Military Honours & Commendation Regulation - R&D Expenditure - China-Russia Economic Ties - Taiwan Arms Deal - Ensuring Supply of Primary Products - New Form of Human Civilisation
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy from the Wednesday, February 09, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: First, there’s a new regulation on military honours and commendation. This is an interesting report. Of course, it would be useful to go through the full regulation.
“The regulation adheres to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in new era, thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought of strengthening the army, thoroughly implement the military strategic guideline for the new era, focus on realising the Party’s goal of strengthening the army in the new era, build the PLA into a world-class armed forces in an all-round way, give prominence to combat/war-fighting, strengthen the system design, and build an honour and commendation system for meritorious military service that is characteristic of the new era, conforms to the characteristics of the new system, reflects the requirements of the new mission, and comprehensively focuses on war preparedness.” 《条例》坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导，深入贯彻习近平强军思想，深入贯彻新时代军事战略方针，着眼实现党在新时代的强军目标、把人民军队全面建成世界一流军队，突出为战励战，加强体系设计，构建富有新时代特色、符合新体制特点、体现新使命要求，全面聚焦备战打仗的军队功勋荣誉表彰体系.
The final paragraph is interesting. It says that the new regulation is “of great significance for improving the system of commendation and honours for meritorious service, enhancing the military professional attraction and the soldiers’ sense of mission and honour, educating and guiding the officers and troops to carry forward the PLA’s fearless heroism and brave and tenacious fighting style…” 《条例》的颁布施行，对完善党和国家功勋荣誉表彰制度体系，增强军事职业吸引力和军人使命感、荣誉感，教育引导官兵发扬我军大无畏的英雄气概和英勇顽强的战斗作风，激励全军官兵奋力实现建军百年奋斗目标，具有重要意义.
On page 2, there is an exchange with someone from the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission on the new regulations. My colleague Swayamsiddha Samal has translated and helped summarise some of the Q&A below.
So this official underscores that at the 19th Party Congress, it was decided that it was important to make the military a profession that is respected by the whole society - 让军人成为全社会尊崇的职业 - and that these regulations are a part of that process. The PWD set up a drafting group for the regulations in January 2019. On November 18, 2021, Xi Jinping presided over a meeting of the Politburo to review and approve the regulations. On December 9, the Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission issued the regulations.
The next questions are about the principles guiding the regulations. The official says that these are:
First, be guided by Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Also thoroughly implement Xi Jinping thought on strengthening the armed forces, and implement Xi’s specific instructions on meritorious service, honour and recognition.
Second, focus on war preparedness. Adhere to the standard of combat effectiveness, focus on forging excellent troops that can fight and win battles, and build and improve the rewards and incentive system.
Third, strengthen system design; coordinate wartime, peacetime and major non-wartime military operations, synergise relevant laws and regulations, and restructure the overall military meritorious service recognition system.
Fourth, strengthen the incentive effect. Innovate the system and mechanism of spiritual and material incentives; enhance the sense of honour.
Fifth, uphold integrity and innovation. We should carry forward our fine traditions, innovate and explore ways to adapt to the new era, new institutions and new missions, and constantly enhance the role of institutions.
The official then explains that this is the first such basic guidance on commendation for meritorious service. He adds that:
The items of military merit and honour recognition include medals, honorary titles, awards, commendations, and commemorative medals.
The implementation of military honour recognition has been developed to three types: wartime, peacetime, and major non-war military operations. The items, conditions, authority, procedures, honorary signs, treatment, publicity, management and supervision are eight aspects to make the system better.
A couple of other questions from the interview that I thought were noteworthy are below:
Q: How does the Regulations reflect the orientation of focusing on war preparations?
A: The regulations are mainly reflected in 5 aspects:
Firstly, it is to adhere to the service centre and to focus on preparing for war.
The second, is to recreate the wartime meritorious honour recognition project, set up a new ‘Red Banner Medal’ and ‘Red Star Medal’, set up special, first-class, second-class wartime honorary titles and first-, second-, third-, and fourth-class military exploits, and set up wartime commemorative medals.
The third step is to adapt to wartime by simplifying procedures, emphasising quick appraisal and awards, and utilising honours and awards in combat.
The fourth is to maintain the high merit awards and the treatment of military merit, and to make it clear that rewards in wartime are greater than those in peacetime.
The fifth step is to recognise the importance of commanders in winning wars, increase praise for them, and innovate methods for nomination and recommendation, so that more commanders who made significant contributions are treated with the utmost respect.
Q: How do the Regulations implement the requirements for accurate and precise awarding?
A: The new system of the military has a comprehensive organisational structure, standardised management and refined division of labour. It is most evident in three areas:
Firstly, the reward scenario is fine-tuned. To implement rewards, issue medals, and achieve wartime success, there is a distinction during wartime between commanding operations and participating in battles. During peacetime, there is differentiation between combat readiness training, education management, national defence science and technology. Service Support Organisations are to decide prizes for fighting in wars and for scientific research.
The second is to standardise the timings of rewards. Wartime rewards are to be implemented during operations. Peacetime rewards are to be implemented together with half-yearly or annual work summaries. Rewards for major non-war military operations are generally to be implemented after the end of the mission.
The third is to improve the reward procedures. In wartime, rewards are implemented according to performance related to operational command. In peacetime, it is according to leadership and management. For major non-war military operations, it is according to the performance related to task command.
Q. Could you please tell us how the Regulations regulate the recognition of military honours and honours related to foreign affairs?
A: To safeguard the country's overseas interests and foreign cooperation and exchanges, the Regulations set up a separate chapter called ‘Recognition of Military Merit and Honors for Foreign Affairs’. It clarifies the processes for the PLA to implement meritorious honours for foreign personnel and for PLA personnel to accept foreign merits and honours.
Next, Xi Jinping’s speech at the summit meeting with Central Asian leaders is published as a booklet.
Third, we have another piece in the series on shaking hands with Xi. This one talks about 59-year-old prosecutor Pan Zhirong, who was recognised as an outstanding Party cadre from Inner Mongolia. The piece recalls Pan’s meeting with Xi in 2016, when he was invited to Beijing for the 95th anniversary of the CCP’s founding. He talks about shaking hands with Xi back then, and how he was so excited that he couldn’t sleep.
Later Pan became a delegate to the 19th Party Congress; was invited for the 70th anniversary of the PRC’s founding and the CCP’s centenary; in 2020, he was also recognised as a National Advanced Worker. He talks about having listened to Xi’s speeches on these occasions and being “deeply moved by the general secretary’s deep and sincere feelings for the people”, and he felt that “only by keeping the General Secretary’s instructions firmly in mind and serving the people firmly can one live up to the honours he had received and live up to the expectations of the Party and the people.”
The piece also talks about Pan being inspired by Xi’s views on the ecology to file a suit dealing with pollution; it talks about Pan being a model cadre in that he tends to absorb the spirit of major meetings and then takes the time to publicise it. For instance, he is said to have delivered more than 50 lectures in rural areas, pastoral areas, factories, mines, workshops, etc., publicising the spirit of the 19th Party Congress; it also talks about how Pan has visited different villages and remote places nearby to help resolve local disputes. One of the examples given there is about Pan’s mediation in a dispute over land use between two neighbours in a village.
China’s social Research and Experimental Development (R&D) investment in 2021 reached 2.7864 trillion yuan, an increase of 14.2 percent over the previous year, and an actual increase of 9.4 percent after deducting price factors; the ratio of R&D expenditure to Gross Domestic Product reached 2.44 percent, an increase of 0.03 percentage point over the previous year. Among this, the basic research fund was 169.6 billion yuan, an increase of 15.6 percent, 1.4 percentage points faster than the R&D fund of the whole society; the proportion of R&D expenditure was 6.09 percent, an increase of 0.08 percentage point over the previous year.
Page 2: Apart from the interview covered earlier, there’s one report on the page to note. This is based on a press briefing on the COVID situation, particularly during the Spring Festival season. A number of officials from different ministries are quoted in the report, talking about the work done to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and preparedness. These two points, I thought, were worth highlighting:
The NHC said that a team is being sent to Guangxi, where there is a resurgence of cases. Baise in Guangxi is a particular hotspot. In Beijing and Tianjin, an official named He Qinghua said, the situation is generally under control. In Heihe, Heilongjiang, 7 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported.
Yu Changguo from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that during the Spring Festival, 251 million people travelled domestically, and domestic tourism revenue was 289.198 billion yuan. There were no major safety accidents in the national cultural and tourism system, and the holiday market was generally safe, stable and orderly.
Page 3: First, a long report about Sino-Russian trade cooperation. Let me summarise the key points:
In 2021, bilateral trade was at $146.87 billion, a year-on-year increase of 35.9%.
The trade volume of mechanical and electrical products between China and Russia reached $43.4 billion. Among them, China’s exports of automobiles, home appliances and construction machinery to Russia have maintained rapid growth. The sales of Chinese auto brands like Haval, Chery and Geely in Russia hit a new record high, and Chinese electronics brands, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are favoured by the Russian people. At the same time, there are more agricultural products being imported from Russia.
The piece mentions the Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge and the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe highway bridge.
It talks about this particular Chinese project, which is part of the metro system in Moscow.
China’s Ministry of Commerce says that cross-border e-commerce trade volume between China and Russia increased by 187% from Jan to November 2021. Absolute numbers are not shared here.
“According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, in 2021, China's imports of energy products from Russia were at 334.29 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 47.4%, accounting for 65.3% of China's total imports from Russia in the year. Russia remains China's largest source of energy imports, the second largest source of crude oil imports, and the largest source of electricity imports.”
Major projects identified the piece:
China-Russia Crude Oil Pipeline
the China-Russia East Route Natural Gas Pipeline
Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 to 4 have been operating stably;
the construction of units 7 and 8 of Tianwan plant and the construction of units 3 and 4 of the Xudabao nuclear power plant are progressing smoothly
It adds that “all-round cooperation in the fields of energy green and low-carbon transformation, artificial intelligence, new energy development, green finance, and local currency settlement have now gotten onto the fast lane.”
The piece talks about the goal for bilateral trade now being $200 billion. It says that in November 2021, “relevant departments of China and Russia signed a memorandum on investment cooperation in the field of digital economy, encouraging and supporting the cooperation between the industries of the two countries, and promoting cooperation in digital empowerment, green empowerment and innovation empowerment.” They also agreed to deepen scientific and technological innovation cooperation, create new growth points such as 5G, biomedicine, green and low-carbon development, and smart cities; they spoke about strengthening docking of policies, industries and projects, and further deepen downstream cooperation in areas like energy and mineral resources, agriculture and forestry, industrial manufacturing, and information and communications; promote the mutual establishment of electromechanical and other industrial parks, improve the connectivity level of infrastructure software and hardware, and promote the deep integration of industrial chain and supply chains. 去年11月，中俄两国有关部门签署数字经济领域投资合作备忘录，鼓励和支持两国业界对接合作，推动合作数字赋能、绿色赋能、创新赋能。双方商定进一步加强科技创新合作，打造5G、生物医药、绿色低碳、智慧城市等新的增长点，加强政策、产业和项目对接，进一步深化能源矿产、农林开发、工业制造、信息通信等领域上下游合作，推动互设机电等类型产业园区，提升基础设施软硬件联通水平，促进产业链供应链深度融合.
The piece talks about both sides signing a protocol on mutual recognition of the status of authorised or accredited economic operators. The article argues that this agreement will improve the level of economic and trade cooperation between China and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Finally, the piece informs that according to the statistics of the Russian Central Bank and the customs, the RMB currently accounts for more than 17% of Sino-Russian bilateral trade settlement, and more than 12% of Russia's international reserves. The role of the local currency as a means of payment is gradually increasing.
Next, two reports about the US-Taiwan arms deal. The US has cleared the possible sale to Taiwan of military equipment and services, including engineering services to support the Patriot missile defense system, for an estimated cost of $100 million, according to a statement released Monday by the Defense Department. In PD today, we have MoFA’s criticism. Zhao Lijian said yesterday:
“The US arms sales to the Taiwan region of China seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué, gravely undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and severely harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes this and strongly condemns this. China urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, immediately revoke the arms sales plan, and stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan. China will take legitimate and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security interests.”
“The DPP authority cannot save ‘Taiwan independence’ from its inevitable doom by colluding with external forces and using the Taiwan people’s hard-earned money to buy arms, but will only escalate tensions and instability across the Strait…The spokesperson also urged the United States to stop playing with fire on Taiwan-related issues, correct its mistakes, and return to the right track of abiding by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique.”
A couple of other reports related to the US-China dynamic, although these are not in PD:
Page 5: Today’s commentary from the priorities highlighted at the CEWC is about ensuring the supply of primary products. It basically says that this is an issue of strategic significance. It talks about how Xi has emphasised that given China’s size and demand for primary products, particularly grain, it is important to keep in mind the challenges that disruptions can bring. The article warns that a “serious shortage in terms of the supply of primary products could turn into a ‘grey rhino’ event, especially when it comes to food security. In this context, the article calls for self-improvement and self-reliance to ensure security.
The piece then talks about the importance of a “comprehensive conservation strategy.” This relates to both production and consumption, where conservation must be a key factor. In terms of production, this implies recycling, reutilization and improving efficiency of resource utilisation; in terms of consumption, the article talks about the need to raise the public’s awareness about conservation and advocating a simple, moderate, green and low-carbon lifestyle. The article says that it is necessary to carry out “in-depth publicity and education on the national conditions of resources, and promote the whole society to firmly establish the awareness of resource conservation and utilisation.”
The next paragraph talks about energy utilisation. This is interesting.
General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed during his inspection of Shengli Oilfield that ‘As a big manufacturing country, China must hold the rice bowl of energy in its own hands to develop the real economy.’ We must have a deep understanding that we should use the ‘two markets’ well, but there must be a safety line beyond which red lights will be switched on. This is the key to secure the rice bowl of energy resources and enhance the production capacity guarantee of domestic resources. This requires us to make clear the strategic bottom line of self-sufficiency in domestic production of important energy resources, and accelerate the development and application of advanced technologies for exploiting oil and gas and other resources; strengthen the construction of the national strategic materials reserve system and play a regulatory role in ensuring the bottom line at critical moments; classify, reduce and recycle waste, and speed up the development of a system for recycling waste. Only by taking multiple measures and forming synergy can we maintain the bottom line of energy and resource security and build a safety line for high-quality economic and social development. 习近平总书记在考察胜利油田时强调：“中国作为制造业大国，要发展实体经济，能源的饭碗必须端在自己手里。”必须深刻认识到，我们要利用“两个市场”，但必须有一个安全线，超过了以后就要亮红灯。端牢能源资源的饭碗，增强国内资源生产保障能力是关键。这就要求我们明确重要能源资源国内生产自给的战略底线，加快油气等资源先进开采技术开发应用；加强国家战略物资储备制度建设，在关键时刻发挥保底线的调节作用；实施垃圾分类和减量化、资源化，加快构建废弃物循环利用体系。多措并举、形成合力，才能守住能源资源安全的底线、构筑经济社会高质量发展的安全线.
The next paragraph talks about agriculture and grain production. It emphasises the need to ensure grain security while stating that “the foundation for China’s food security remains weak and structural problems still exist. It is neither realistic nor reliable to depend on others to solve the Chinese people’s food problem.” - 必须深刻认识到，尽管我国粮食连年丰收，但是粮食安全基础仍然不牢固、结构性矛盾仍然存在. 靠别人解决中国人的吃饭问题，既不现实，也靠不住.
On the theory page, the lead piece is by Ma Jiantang, from the Development Research Center of the State Council, and Zhao Changwen, from the Center for International Knowledge on Development. They write about the new form of human civilization that the Party and the Chinese people have developed. This is broken down into five types of civilizations:
Material civilization: Here they talk about China’s rapid economic development and expansion of material wealth and power, resulting in shifting balance of power from West to East. They argue that the material civilization that China has created depends on people-centred development, “takes meeting people’s needs for a better life as the guide, takes independence as the important principle and develops in harmony with spiritual civilization. It has avoided the violent conflicts among classes, regions and religions as witnessed in the development of some countries, and the ‘middle income trap’ and dependency trap encountered by some developing countries.” It seeks to achieve “higher quality, more efficient, more equitable, more sustainable and secure development.” 我们创造的物质文明，是坚持以人民为中心、以满足人民群众美好生活需要为导向、以独立自主为重要原则、与精神文明协调发展的物质文明。它避免了一些国家发展中出现的阶层、地区、宗教之间的剧烈冲突，避免了一些发展中国家遇到的“中等收入陷阱”、依附性陷阱.
Political civilization: In this they talk about the Party’s leadership of the system. “The form of political civilization created by our Party, led the people, has avoided the disadvantages of western failings of money politics, partisan disputes, political polarisation, discussion without decision, and short-term behaviour; instead, it has ensured that the people manage state affairs, economic and cultural undertakings, and social affairs through various means in accordance according to law, and that the people have the “most extensive and genuine democratic rights” and their historically dominant position is fully respected. 我们党带领人民创造的政治文明形态，避免了西方金钱政治、党派纷争、政治极化、议而不决、短期行为的弊端，保证人民依法通过多种途径和形式管理国家事务、管理经济和文化事业、管理社会事务，拥有最广泛最真实的民主权利，人民历史主体地位得到充分尊重和彰显。
Spiritual civilization: “Our party has insisted on leading cultural development through the socialist core values, paying attention to casting souls using advanced socialist culture, revolutionary culture and Chinese excellent traditional culture. It has extensively carried out publicity and education on socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream, and has formed a socialist ideology with the power to lead and ensure strong cohesion.” 我们党坚持以社会主义核心价值观引领文化建设，注重用社会主义先进文化、革命文化、中华优秀传统文化培根铸魂，广泛开展中国特色社会主义和中国梦宣传教育，形成了具有强大凝聚力和引领力的社会主义意识形态.
Social civilization: This focuses on national security, livelihood and improving governance, particularly building “a social governance system of co-construction, co-governance and sharing, and building a social governance community in which everyone is responsible…”
Ecological civilization: This talks about harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
The second part of the article talks about how these new forms of civilisation have profound significance for China and the world, and how this expands the pathways for everyone to realise the common values of all mankind.
On the international page, we have a very brief report on the Macron-Putin meeting and another report on Iranian side calling for the lifting of sanctions, saying that it hopes the US will return to Vienna ‘with a clear agenda’ on the issue of lifting sanctions against Iran.