Green Development Guideline - Pacific Islands Diplomacy - Criticising EU Parliament on Taiwan Report - CBRC shares Banking Sector Data - SAMR Chief on Future anti-Monopoly & Unfair Competition Action
Here are the stories and pieces from the October 22, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: Let’s begin with Xi’s message (English report) to Cindy Kiro on her taking office as New Zealand's new governor-general. He called for “joint efforts” to promote “China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership on the principle of mutual respect and benefit.”
Next, we have the full new guideline promoting green development in urban and rural areas. The guiding ideology for this document is Xi Thought in general and on ecological civilisation in particular. The section also talks about having a “people-centered” approach,” prioritising conservation and protection, while building a material and ecological civilisation. It also mentions keeping in mind the carbon peak and carbon neutral goals.
The next section of working principles emphasises “harmonious coexistence of man and nature.” Under this section, the document talks about attaching “equal importance” to both efficiency and balance and to combine “protection with development,” while promoting the economical and intensive use of urban and rural resources and energy and realising the coordination of population, economic development and ecological resources.
Then we get to goals, which Xinhua English has captured well:
By 2025, the institutional mechanisms and policy systems for green development in urban and rural areas will be basically established. The country will also make substantial progress on the green transformation of construction and solidly advance carbon reduction during the period, according to the guideline. Incidence of ‘urban diseases’ should be reduced, the quality of ecology and environment improved and green lifestyle widely promoted.
By 2035, green development will cover urban and rural areas in a comprehensive way, with an increased cut in carbon emissions. By the target date, the living environment will improve and institutions of governance and capacity will basically achieve modernization in terms of urban and rural construction. In other words, the goal of building a beautiful China will be basically realized.
The next bit talks about developing large urban and rural clusters. In this, the document talks about strict farmland protection, strict water resources usage rules, better housing development policies, etc. In regard to the latter, it talks about coordinating “housing development in large, small and medium-sized cities within regions, city clusters, and metropolitan areas in keeping with their population composition and industrial structure.” It also talks about setting a “bottom line” for environmental quality and limits for resource utilization.
The next paragraph talks about urban development. In this context, there’s a goal of making cities more liveable; creating satellite/sub-urban spaces; enhance disaster prevention-flood control capacities; protect natural landscapes, rivers and wetlands; improve infant care facilities, kindergartens, schools, medical and health institutions, community infrastructure and sports infrastructure, tourism facilities; improving waste management and better use of resources.
The next paragraph is about rural development. This begins with better housing with better facilities, such as water, electricity, gas and toilets, etc; protecting rural landscape, traditional structures, etc; provision of better public services; ensuring greater resilience and disaster mitigation capacity; and building the agriculture-industry chain to grow incomes.
The next bit talks about building green buildings. So it mentions the commitment to launch “initiatives to build green buildings, conservation-oriented government offices, green schools, and green hospitals.” It also talks about putting together and implementing a “green building labelling system.” Also, a data sharing mechanism for water, electricity, gas and heat consumption in urban buildings will be established to improve the monitoring capacity of building energy consumption.
The next paragraph is about systematic development of urban and rural infrastructure; this entails better planning, renovating, better coordination and making infrastructure greener, smarter, more coordinated and safer. This talks about improving travel systems and networks, creating bus lanes, stations, gas stations, EV stations, parking, etc. It talks about better fire safety management, improved sewage treatment, rainwater harvesting, pipeline networks, reducing coal usage, upgrading of rural power grids, natural gas pipelines, and thermal power lines. The next two paragraphs are about historical preservation, green housing and promotion of green lifestyles. I am not going through these in detail; there’s no specific detail that I thought was that significant here.
The next section covers key principles for how the work in this direction must be carried out. It emphasises better coordination, five-yearly evaluations based on an index of green development, enhanced innovation, and development of smart cities.
a report on the management of state-owned assets in 2020. The report outlined plans for deepening reforms of state capital and state-owned enterprises, adjusting the management system of state-owned financial capital, and improving the natural resource assets management system.
a special report from the State Council on the management of state-owned natural resource assets in 2020. Efforts are needed to strengthen the protection of natural resources, improve the efficiency in using natural resources, and promote the quality and stability of the ecological system, the report said.
a research report on the management of state-owned natural resource assets in 2020
a report on improving teachers’ performance and enforcing the Teachers Law.
a report on adjudication of intellectual property cases by courts; Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People’s Court spoke in this regard, basically emphasising the need for deeper reforms.
a report on the handling of complaint and petition cases by procuratorates
a report on the enforcement of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste
a research report on strengthening germplasm resource protection and breeding innovation.
Next, we have a report about Han Zheng speaking to Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov. This was a focussed conversation about issues related to challenges of goods clearing border controls between the two countries. Xinhua tells us that Han said that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been greater pressure on transit of goods through the two countries’ border ports. He wants both sides to deal with this with a “positive attitude.” The two sides should take targeted measures and make full efforts to ensure normal clearance of goods on the basis of a good implementation of anti-pandemic measures in border areas. They should also jointly study and solve the problems affecting transit of goods by railway, resume transit of goods through road ports, and strive to achieve results as quickly as possible. --- I hadn’t realised that this was a problem. This piece in The Diplomat helps in understanding the issue.
Two other pieces on the page. The first is a long piece commemorating the 85th anniversary of the culmination of the Long March; I think if you read yesterday’s piece, this doesn’t really add anything new in terms of current policy implications. The other piece is about the Xibaipo spirit, emphasising the “two musts.”
Page 3: A number of pieces on the page to note. First, the Joint Statement of China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The meeting included Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, as well as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum. Wang Yi chaired this meeting. He said that:
China will provide vaccines and various anti epidemic materials
a China-Pacific Island Countries reserve of emergency supplies will be set up and China will inject additional capital into the fund
China will continue providing economic and technical assistance to island countries with no political conditions attached
a forum on fishery cooperation and development between China and Pacific Island countries will be held within the year
a cooperation center on poverty reduction and development will be established
a cooperation center for China and Pacific Island countries on climate change will be set up
China wants Japan to be transparent and responsible to prudently deal with the disposal of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident
Wang noted that the nuclear submarine cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia will bring nuclear proliferation risks, trigger an arms race, and undermine regional peace and stability.
Some key points from the joint statement:
Pacific Island Countries conveyed warm congratulations on the centenary of the Communist Party of China and spoke highly of the great achievements in national construction made by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC.
All parties agreed that all countries, regardless of their size, strength and wealth, are equals. All parties advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
All parties reaffirmed respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, support for each other’s people in independently choosing a development path suited to their national conditions, and mutual understanding and support on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns. Pacific Island Countries reaffirmed that they firmly abide by the one-China principle and stressed the importance of upholding the principle of non-interference of internal affairs in international relations.
They all agreed to establish a mechanism of regular foreign ministers’ meetings; they all “opposed the politicization of sports” and they insisted on promoting “the practice of true multilateralism.”
China promised more vaccines and they said that “origins tracing of COVID-19 is an issue of science and a global task which should be and can only be undertaken by scientists around the world through joint research.”
Pacific Island Countries thanked China for its longstanding and selfless assistance, and pointed out that China’s assistance has played an important role in promoting economic and social development of Pacific Island Countries.
All parties reaffirmed their firm position of upholding the international non-proliferation regime with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as its cornerstone and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone,and called on the relevant parties to fulfill treaty obligations and promote regional peace and stability.
Next, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe spoke with (English report) Argentina’s Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana. The report tells us that the Chinese military is willing to work with its Argentine counterpart to deepen and expand practical cooperation in fields including high-level visits, personnel training, healthcare and international peacekeeping missions. For his part, Taiana reiterated Argentina’s commitment to the one-China principle.
Next, we get to China’s criticism of the European parliament’s adopting a report on ties with Taiwan.
NPC Foreign Affairs Committee said (English report) that “the report had seriously violated the one-China principle...China always opposes any form of official interactions between the Taiwan authority and countries that have established diplomatic ties with China.” It adds that “as one of the most important EU institutions, the European Parliament should have honored its commitment to the China-EU relations. The adoption of the report is an erroneous and dangerous move concerning Taiwan-related issues, and will seriously damage the mutual political trust and the foundation for mutual exchanges between China and the EU.”
CPPCC Foreign Affairs Committee said (English report): “We urge the relevant EU institutions to be prudent in their words and deeds, avoid damaging China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in any form, avoid sending erroneous signals to the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces, abide by the one-China principle, earnestly fulfill the commitments made openly by the EU on the Taiwan question, safeguard the political foundation for the development of China-EU relations with practical actions, consolidate mutual trust and cooperation between China and the EU, and ensure the steady and sustained development of the bilateral relations.”
One other story that’s not in PD, but I want to highlight here about Vladimir Putin’s comments at the Valdai Club conversation in Sochi. On China, he said, and Xinhua reported:
“We talked about this many times. We are friends with China in each other’s interests, and (our relations) are not directed against anyone...Unlike NATO countries, we are not trying to form any closed military alliance, there is no military bloc between Russia and China. We have no such intention.”
Page 4: Wang Zhengpu is now the deputy governor and acting governor of Hubei.
Page 5: Zhejiang Party Secretary Yuan Jiajun talks about common prosperity, specifically in the cultural domain. He begins by emphasising the role of culture and cultural confidence. He talks about exploring new thoughts and theories that inherit the “red roots” and demonstrates ideological strength. He wants to better promote Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era in Zhejiang. He then talks about promoting core socialist values among the people and to improve citizens’ ideological and moral quality, scientific and cultural qualities.” He talks about speeding up the construction of major cultural facilities in Zhejiang. He talks about supporting art and literature, with the aim of creating artistic and literary masterpieces.
He ends by calling to strengthen Zhijiang Cultural Industry Belt, Hengdian Film and Television Cultural Industry Experimental Zone, the Short Video Base and do more to support industries such as streaming, e-sports, video on demand, digital entertainment, etc.
Page 7: Two reports to note. First, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said that:
total domestic assets of the banking industry reached 332.3 trillion yuan, up 8.2 percent year on year.
total domestic liabilities of the banking sector reached 303.9 trillion yuan, up 8% year on year.
total assets of the insurance industry reached 24.2 trillion yuan, up 12.8% year on year.
RMB loans increased by 16.7 trillion yuan in the first nine months, an increase of 462.4 billion yuan over the same period last year.
as of September, outstanding loans to the manufacturing sector were 22.2 trillion yuan, up 12.6 percent year on year
outstanding loans to high-tech manufacturing reached 3.7 trillion yuan, up 13.8 percent year on year.
growth rate of real estate loans fell to 8.6 percent year on year, nearly 3 percentage points lower than the growth rate for all loans in the first nine months of 2021
outstanding loans for agriculture and rural areas were 42.6 trillion yuan
loans to small and micro businesses reached 18.5 trillion yuan, up 25.2 percent year on year
at the end of September, the domestic non-performing loan balance of the banking industry was 3.6 trillion yuan, with a non-performing loan ratio of 1.87 percent. This Reuters reports was 1.86% three months earlier.
The spokesperson added:
“At present, the risk resistance capacity of banking and insurance institutions continues to increase, and risks are generally controllable. At the end of September, banking institutions set aside a balance of 7 trillion yuan, covering 192.4% of the total. The capital adequacy ratio of commercial banks is 14.8 percent, the comprehensive solvency adequacy ratio of insurance companies is 243.7 percent, and the core solvency adequacy ratio is 231 percent.”
On Evergrande, Liu Zhongrui said that this was an individual phenomenon. Global Times reports that:
regarding the banking industry’s risk of exposure to Evergrande, Liu said that financial liabilities accounted for less than one-third of its total debt and overall risk exposure is not large. In addition, Evergrande’s liabilities are relatively dispersed among various banks. The overall risk exposure is not large for a single bank and “the overall risk is controllable,” Liu said. While on Evergrande, do note that Securities Times is reporting that the company has today paid $83.5 million interest to bondholders.
Anyway, back to PD, finally, the CBRC also committed to support “reasonable financing needs of coal, electricity, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and other enterprises.”
Second, we have an interview with SAMR Director Zhang Gong. He emphasises that it is perfectly normal for governments to seek to create an environment of fair market competition. He says that strengthening fair competition policy, improving the fair competition system, and strengthening and improving anti-monopoly and anti-unfair competition law enforcement are part of key decisions taken by the Central Committee and State Council. These actions are important for high-quality development and to uphold the “two unwavering.” It will, he says, better safeguard the interests of consumers, the legitimate rights and interests of all types of market entities, and promote common prosperity through high-quality development.
He, of course, gives himself an A in dealing with issues; but if you look past that self-congratulatory tone, there are promises of actions and he offers useful data points:
First, he talks about strengthening the legal system for fair competition; in this regard, he also talks about breaking down local protection and market segmentation; he also talks about putting “equal emphasis on development and regulation.”
Since 2018, 345 cases of monopoly, 37,000 cases of unfair competition, 118,000 cases of illegal pricing, and 1,920 cases of concentration of business operators have been investigated and dealt with. 2018年以来，查处垄断案件345件、不正当竞争案件3.7万件、价格违法案件11.8万件、审结经营者集中案件1920件，有力维护公平竞争市场秩序.
He also says that a massive bunch of documents were reviewed to address competition-related issues. And the competition environment in China has become more fair, transparent and predictable. He says there’s more “transparency and predictability” in rules.
Going ahead, Zhang talks about the need to “better balance development with security, efficiency with equity, vitality with order” while taking into “account both the immediate and the long-term, so as to ensure steady and sustained economic development.” The aim is to “create a broad development space for all types of market players, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and create a fair, transparent and predictable competitive environment for all types of market players to invest, operate and develop healthily.” Finally, he talks about focusing on China’s large market, which means “eliminating administrative monopolies such as local protection and market segmentation.”
Finally, he talks about making clearer and transparent regulations; promises to “step up enforcement of anti-monopoly and anti-unfair competition regulations to prevent the disorderly expansion of capital...improve the monitoring, assessment and early warning systems for market competition, and make oversight more forward-looking, targeted and effective...regulate competition in key areas such as platform economy, scientific and technological innovation, information security, and people’s livelihood.-- 二是着力加强竞争监管执法，进一步保护公平竞争。加大反垄断反不正当竞争监管执法力度，防止资本无序扩张。健全市场竞争状况监测评估和预警制度，增强监管前瞻性、针对性、有效性。持续规范平台经济、科技创新、信息安全、民生保障等重点领域竞争行为，严格依法查处垄断行为，立规矩儆效尤，以公正监管促进公平竞争.
On Page 10, we have an article by the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission on building a world-class army. The core emphasis here is on the need for and importance of the PLA being loyal to the Party and studying and implementing Xi Thought on building a world-class army.