Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s April 26, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: Not much really on the front page today. On Friday, Xi Jinping attended the commissioning ceremony of three naval vessels, marking the 72nd PLA Navy Day. Global Times reports the Changzheng 18 was likely a Type 09IV nuclear-powered strategic ballistic missile submarine, the Dalian was likely the country’s third known Type 055 10,000 ton-class destroyer in service, and the Hainan was likely the country’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship.
Today’s PD’s front page carries a report following the commissioning. It’s got comments from naval personnel and people from other forces about combat readiness. But there’s a bit in there about training and troops being equipped to be able to operate the new equipment effectively. It says that:
“At present, they have the ability to operate equipment and control the platform, and the construction of combat effectiveness has achieved initial results. In the future, they will keep up with the pace of naval transformation and construction, and complete the whole course training as soon as possible, so that the country's heavy equipment can form its combat capability at an early date.”
Next, a report on Han Zheng’s inspection tour to Guangdong. The three-day tour, lasting from Friday to Sunday, took Han to the cities of Guangzhou, Shantou and Chaozhou. Xinhua English reports that he “visited an innovation and entrepreneurship incubation base in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, where he talked with young people from Hong Kong and Macao and urged local authorities to improve policies to address their difficulties in housing, education and healthcare. Speaking to researchers at the Guangzhou International Bio Island, Han encouraged them to actively explore technological innovation to make a greater contribution to public health.”
Page 2: Two pieces on the page that I found noteworthy. First, Wang Chen, Politburo member and chairman of the Yan'an Spirit Research Society of China, visited the Beijing Institute of Technology to learn about the promotion of the Yan’an spirit on campus. The story talks about Wang paying respects to a bronze statue of Xu Teli, who was a senior CCP politician and Mao’s teacher. The story throughout talks about Wang emphasising the importance of the “red road of education” and inheriting the red gene of “Yan’an Root, Military Spirit” (延安根, 军工魂). These comments, of course, coincide with discussions on technologies like EVs.
Wang then says that it is important “spread the fire of the Yan’an spirit to the hearts of the majority of young people, inspire young people to do their best, unswervingly, with a high-spirited attitude to the new journey of building a socialist modern country in an all-round way.” To do this, he wants to “take the spirit of Yan’an as an important content of party history learning and education, guide the majority of teachers and students to firm their ideals and beliefs, build the foundation of the spirit, plant patriotic feelings, consciously listen to the Party's words and follow the Party to be firm believers and faithful practitioners of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Next, Shen Changyu, head of the China National Intellectual Property Administration, told a press briefing in Beijing that:
The export value of intellectual property royalties reached $8.68 billion in 2020.
Patent and trademark pledge financing increased from RMB 84.85 billion to RMB 218 billion.
He then talked about the work intended during the 14th FYP period.
First, during this period, the government will prioritise the number of high-value invention patents per 10,000 population as opposed to the number of invention patents per 10,000 population as it had during the previous two plans.
Second, there is a focus on improving the system of intellectual property protection and application.
Third, encourage financial institutions to develop intellectual property pledge financing.
Fourth, strengthen the central government's powers in intellectual property protection.
Fifth, support Hong Kong in building a regional intellectual property trade center.
He further promised that China “will focus on the implementation of a punitive damages system, improve relevant laws and regulations, speed up the legislation of intellectual property rights in new areas, such as artificial intelligence and big data, and improve the guidance mechanism of administrative law enforcement, arbitration, mediation and rights protection assistance system.” Also, the focus will be to optimise the patent subsidy incentive policy and assessment mechanism in order to better protect and encourage high-value patents and expand patent-intensive industries.
Page 4: A few stories to note. First, Huang Kunming, Politburo member and propaganda chief, spoke at the 4th Digital China Summit in Fuzhou.
He said that:
“We should adhere to the strategic support of self-reliance in science and technology, promote open innovation, and stimulate the vitality of all kinds of innovative elements and resources. It is necessary to promote the construction of new infrastructure, promote the deep integration of digital economy and real economy, and create a good digital ecology.”
Second, a report about an activity themed “listen to the party words, feel the party grace, follow the party” held in Fengyang County in Anhui Province. Similar events will be held around the country; so see this as an example of what the new propaganda campaign around the centenary is like. The focus of this exercise was to carry out preaching activities in rural areas, highlighting the Party’s “achievements in the field of ‘agriculture, rural areas and farmers’.”
The piece also adds:
“It is necessary to combine the publicity activities with the centennial celebrations of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the study and education of party history, and the publicity and education activities on the mass theme of ‘Follow the Party forever’, in conjunction with the departments of publicity, online information, agriculture and rural areas and rural revitalization. It is necessary to select propagandists from the grass-roots level to build a high-quality and popular propaganda team of farmers’ ideology. We should make full use of all kinds of media tools, expand the influence of activities and create a good atmosphere of public opinion.”
Third, Mao Zedong’s old residence in Shaoshan, which was undergoing repairs, is now once again opened to the public.
Page 6: Only one story to note. The NSC and CCDI put out their monthly statement, highlighting that China punished (English version) 9,537 officials in March for violating the country's eight-point code on improving Party and government conduct. The officials were involved in 6,504 cases. These include 28 officials at the prefectural level, 460 at the county level, and 5367 at the township level and below. Among the punished officials, 5,855 received disciplinary or administrative penalties for engaging in bureaucratism, formalities for formalities' sake, and hedonism or extravagant practices.
Page 9: On the Theory page, we have a piece by Liu Wei, Chairman of the National Social Security Fund. This isn’t my area, but I am going to do the best I can to understand the arguments. If you have some inputs that I’ve missed or understood incorrectly, please do let me know.
Liu writes that the 14th FYP period is “critical” to deal with the shortcomings of the social security fund system given the challenges of China’s aging population. He says that the 5th Plenary of the 19 th CPC Central Committee proposed improvements in the multi-level social security system, providing a “blueprint” for reform going ahead. It focused on “covering the whole people, coordinating urban and rural areas, being fair, unified and sustainable.” Part of this includes realizing “the coordination of basic old-age insurance and implementing a gradual delay in the statutory retirement age.”
He talks about three pillars of China’s endowment insurance system. The first is basic old-age pension, which is doing better than the other two; the second is enterprise (occupational) annuities; and the third is personal savings and commercial old-age insurance. He then says that as of 2019, China's basic pension insurance fund has a cumulative balance of about 6.28 trillion yuan, and the National Social Security Fund has strategic reserves of more than 2 trillion yuan; but in terms of proportion of GDP, this is not high enough. So going forward, he proposes expansion of all three pillars mentioned above, with focus on accelerating the second and third.
In doing this, he wants to first clarify the “boundaries of the responsibilities” between the central and local governments. He also wants enterprises to “fulfill their social security responsibilities and obligations such as payment according to regulations, and play an active role in the development of supplementary insurance and commercial insurance.”
Going forward, he calls for:
A sustainable and stable mechanism for the enrichment and growth of strategic reserve funds.
A scientific fund risk management and control system. This entails establishing an overseas investment risk prevention and control system to ensure the safety of overseas investment. Improvements in the internal control system, strengthening internal control inspections and internal audits, promoting data standardization, etc.
More efficient and professional management; or as he puts it “explore the establishment of a management system and operational mechanism that are more in line with the laws of market development and the requirements of fund investment and operation. Adhere to the ideas of long-term investment, value investment and responsible investment, adhere to the principles of safety and profitability, and prudently and steadily carry out investment operation management.”