New Ant-Sanctions Law - Rectification Campaign Data - Pursuing 'Self-Revolution' - Hambantota Energy Deal

Here are the stories and pieces from the June 11, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: There are two follow-up reports following Xi’s inspection tour of Qinghai. The first one carries reactions from local officials, researchers and enterprise bosses. They all seem rather enthused. The other one is a retelling of the visit; but this one has much more colour. It carries details about conversations that Xi had with people. So here we see Xi as a detail-oriented, inquisitive, caring and in-command leader. For instance, at one point while going to Qinghai Lake, Xi’s reported to have asked:

“How is the water quality here? How many kinds of birds are there? What happened to the ban on fishing? The general secretary asked very carefully about the ecological environment status and protection of Qinghai Lake.”

Or for instance, when he enters a village in the story, he asks about toilet use and whether people are using tap water and how the wastewater is being treated. Another example is a conversation that Xi has with a local herdsman inside his house. After hearing about his increased income, Xi asks him about future expectations and plans. The herdsman doesn’t know how to answer and just says “no, no more” as everyone chuckles.

He then says “the herders live well, all thanks to the Party’s good policies; heartfelt thanks to the Party, heartfelt thanks to the General Secretary.” “很好啊!”总书记十分欣慰,“下一步,你们生活上还有什么期盼、什么打算吗?” 这么一问,索南才让也不知怎么回答,只是一个劲儿地说:“没有了、没有了.” 大家都笑了起来. “牧民生活好,全靠党的政策好,衷心感谢党、衷心感谢总书记.” 朴实的话语,道出了真挚的心声.

Moving on, we have a report on the NPCSC adopting a bunch of laws. PD tells us that the Data Security Law, Hainan Free Trade Port Law, Military Status and Rights Protection Law, the newly revised Military Facilities Protection Law, the decision to amend the Safe Production Law, the Stamp Duty Law, and the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law were passed. The full text of the anti-foreign sanctions law is available on Page 3.

This is not the official translation, but here are some noteworthy points:

  • Article 3 says: The People’s Republic of China opposes hegemonism and power politics, and opposes any country’s interference in China’s internal affairs under any pretext and in any way. If a foreign country violates international law and basic norms of international relations, uses various excuses or in accordance with its own laws to contain or suppress China, adopt discriminatory restrictive measures against Chinese citizens and organizations, and interfere in China’s internal affairs, China has the right to take corresponding countermeasures.

  • Article 4 says that the State Council has the authority “to include individuals and organizations that directly or indirectly participate in the formulation, decision, and implementation of the discriminatory restrictive measures” in a counter-control list. The next article says that the State Council can also include these individuals’ relatives and related organizations in the list.

  • Article 7 lists out measures that can be taken. These include denial of visa, entry and deportation; sealing, seizing and freezing property in China; prohibiting transactions and cooperations with organisations in China; any other measure deemed necessary. The next two articles make it clear that there is no appealing this decision. But the State Council can modify or cancel the decision “if circumstances change.”

  • Article 12 is also useful to note: No organization or individual may implement or assist in the implementation of discriminatory restrictive measures taken by foreign countries against Chinese citizens and organizations. Where organizations and individuals violate the provisions of the preceding paragraph and infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations, Chinese citizens and organizations may file a lawsuit with the people’s court in accordance with the law, requesting them to stop the infringement and compensate for the losses.

There’s also an interview with the head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPCSC on Page 3, about the law. He says that:

“In recent years, certain Western countries and organizations, unwilling to see, recognize and accept the reality of China's tremendous development and progress, have, out of political manipulation and ideological bias, used various issues and pretexts, such as those related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the pandemic, to make accusations, smear and attack China’s domestic and foreign policies and relevant legislative and legal amendment agendas. They seek to distort, smear, contain and suppress China’s development, and in doing so, they have violated international law and basic norms of international relations by imposing so-called ‘sanctions’ on relevant Chinese state organs, organizations and state employees in accordance with their own laws, and have grossly interfered in China's internal affairs. It must be pointed out that the so-called ‘sanctions’ imposed on China by some western countries and organizations under the guise of safeguarding democracy and human rights are illegal and unreasonable...China has always opposed any country and foreign forces from interfering in China's internal affairs in any way, and against imposing its will on others. China is no longer what it was more than a hundred years ago, and it is no longer easy to bully the Chinese people!” 近年来,某些西方国家和组织不愿看到、不愿承认、不愿接受中国巨大发展进步的现实,出于政治操弄需要和意识形态偏见,利用涉疆涉藏涉港涉台涉海涉疫等各种议题和借口,对中国内外政策和有关立法修法议程横加指责、抹黑、攻击,对中国发展进行歪曲、诋毁、遏制和打压,特别是违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,依据其本国法律对中国有关国家机关、组织和国家工作人员实施所谓“制裁”,粗暴干涉中国内政. 必须指出,某些西方国家和组织打着维护民主、人权等幌子对中国搞的所谓“制裁”,都是非法的、无理的...中国历来反对任何国家和境外势力以任何方式干涉中国内部事务,反对把自己的意志强加于人. 中国早已不是一百多年前的中国,中国人民不是好欺负的!

Here’s more:

“The promulgation and implementation of the law will help counter the containment and suppression of China by some foreign countries and organizations according to law, effectively crack down on the arrogance of overseas anti-China forces and hostile forces, effectively enhance China's ability to deal with external risks and challenges, and accelerate the formation of a systematic and complete system of foreign-related laws and regulations.” 法律的出台和实施,将有利于依法反制一些外国国家和组织对我国的遏制打压,有力打击境外反华势力和敌对势力的嚣张行径,有效提升我国应对外部风险挑战的法治能力,加快形成系统完备的涉外法律法规体系.

He adds:

“The main purpose of enacting the anti-foreign sanctions law is to counter, counter and oppose the so-called ‘unilateral sanctions’ imposed by foreign countries on China, safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations.” 制定反外国制裁法,主要目的是为了反制、反击、反对外国对中国搞的所谓“单边制裁”,维护我国的主权、安全、发展利益,保护我国公民、组织的合法权益.

What’s also fascinating about this exchange is that the last question that PD asks is about the impact of the new law on China’s opening up to the outside world. Interestingly, what we get is a non-answer about how this remains a commitment in regard to long-term planning and how the passage of the Foreign Investment Law in 2019, the law related to the Hainan Free Trade area and the Pudong area are indicators that opening will continue. But this is a non-answer and deflection. Banks and foreign firms should buckle-up; this will not be an easy environment to navigate.

Anyway, back to Page 1, where we have a report (English version) about Wang Yang’s speech in Heilongjiang, where he “stressed the importance of developing border areas and improving local people’s lives.” 

Finally, we have the full guideline on building the eastern province of Zhejiang into a demonstration zone for achieving common prosperity. Xinhua English tells us that “by 2025, Zhejiang should achieve solid progress in building the demonstration zone, with its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) reaching the level of moderately developed economies, while a social structure with a middle-income population as the majority should be generally developed by then.”

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Page 3: I’ve covered the anti-sanctions law bit above; two other reports on the page that I found noteworthy. First, China’s foreign ministry was annoyed that Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga referred to Taiwan as a country. “China is strongly dissatisfied with Japan's wrong remarks and has lodged solemn representations to the Japanese side. We ask Japan to make prompt clarification, remove the severe damage and ensure that such things won't happen again. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The Taiwan question bears on the political foundation of China-Japan relations, the basic trust and good faith between the two countries and the international rule of law and justice,” said Wang Wenbin. 

Second, a short report about China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao speaking to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Thursday. The PD report says that they “exchanged views frankly and pragmatically on relevant issues and mutual concerns in the field of commerce between China and the United States. The two sides stated that dialogue and exchanges in the field of business between China and the United States are very important, and they agreed to promote the healthy development of trade and investment pragmatic cooperation and properly handle differences.”

The US readout says that “Secretary Raimondo discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on economic policies benefiting American workers and expressed U.S. concerns, including China’s unfair and market-distorting industrial policies, the need to level the playing field for U.S. companies in China, and the importance of protecting U.S. technology from unauthorized users.”

Also note that China’s Ministry of Commerce termed the Biden administration’s move of revoking previous executive orders targeting Chinese software applications, including TikTok and WeChat, as a “positive step in the right direction.” This wasn’t covered in PD, but I thought it would be useful to mention. 

Also note this from WSJ’s reporting on the issue:

“The new order doesn’t target any companies specifically, but creates the potential for an even broader crackdown on Chinese-owned apps than the Trump administration orders it replaces by mandating a review of all software applications with potential ties to countries such as China. The Commerce Department was authorized to begin that review immediately, the White House said. The executive order is designed to replace the Trump administration’s approach targeting individual companies with a broader process for reviewing risks posed by foreign-owned apps, according to senior Biden administration officials. The officials say the executive orders signed by former President Donald Trump were effectively unenforceable.”

Also note that the Chinese embassy in the US had a very different reaction to MoC: “China’s U.S. embassy spokesman, Liu Pengyu, said in a statement that China ‘opposes the U.S. abusing its national power under the pretext of national security to suppress and coerce non-American companies.’ ‘We urge the U.S. government to provide an open, fair, just and nondiscriminatory business environment for foreign companies,’ the statement said.”

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Page 6: Chen Yixin and others provided an update on the rectification campaign of the political and legal apparatus in a report on the page. The report says that the campaign at the city and county levels was officially launched on February 27, with nearly 2.7 million political and legal police officers being covered.

“After more than three months of joint efforts by all parties, the education and rectification of the first batch of political and legal teams has progressed smoothly, with obvious results and social approval.” 

Some data points from the campaign:

  • 12,576 police officers across the country took the initiative to surrender to the CCDI.

  • Review and investigation launched targeting 27,364 police officers, who are suspected of violating discipline and law. 1,760 have been detained.

  • 72,312 police officers who violated discipline and law were dealt with. Among these, around 83.5% of the cases involved dishing out criticism, education and admonishment; 13% were given warnings, serious warnings and either suspended or dismissed; 2.1% were either temporarily removed from the party, demoted or expelled from the Party; 1.4% were cases that were transferred to judicial organs for sentencing and penalties.

记者了解到,全国有12576名干警主动向纪委监委投案。立案审查调查涉嫌违纪违法干警27364人,留置1760人。处理处分违纪违法干警72312人,其中第一种形态(谈话提醒、批评教育、责令检查、通报批评、诫勉谈话等)占83.5%,第二种形态(警告记过、严重警告记大过、停职免职等)占13%,第三种形态(撤职、留党察看、降级、开除党籍等)占2.1%,第四种形态(移送司法机关、判处刑罚)占1.4%.

In terms of the kinds of violations that were identified, there’s a list of things like 7,012 cases of illegal business-run enterprises by police officers; 3,278 cases of illegal participation in stocks and loans; and 2,998 cases of illegal participation in business activities by cadres’ spouses, children and their spouses. There are cases of “787 outgoing judges and prosecutors who illegally engaged in the legal profession and acted as ‘judicial brokers’.” 据介绍,截至6月8日,排查认定违反干预司法“三个规定”问题39441件.全国法院系统整改涉及审判执行问题40046件,检察系统整改有罪不究等问题4900件,公安系统整改有案不立等问题75872件. 整改干警违规经商办企业问题7012件、违规参股借贷问题3278件,整改干警配偶、子女及其配偶违规参与经营活动2998件. 依法纠正上世纪90年代以来违规违法“减假暂”案件10279件. 整改处理离任法官检察官违规从事律师职业、充当“司法掮客”787人.

The story also tells us that the 12337 hotline for reporting violations of discipline and law by political and legal officers received 232,000 tip-offs from the masses.

Page 13: The lead piece on the page is by Jiang Hui, member of the Party Leadership Group of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He essentially writes about persisting with “self-revolution” to maintain the Party’s “purity.” He talks about the rectification campaign launched in Yan’an, saying that it led to “a new unity and unification of the whole party was achieved under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core.” 

He then talks about the present-day challenges, quoting Xi Jinping as saying whether the problem of “窑洞对” Yáodòng duì (roughly referring to the cycle of the rise and fall of dynasties in the context of a remark by Mao in 1945, from what I understand.) had not yet been addressed entirely. He then quotes Xi referring to Mao’s comments about never becoming Li Zicheng and persisting in the “two musts.” (Note: Li was a farmer rebel leader who overthrew the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and ruled China for 43 days before he was driven out by the Manchurians. Xi has used this bit in the past to state the Communist Party’s resolve to maintain control.) And for all this, he quotes Xi as saying that the “whole party must use the political courage of self-revolution to work hard. Solve the prominent problems of the party itself.”

So how does one do this? Again here, the author quotes Xi: “General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: ‘It is to dare to carry out a self-revolution, dare to turn the knife’s blade inward, dare to scrape the bones, dare to break the wrist of a strongman, to prevent the disaster from rising.’ Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, is deeply aware of the long-term and complexity of the ‘four major tests’ facing the Party, the sharpness and severity of the ‘four dangers.’ With unprecedented political courage and political determination, it has promoted the comprehensive and strict administration of the party, bravely revolutionizing itself, and maintaining  its vitality forever.” 习近平总书记指出:“就是要敢于进行自我革命,敢于刀刃向内,敢于刮骨疗伤,敢于壮士断腕,防止祸起萧墙。”党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央深刻认识党面临的“四大考验”的长期性和复杂性、“四种危险”的尖锐性和严峻性,以前所未有的政治勇气和政治定力推进全面从严治党,勇于自我革命,永葆生机活力.

Also noteworthy is the assertion that this dynamic of “self-revolution” is what “distinguishes our party from other parties, and it is also the key to our party's continuous transition from victory to new victory.” The author then argues that as China gets closer to the goal of national rejuvenation, this task will get all the more complicated and important. Finally, he talks about blending “internal party supervision and external supervision.” He quotes Xi as saying that cadres “must be evaluated by the masses and tested by practice.” The entire supervision that he outlines includes the following:

  • people’s congress supervision, 

  • democratic supervision, 

  • administrative supervision, 

  • judicial supervision, 

  • audit supervision, 

  • accounting supervision, 

  • statistical supervision, 

  • mass supervision and 

  • public opinion supervision

Inner-party supervision, however, enjoys a “leading role” in this system as per the author. He also recommends that the Party “continue to promote the organic integration and coordination of various supervision systems, and use internal supervision to drive and promote other forms of supervision.”

Page 17: One story on the International page that caught my attention. The Hambantota International Port Group, a joint venture between China and Sri Lanka, signed a strategic cooperation MoU with Sri Lanka Ceylon Petroleum Company in Colombo, announcing the construction of the Sri Lanka Energy Center. The report says that Ceylon Petroleum Company will build oil storage and distribution facilities and a large-scale integrated refinery plant in the port area, aiming to build the port area into the future energy center of Sri Lanka.

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