讲政治,是中国共产党的鲜明特征和政治优势. 我们党从成立之日起就高度重视从政治上建设党,把保证全党服从中央、维护党中央权威和集中统一领导作为党的政治建设的首要任务. 党的十八大以来,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央领导下,党的政治建设得到全面加强,被纳入党的建设总体布局并摆在首位,明确了政治建设在党的建设中的统领地位. 党内政治生活的政治性、时代性、原则性、战斗性显著增强,政治纪律和政治规矩更加严明,广大党员干部政治信仰更加坚定,政治意识、大局意识、核心意识、看齐意识不断强化,政治判断力、政治领悟力、政治执行力不断提高,做到 “两个维护”更加自觉.

The piece then talks about the experience of the Sinicization of Marxism; maintaining the original aspiration; a work style of integrating theory with practice, being “close to the masses,” practicing “criticism and self-criticism” and maintaining a “clean and upright political ecology.” The constant emphasis in all of this across the piece is made by using comments from Xi. So for instance, at one point he talks about keeping in mind the importance of the principle that iron must be hardened by itself, maintain high level of political consciousness, persist in strict governance, keep political construction ahead of everything else, focus on building a high-quality cadre of both virtue and talent, promote clean government and persist in anti-corruption struggle…

“Eliminate all viruses that erode the healthy body of the party, ensure that the party does not deteriorate, change color, and change taste, and ensure that the party has always become a strong leadership core in the historical process of adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era!” 习近平总书记指出:“新的征程上,我们要牢记打铁必须自身硬的道理,增强全面从严治党永远在路上的政治自觉,以党的政治建设为统领,继续推进新时代党的建设新的伟大工程,不断严密党的组织体系,着力建设德才兼备的高素质干部队伍,坚定不移推进党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争,坚决清除一切损害党的先进性和纯洁性的因素,清除一切侵蚀党的健康肌体的病毒,确保党不变质、不变色、不变味,确保党在新时代坚持和发展中国特色社会主义的历史进程中始终成为坚强领导核心!”习近平总书记的重要论述,为继续推进新时代党的建设新的伟大工程提供了根本遵循。

The piece also informs us that: “Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has attached great importance to system construction, and has formulated and promulgated more than 210 central party regulations. The party’s institutional system has become increasingly sound, and the party’s institutional construction has taken new important steps.” 党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央高度重视制度建设,制定出台了210多部中央党内法规,党的制度体系日益健全,党的制度建设迈出新的重要步伐.

I also think that this is interesting, in that there’s an emphasis on tradition here. I am curious to see the impact of this message in terms of how it is interpreted by local-level cadres and officials in practice. 

“In the new era, we must inherit and carry forward the fine traditions of the party and protect the spiritual home of the Communists; it is also necessary to vigorously carry forward the spirit of reform and innovation, and constantly push forward the theoretical innovation, practical innovation and institutional innovation of the party's construction, so that the party can renew its vitality and always be in the forefront of the times.” 在新时代,我们既要继承弘扬党的优良传统,守护好共产党人的精神家园;又要大力弘扬改革创新精神,不断推进党的建设理论创新、实践创新、制度创新,使党不断焕发新的生机活力,始终走在时代前列.