Inner-Party Regulations - Services Trade - Patriotic Education in Tibet - China's Democracy - the 'Seven Deadly Sins' of the US Alliance System

Here are the stories and pieces from the August 4, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: Let’s begin with a long, long piece bylined the Bureau of Laws and Regulations of the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It tells us that inner-party regulations have “strong political attributes, distinct value orientation, scientific governance logic, unified and standardized functions, and highly condense the party's theoretical innovation and practical experience.” 

“As of July 1, 2021, there were 3,615 effective internal party laws and regulations. Among them, there are 211 inner-party regulations formulated by the CPC Central Committee, 163 inner-party regulations formulated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the working organs of the CPC Central Committee, and 3,241 local inner-party regulations formulated by party committees of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government...Among the current effective party internal laws and regulations, there are 1 Party Constitution, 3 Guidelines, 43 Regulations, 850 Provisions, 2034 Measures, 75 Rules and 609 Detailed Rules.” 党内法规具有强烈政治属性、鲜明价值导向、科学治理逻辑、统一规范功能,高度凝结党的理论创新和实践经验,是党的中央组织,中央纪律检查委员会以及党中央工作机关和省、自治区、直辖市党委制定的体现党的统一意志、规范党的领导和党的建设活动、依靠党的纪律保证实施的专门规章制度。截至2021年7月1日,全党现行有效党内法规共3615部。其中,党中央制定的中央党内法规211部,中央纪律检查委员会以及党中央工作机关制定的部委党内法规163部,省、自治区、直辖市党委制定的地方党内法规3241部。党内法规使用党章、准则、条例、规定、办法、规则、细则7类名称,现行有效党内法规中,党章1部,准则3部,条例43部,规定850部,办法2034部,规则75部,细则609部.

Then we get a quick dive into history, with a lot being summarised very briefly, before we get to the new era. After a listing of some of the key regulations since the 18th Party Congress, we then get to some interesting stuff.

First, we are told that inner-party regulations are developed following theoretical guidance of the guiding ideology. And today, Xi Thought is guiding ideology that “the party and the country must adhere to for a long time.” It is “a scientific action guide to guide the development of the cause of the party and the country in the new era.”

What’s needed going ahead is that:

“We must adhere to the correct political direction and formulate and implement the inner-party laws and regulations, strengthen the ‘four consciousnesses’. strengthen the ‘four self-confidences’, and achieve ‘two maintenance’; We must adhere to the party constitution as the fundamental basis, respect the party constitution, abide by the party constitution, implement the party constitution, and safeguard the party constitution; We must adhere to the principle of democratic centralism and formulate inner-party laws and regulations, and organically combine the full development of inner-party democracy with the maintenance of party centralization and unity; We must adhere to the sound system of serving the overall situation of the party and the state, and provide institutional guarantee for the development of the party's cause and the comprehensive and strict administration of the party…” 要坚持正确政治方向制定和实施党内法规,增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”;要坚持以党章为根本依据建章立制,尊崇党章、遵守党章、贯彻党章、维护党章;要坚持贯彻民主集中制原则制定党内法规,把充分发扬党内民主和维护党的集中统一有机结合起来;要坚持服务党和国家工作大局健全制度,为党的事业发展和全面从严治党提供制度保障;

Also I didn’t know this: In February 2018, the Party Central Committee issued the second five-year plan (2018-2022). Then this is a useful note about central control; I think this is related to Xi’s era.

  • Regulations by Central Committee: 147, accounting for 70% of the current effective central party regulations.

  • The Central Discipline Inspection Commission and the Party's central working organs introduced 100 party regulations for ministries and commissions, accounting for 61% of the current effective party regulations for ministries and commissions

  • The Party Committees of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have issued 2,184 local Party regulations, accounting for 67% of the current effective local Party regulations.

Also, among all of these that have been issued, 94 laws and regulations are about party organization, 554 relate to party leadership, 866 on party building (party’s self-construction) and 916 on supervision. 

Some other key points to note from the piece:

  • The party constitution is the most fundamental internal party law. All party systems start with the party constitution, which is the source of all internal party regulations and the basis and basis for formulating all internal party regulations...No party regulations and any party system may conflict with the party constitution.

  • As of July 1, 2021, there are 153 effective party organization regulations, including 15 central party regulations, 1 ministerial party regulation and 137 local party regulations.

  • As of July 1, 2021, there were 772 party leadership regulations in effect, including 44 central party regulations, 29 ministry party regulations, and 699 local party regulations. -- These regulations “regulate and guarantee the implementation of the Party's leadership in all aspects of work…” They “provide institutional safeguards for the Party to play a central role in the overall situation and coordination of all parties.” There are examples given; but I am just highlighting the text on national security

“The Communist Party of China leads the national security work regulations, etc., adheres to the absolute leadership of the Party on national security work, thoroughly implements the overall national security concept, and promotes the modernization of the national security system and capacity.”

  • As of July 1, 2021, there are 1,319 effective laws and regulations on the party's self-construction, including 74 central party regulations, 76 ministry party regulations and 1,169 local party regulations. These are regarding maintaining the Party’s “advanced nature” and “purity.” So they related to political building, ideological building, organizational building, style and discipline.

  • As of July 1, 2021, there were 1,370 effective party supervision regulations in force, including 77 central party regulations, 57 ministry party regulations, and 1,236 local party regulations. These include regulations for supervision, incentives, punishments, and guarantees. 

Now going ahead what’s needed is the following. To improve the inner-party regulatory system at the new historic starting point that the Party is at today, the document says that:

“we must adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, translate the requirements of this important thought on the development of the Party and the State into institutional regulations and establish them as systems to follow, and ensure that all the work of the Party and the State is always guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and moves in the right political direction.” 在新的历史起点上完善党内法规体系,必须坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,将这一重要思想对党和国家事业发展的各项要求转化为制度规定、确立为制度遵循,以制度来保证党和国家全部工作始终在习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想指引下,沿着正确政治方向前进.

“we must profoundly grasp the historical logic, realistic logic and practical logic of the Party's leadership, unswervingly uphold and strengthen the Party's leadership over all work, perfect and firmly safeguard the authority of the CPC Central Committee and centralize and unify the leadership system, improve the overall leadership system of the Party, continuously improve the Party's scientific, democratic and legal governance levels, and ensure that the Party will always become the strong leadership core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 在新的历史起点上完善党内法规体系,必须深刻把握党的领导的历史逻辑、现实逻辑、实践逻辑,毫不动摇坚持和加强党对一切工作的领导,完善坚定维护党中央权威和集中统一领导的各项制度,健全党的全面领导制度,不断提高党科学执政、民主执政、依法执政水平,确保党始终成为中国特色社会主义事业的坚强领导核心.

“we must always adhere to the fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, stand firm on the people's stand, implement the party's mass line, respect the people's pioneering spirit, practice the people-centered development thought, strive to prevent the danger of being separated from the masses by improving the system, and keep close flesh-and-blood ties between the party and the people...” 在新的历史起点上完善党内法规体系,必须始终坚持全心全意为人民服务的根本宗旨,站稳人民立场,贯彻党的群众路线,尊重人民首创精神,践行以人民为中心的发展思想,通过完善制度着力防范脱离群众的危险,不断密切党同人民群众的血肉联系,确保党始终同人民想在一起、干在一起,实现好、维护好、发展好最广大人民根本利益.

“we must thoroughly implement the decision-making arrangements of the CPC Central Committee for unswervingly and comprehensively administering the party strictly, persist in treating both the symptoms and root causes, pay more attention to the fundamental role of the system, use the system to govern the party, power and officials, keep up with the new situation, new tasks and new requirements of governing the party, and further innovate and improve the regulations of governing the party, so as to ensure that the party does not deteriorate, change color and flavour, and maintain its advanced nature and purity forever.” 在新的历史起点上完善党内法规体系,必须深入贯彻党中央坚定不移全面从严治党的决策部署,坚持标本兼治,更加注重制度的治本作用,更多用制度治党、管权、治吏,紧跟管党治党新形势新任务新要求,进一步创新和完善管党治党制度规定,确保党不变质、不变色、不变味,永葆党的先进性和纯洁性.

“we must closely focus on the theme of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, fully implement the party's basic theories, basic lines and basic strategies, and consciously put them into the overall work of the party and the state...”

“we must always pay attention to the fundamental requirements of the party in upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, make greater efforts in upholding and improving the party's leadership system...so that the socialist system with Chinese characteristics will radiate stronger vitality.”

“it is necessary to thoroughly implement Xi Jinping’s thoughts on the rule of law, take the formation of a complete legal system within the party as an inevitable requirement for building a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics and a socialist country under the rule of law...strive to form a structure in which internal party regulations and national laws are complementary…”

Next, we have the National Fitness Plan (2021-2025). I am not going through this, but I am linking it here if you are interested.

Third, we have a short report on China’s services trade. Here’s a detailed English report on this too. In H1, “Service trade rose by 6.7 percent year on year to around 2.38 trillion yuan (about $367.97 billion) during the period, with exports up by 23.6 percent year on year to approximately 1.13 trillion yuan and imports down by 5 percent to reach around 1.25 trillion yuan. The deficit of service trade stood at 120.46 billion yuan in the first six months, 281.25 billion yuan less than the same period last year. Compared with the same period in 2019, service trade in the country dropped by 9 percent, with service exports up by 20.9 percent and service imports down by 25.6 percent. The ministry highlighted the remarkable expansion in China's trade of knowledge-intensive services, which increased by 13.5 percent year on year to nearly 1.11 trillion yuan in the first half of 2021.”

There’s also a feature piece in improving education in Tibet. 

Some of the interesting points in this piece are about the Party sending people from outside Tibet to the region. For instance, “from 2016 to the first half of 2020, 2,493 cadres and teachers came to Tibet to work.” Also, “In 2018, the 10,000 Teachers Teaching Program was launched, and outstanding teachers were selected and sent to Tibet to teach in batches of one and a half years each.” The entire piece has a tone of others helping Tibet to improve.

Do note this:

“In the process of aiding Tibet through education, patriotism runs through the whole process of school education at all levels, and patriotic seeds are sown in the hearts of every teenager.” It tells us that there was a training course held by China’s Ministry of Education’s Institute of Applied Linguistics in Linzhi. This trained language teachers for 74 districts and counties in Tibet in order to promote “the common national language and script.” Also, China University of Political Science and Law has launched the ‘Soul Casting Project’ to continuously enhance recognition with “the great motherland, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 教育部语言文字应用研究所在林芝举办语言文字规范标准培训班,为西藏74个区县培训语言文字干部、语文骨干教师、语文教研员等200名,促进推广国家通用语言文字;北京把对口支援工作打造成民族团结工程,创作并组织《藏地彩虹》《家是玉麦,国是中国》等优秀作品进校园,加强民族交往交流交融,筑牢民族团结的思想基础;中国政法大学开展“铸魂工程”,不断增强各族群众对伟大祖国、中华民族、中华文化、中国共产党、中国特色社会主义的认同.

Page 3: Most of the pieces on the page are about the issue of the origins of COVID-19. For instance, here’s a report with voices from foreign experts, officials criticising the politicisation of origin tracing. Then there’s this piece with comments from WHO’s Michael Ryan on stopping politicisation of scientific issues. And then there’s a Zhong Sheng commentary on the US - the 16th in the series.

This one talks about how the US relies on its allies; but that it has lost its appeal among partners because of the “obsession” to contain China. It says that the US “is eager to build an encirclement of China in the region, thus forming a situation of exerting pressure on China.” 用国际媒体的话讲,美国是渴望在该地区构建对华包围圈,从而形成向中国施压的态势.

It adds that the US “still does not understand how to deal with a China that has the courage to assume the responsibilities of a great power and is more confident and enterprising.”

The author says that while China is opening up, supporting the global pandemic recovery, and making the vaccine a “public good” (gosh this is such an abuse of the definition of a public good), the US has been inadequate in containment causing “the pandemic to spread to neighboring countries,” engaged in political manipulation and stigmatisation of China, and launched “trade wars and technological wars in an attempt to contain China's development with protectionism and unilateralism.”

“Instead of reflecting on and revising its own internal and external policies, the U.S. has developed a growing "China anxiety disorder" and is using every opportunity to suppress China, allowing irrational thinking to dominate U.S. strategy toward China.” 巨大反差和对比面前,美国不是反思、修正自身的内外政策,而是患上了日益严重的“对华焦虑症”,利用一切机会打压中国,让非理性思维主导了美国的对华战略.

The argument here is that the world has changed and returning to the era of US hegemony is unrealistic. But still, the US is looking to contain China, according to the author. And in this effort, it is looking to bring allies together. However, the US, the author says, has lost its appeal to allies even. This is because of America First and the fading “the aura of American democracy.” 

“The current U.S. government claims to be ‘restarting democracy’, but so far it has done nothing to address the chronic problems of gun violence, racial anger, wealth divide, social disparity, and political polarization in the country.” 美国现政府声称要“重启民主”,但至今对国内枪支暴力、种族怒火、贫富鸿沟、社会撕裂、政治极化等痼疾束手无策.

This is contrasted with China’s “resilience.” The author talks about China being the largest trading partner of the EU and ASEAN, and then talks about China’s market size to say: “no country is willing to decouple from China, and no country can afford the losses caused by decoupling from China.”

Finally, we have a report about Wang Yi speaking at the China-ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting. Xinhua English has the story

“Noting that China regards ASEAN as its primary partner in the fight against COVID-19, Wang said China has provided more than 190 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the 10 ASEAN countries so far, along with other anti-COVID-19 supplies. Regarding the trade and investment cooperation between China and ASEAN, Wang stressed that in the first half of this year, the bilateral trade exceeded 410 billion U.S. dollars, up 38.2 percent year on year. ASEAN remains China's largest trading partner, and their cumulative investment exceeding 310 billion U.S. dollars.”

Also this: 

“China firmly supports ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and ASEAN's greater role in international and regional issues, said Wang, adding that China does not approve or participate in any cooperation mechanism that undermines ASEAN centrality. He called for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. China will continue to honor its commitments regarding the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). China stresses the peaceful settlement of disputes by countries directly concerned through consultation and negotiation, refraining from unilateral actions that aggravate tensions and widen differences, and deepening practical maritime cooperation. The ASEAN foreign ministers said that China is a rational, wise and reliable force, and it does not fear any power as it seeks to safeguard international fairness and justice, adding that China's development will bring new and greater opportunities for all ASEAN countries.”

Strangely, the PD story does not carry that comment attributed to ASEAN FMs in the Xinhua English piece.

Page 5: The next in the series on Xi Thought - this is the 13th such piece. The first question is about the poverty alleviation campaign and its contribution to mankind. 

“Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has adhered to the people-centered development thought, United and led the whole party and the people of all ethnic groups, placed poverty alleviation in a prominent position in governing the country, gave full play to the leadership of the Party and the political advantages of China's socialist system, and adopted many unique and original major initiatives, organized and implemented the largest and strongest fight against poverty in human history, and completed the goal and task of poverty alleviation in the new era on schedule. This great victory has earned admiration from around the world.” 党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚持以人民为中心的发展思想,团结带领全党全国各族人民,把脱贫攻坚摆在治国理政突出位置,充分发挥党的领导和我国社会主义制度的政治优势,采取了许多具有原创性、独特性的重大举措,组织实施了人类历史上规模最大、力度最强的脱贫攻坚战,如期完成了新时代脱贫攻坚目标任务,取得了令全世界刮目相看的重大胜利.

The next paragraph is how China’s poverty alleviation drive has contributed towards reducing global poverty, faster movement towards sustainable development goals and has proved “to the world the significant advantages of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.” In addition, China’s campaign has provided opportunities to lend “Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for global poverty reduction.” 

The next question is about the new development stage. “The new stage of development is the stage of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way and marching towards the second centenary goal. It is the new stage of our party leading the people to a historic leap from standing up and getting rich to becoming strong.” This ends with highlighting the “long-term goal of socialist modernization by 2035.”

Page 13: On the Theory page, the lead piece is by Yang Zhenwu, secretary-general of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. This is about the “whole process of people’s democracy.” The core argument here is very similar to the piece on the same theme I covered yesterday. There’s more data here, however, about the nature of consultation that legislative and planning work entails. The key point in a nutshell is that  the Chinese system is democratic and not just that, it is a higher level of democracy than the simple electoral democracy practiced in the West.

Quick thought: To me, this is as much about domestic narrative as it is about external narrative. Beijing is clearly intent on challenging normative and conceptual hegemony of the West. Ergo, the argument that China is not interested in exporting its system is flawed. One should not assume that export implies a desire for replication of the institutions in other countries. That’s not the way one should look at export. The effort to challenge normative concepts, as evident above and in recent Chinese diplomacy, is clearly aimed at generating legitimacy for the Party-state system and exporting its values as not only efficient but also just and fair.

Page 16: On the international page today, we have just one piece, i.e., “the ‘seven deadly sins’ of the American alliance system.” This is going to be a multi-part piece. The first part today begins by saying this, which only reinforces what I’ve been saying about China’s perceptions of the Biden administration

“For a long time, the U.S. alliance system has clung to the Cold War mentality, believed in zero-sum games, trampled on justice for its own selfish interests, provoked conflicts and wars, imposed unilateral sanctions, and reaped world dividends, posing serious threats to and undermining the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law. Since the new U.S. administration took office, it has re-enforced its control over the alliance system, ostensibly under the banner of returning to multilateralism, but in essence it wants to engage in ‘small-circles’ and bloc politics, dividing the world into taking ideological sides and choosing sides among camps, attempting to gang up on China to implement strategic containment and suppression, and acting unilaterally in the name of collective action. This is pseudo-multilateralism.” 长期以来,美国同盟体系固守冷战思维,迷信零和博弈,为一己私利践踏公理正义、挑起冲突战祸、实行单边制裁、收割世界红利,对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造成严重威胁和破坏。美国新政府上台以来,重新加强对同盟体系的掌控,表面上打着重回多边主义旗号,实质上是要搞“小圈子”和集团政治,以意识形态站队、阵营之间选边来割裂世界,企图拉帮结伙对中国实施战略遏制打压,以集体之名行单边之实,是不折不扣的伪多边主义。

So what are these sins?

First sin is Violence

  • This includes US wars. So the Korean War, Vietnam War, Kosovo conflict, Afghanistan war, and Iraq war get mentioned.

  • Second, weapons sales to allies, which have led to “continuous wars.” Of course, when China sells weapons, they fire flower petals. Anyway, for those who would like some data, here’s SIPRI on China: “Exports by China, the world’s fifth largest arms exporter in 2016–20, decreased by 7.8 percent between 2011–15 and 2016–20. Chinese arms exports accounted for 5.2 per cent of total arms exports in 2016–20. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria were the largest recipients of Chinese arms.”

  • Third, allies participate in US-led military operations. The piece talks about the asssination of Qasem Soleimani and Iranian nuclear scientists, mentioning a “US-Israel conspiracy.” It says “U.S. condones Israel against Syria and Lebanon Other countries launched air strikes, seriously infringing on the sovereignty of relevant countries.” It talks about US backing Turkish action against the Kurds. The war on terrorism and the targeting of the Gaddafi regime in Libya also get a mention. (A quick thought: It’s fascinating how increasingly Beijing seems to be critical of Israel.)

  • Gun violence in the US

  • Political violence in US and allied countries

Second sin is Plunder. This includes

  • plunder the Gulf countries' oil and food resources

  • the hegemony of the US dollar, which allows the US to plunder the assets of other countries through unconventional monetary policies. This talks about the Fed’s policies impacting the world and mentions US sanctions.

  • the policies related to natural resources in Africa. In this it quotes Peter Pham from the Atlantic Council to say that ensuring that interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, and Russia, are not given a monopoly or preferential treatment over African resources is one of NATO’s goals in implementing the militarization of Africa.

  • Britain and France’s colonial occupation of overseas territories

Third sin is infringement. This includes

  • “The U.S. alliance system plays with international rules, uses international law when it agrees with it and abandons it when it does not, challenges justice with might, distorts international law to whitewash evil deeds, and seeks only its own selfish interests.”

  • withdrawing from international institutions and agreements

  • violently violating human rights in overseas wars

  • long-arm jurisdiction 

  • Five-eyes surveillance

  • UNHRC has issued multiple statements expressing concern about various human rights violations in the United States

  • US immigration policy separating families

  • The 2013 incident involving Evo Morales’ plane being forced to land in Austria following a tip-off that the fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on board.

  • US and its allies have been interfering in foreign countries in the name of humanitarianism, but their human rights situation has gone from bad to worse. This talks about labour issues, ethnic violence, sexual violence and refugee policies.