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Part III: Xi Thought Q&A Series: The Full Collection
40. Emphasising Green Development
We have the 40th piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about Xi’s proposition that “clear waters and green mountains are as good as mountains of gold and silver.” We are told that Xi came up with this vision while serving in Zhejiang in 2005, and today this is a “major principle for advancing modernization.”
As per this vision, economic development need not exhaust natural resources and drain the ecological environment, and environmental protection does not imply abandoning economic development. The metaphor used to argue this is缘木求鱼 yuán mù qiú yú - climbing a tree to seek fish. The piece does prioritise development, repeating Deng Xiaoping’s aphorism that “Development is the last word” 发展是硬道理 - but it does also say that this does not imply thoughtless extraction of resources without considering environmental impact and capacity.
Therefore, the piece says that it is necessary to correctly handle the relationship between economic development and ecological environmental protection. This entails protecting the 金饭碗 - golden rice bowl - of clear waters and lush mountains, make use of natural advantages to develop industries with local characteristics, develop industries keeping in mind local conditions, leverage the value of ecological products, establish a market-oriented and diversified ecological compensation mechanism, explore ways to realize the value of sustainable ecological products, etc.
The next question is linked, in that it talks about why promoting green development and lifestyles is a profound revolution in the concept of development. This emphasises the evolution of approach to consumption, highlighting the need for restraint in order to limit economic activities and people’s behavior as per the limits that natural resources and the environment can withstand. The piece says that:
“China, with a population of 1.4 billion, has achieved modernization, which is unique and unprecedented. To achieve sustainable development, however, it is unsustainable and impossible to follow the old path of the US and Europe, which entails indiscriminate consumption of resources and environmental pollution regardless of the cost.” Therefore, the piece calls for abandoning “the way of development and way of life that kills the goose that lays the golden egg and drains the pond.” Instead, it calls for taking “green development and way of life as the fundamental solution and address ecological and environmental problems at their source.” 14亿人口的中国实现现代化，是绝无仅有、史无前例的。要实现永续发展，如果再走美欧老路，无节制消耗资源，不计代价污染环境，是难以为继的，也是走不通的...与其扬汤止沸不如釜底抽薪，必须坚决摒弃杀鸡取卵、竭泽而渔的发展方式和生活方式，把绿色发展方式和生活方式作为根本之策，从源头上解决生态环境问题.
This is useful to note:
“Green development determines the success of development. Economic development is no longer simply based on GDP growth rate, but in accordance with the requirements of harmonious development between man and nature. In the pursuit of green development and property, we have moved from questions of lack of development to to whether the development is good and now to questions of development quality.” 绿色决定发展的成色，经济发展不再简单以国内生产总值增长率论英雄，而是按照统筹人与自然和谐发展的要求，从“有没有”转向发展“好不好”、质量“高不高”，追求绿色发展繁荣.
In this scenario, what’s needed is “to adjust the economic structure and energy structure, and optimize the national spatial development layout, strengthen energy conservation and environmental protection industries, clean production industries and clean energy industries, form a green economy through the transformation of green technology system, promote ecological industrialization and industrial ecologicalization…” 加快形成绿色发展方式，重点是调整经济结构和能源结构，优化国土空间开发布局，培育壮大节能环保产业、清洁生产产业、清洁能源产业，通过绿色技术体系改造形成绿色经济，推进生态产业化和产业生态化，实现腾笼换鸟、凤凰涅槃.
41. Strict Governance for Beautiful China & the Overall National Security Concept
The 41st piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about the need for the strictest ecological and environmental protection system to build Beautiful China. The answer tells us that “to build an ecological civilization, the key is to formulate rules and regulations.” It says that since the 18th Party Congress “system construction” has been the top priority, with the focus being on institutionalization and rule of law development with regard to environmental work. And over time, a system of institutions for promoting ecological civilisation development has been basically established. However, the “vitality of a system lies in implementation.” While praising the effort in this direction, the piece also promises to “implement the central supervision system for ecological and environmental protection and ensure that all levels of government are responsible for protecting the environment.”
It is necessary to “strictly enforce the principal responsibility of enterprises and the responsibility of government oversight, improve the systems of environmental credit evaluation, mandatory disclosure of information, severe punishment and heavy penalties, etc, and significantly raise the cost of violating laws and regulations, so that those who violate environmental laws and regulations ‘lose more than they gain’ or stand to lose everything.” The last bit here is an idiom: 倾家荡产 - qīng jiā dàng chǎn -- 要严格落实企业主体责任和政府监管责任，健全环保信用评价、信息强制性披露、严惩重罚等制度，大幅提高违法违规成本，让生态环境违法行为人“得不偿失”，乃至“倾家荡产”.
The next paragraph emphasises the responsibility of leading cadres, when it comes to environmental work. “Leading officials at all levels are the primary persons responsible for ecological and environmental protection in their respective administrative regions. They should make arrangements for important work, ask questions about major issues, coordinate key links, and supervise the handling of important cases.” Then the piece rather directly says that:
“It is necessary to establish an evaluation system for ecological progress, implement the strictest possible evaluation and accountability, and use the results of these evaluations as an important basis for rewarding and punishing leading bodies and officials at all levels and for promoting them.” 要建立生态文明建设目标考核制度，实施最严格的考核问责，将考核结果作为各级领导班子、领导干部奖惩和提拔使用的重要依据.
It also warns that those who have “blindly” made decisions disregarding environmental costs and have had serious consequences, these individuals “must not be let go and must be held accountable for the rest of their lives.” -- So I guess, even if you retire, you can face action?
The second question is rather straightforward: Why is national security a top priority? This starts with the pandemic, saying that it has taught everyone a lesson in the importance of biosecurity. We are told that “development is the foundation of security, and security is the condition for development.” The piece tells us that there are obvious linkages between the threats and challenges to China’s national security and social stability, “foreseeable and unforeseeable risk factors are on the rise” and the tasks of safeguarding national security and social stability are increasingly arduous.
The piece says that it is necessary to “have an accurate understanding of the national security situation, firmly establish and earnestly implement the concept of overall national security, integrate security development into all areas and the whole process of China's development, guard against and defuse all risks affecting China's modernization drive, and build a solid national security barrier.” 要准确把握国家安全形势，牢固树立和认真贯彻总体国家安全观，把安全发展贯穿国家发展各领域和全过程，防范和化解影响我国现代化进程的各种风险，筑牢国家安全屏障. -- This is as good a moment as any to share this really excellent article by Tai Ming Cheung in the China Leadership Monitor from September 2020 on the evolution of the Chinese national security state.
The piece then says that when people think of security, they conventionally imagine conflict; however, this is traditional security thinking. In today’s world and in the perspective of the overall national security concept, what matters is the term overall.
This covers “politics, military affairs, land, economy, culture, society, science and technology, network, ecology, resources, nuclear, finance, biology, space, deep sea, polar regions, artificial intelligence, overseas interests, etc.” 总体国家安全观关键在“总体”，突出的是“大安全”理念，涵盖政治、军事、国土、经济、文化、社会、科技、网络、生态、资源、核、金融、生物、太空、深海、极地、人工智能、海外利益等诸多领域，而且随着社会发展不断拓展.
Also, the “overall national security concept emphasizes systematic thinking and approaches. It attaches importance to both development and security, external and internal security, homeland security and the security of the people, traditional and non-traditional security, and self-security and common security.” 总体国家安全观强调的是系统思维和方法，既重视发展问题又重视安全问题，既重视外部安全又重视内部安全，既重视国土安全又重视国民安全，既重视传统安全又重视非传统安全，既重视自身安全又重视共同安全.
Also: “The overall national security concept calls for making political security a top priority, and coordinating national security work in key areas such as political security, homeland security, economic security, social security, cyber security, and scientific and technological security.” 总体国家安全观要求把确保政治安全作为首要任务，统筹推进政治安全、国土安全、经济安全、社会安全、网络安全、科技安全等重点领域国家安全工作, 指明了维护国家安全的主阵地、主战场.
42. Political Security, Black Swans & Grey Rhinos
We have the 42nd piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question asks why is political security the foundation of national security? The response starts with the Arab Spring. It says that while there were a “complex” set of reasons for the Arab Spring, “fragile political security and vulnerability to manipulation and subversion by external forces” were important factors. “The ‘Arab Spring’ has since become the ‘Arab Winter, which not only failed to bring about the ‘democracy and freedom’ that the people hoped for, but led to the fragmentation of sovereignty, social disorder, economic ruin and loss of livelihood for the people. Facts tell us that political security is the foundation of national security. Without political security, national security cannot be discussed.” 今天, “阿拉伯之春”早已变成“阿拉伯之冬”, 不但没有带来民众所希望的“民主自由”, 反而导致主权割裂、社会失序、经济凋敝、民不聊生. 铁一般的事实告诉我们，政治安全是国家安全的根本，离开了政治安全，国家安全就无从谈起.
We are told that as per Xi, “political security concerns the stability of a country’s sovereignty, political power, system and ideology. It is the most fundamental need of a country and the basic condition for the survival and development of all countries. If a country cannot be independent externally and has internal political turmoil, it cannot safeguard its own interests and realise long-term development. The core of political security is regime security and system security. China is a socialist country led by the Communist Party of China, and the most fundamental way to maintain political security is to maintain the Communist Party of China’s leading and ruling position and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. Only by unswervingly safeguarding political security, can we better safeguard national interests and realise the long-term governance of the Party, the long-term stability of the country and ensure that people live and work in peace and with contentment. Political security is vital to the survival of the party and the country. In the body of national security, political security is the heart, and if the heart stops beating, then even the strongest of bodies will lose its vitality.” 习近平总书记指出，政治安全涉及国家主权、政权、制度和意识形态的稳固，是一个国家最根本的需求，是一切国家生存和发展的基础条件。一个国家对外不能独立自主，内部政治动荡，就不可能维护自身利益，就不可能实现长远发展。政治安全的核心是政权安全和制度安全。我国是中国共产党领导的社会主义国家，维护政治安全最根本的就是维护中国共产党的领导和执政地位、维护中国特色社会主义制度。只有坚定不移地维护政治安全，才能更好地保障国家利益，实现党长期执政、国家长治久安和人民安居乐业。政治安全攸关党和国家生死存亡。在国家安全这一肌体中，政治安全是心脏，心脏停止了跳动，再强壮的肌体也会失去生机.
We then engage in some good, old-fashioned Cold War mentality. We are told that since the formation of the PRC, the regime has faced numerous challenges and attempts at containment from “hostile forces”, and “the competition between the two ideologies and systems of socialism and capitalism has never stopped.” 新中国成立以来，社会主义新政权一直处于敌对势力的封锁和遏制之下，社会主义和资本主义两种意识形态和制度的较量从未停止.
We are told that hostile forces have never ceased their attempts to westernise and divide the country; they have have never stopped subverting and sabotaging the Communist Party of China’s leadership and China’s socialist system, and have planned ‘colour revolutions’ in China. 直到现在，各种敌对势力也从来没有停止对我国实施西化、分化战略，从来没有停止对中国共产党领导和我国社会主义制度进行颠覆破坏活动，始终企图在我国策划“颜色革命”.
The piece then quotes Xi as having once wondered, “If a complex situation like a ‘colour revolution’ occurs before our eyes one day, will all our cadres be able to stand up resolutely to defend the Party's leadership and the socialist system?” "如果哪天在我们眼前发生‘颜色革命’那样的复杂局面，我们的干部是不是都能毅然决然站出来捍卫党的领导、捍卫社会主义制度?" Therefore, the piece says that when it comes to matters of political security, “we must always tread on thin ice and remain alert to potential dangers in times of peace. We must never make strategic or subversive mistakes, and we must never be vague or waver.” 在政治安全这个根本性问题上，我们要时刻保持如履薄冰的谨慎，时刻保持居安思危的忧患，绝不能犯战略性、颠覆性错误，绝不能有任何含糊和动摇.
The next paragraph talks about China’s development and successes, arguing that political security was the key to this; this conversation ends by emphasising that “maintaining political security” must be taken as “the primary task to deal with security risks in various fields.” Towards the end, we are told that “at present, China’s overall social and political situation is stable, but political security is facing a very complex situation, and the task of maintaining political security is very arduous.” 当前，我国社会政治大局总体稳定，但政治安全面临的形势十分复杂，维护政治安全的任务十分艰巨. What’s important, therefore, is to be alert and work in a preventative mode. “The wise plan for the future.”
The next question is about the need to be more mindful of potential dangers and guard against risks and challenges, specifically black swan (defined in the piece as a “low probability event that is difficult to predict, but that will likely cause a chain reaction and bring massive negative effects when it occurs”) and gray rhino (defined as an obvious and highly probable event that has been repeatedly ignored and may eventually lead to a major crisis) events. The response quotes Xi as having said once that it is important to respond to “low-probability events with a high probability thinking and firmly guard against systemic risks.” We are told that distress consciousness 忧患意识是 is an “enduring cultural gene” of the Chinese nation, as well as the political quality that is infused into the spirit of the CPC. 忧患意识是中华民族能够生生不息、绵延不绝的文化基因，也是融入中国共产党精神血脉的政治品质. We are told that the CCP “was born, grew and strengthened through hardship. Over the past century, our Party has experienced difficulties and risks rarely seen in the world.” And that Xi has emphasised that this must not be forgotten; and that cadres must be prepared to make ever more arduous efforts and carry out great struggles with many new historical features.
The next bit tells us that “at present and for some time to come, China is still in an important period of strategic opportunities for its development.” But “we also need to recognize that China faces an unprecedented, complex environment in its development, with numerous overlapping problems and prominent risks and challenges. These risks and challenges are multifaceted. Some are domestic, some international; some economic and social; and some come from nature. In particular, we need to recognise that various threats and challenges have a distinct synergistic effect. Various sources of conflicting risks and challenges are intertwined and interact with each other, and sometimes black swans and grey rhinos can come together. If we are inadequately prepared and respond to them, all kinds of risks can be transmitted, superimposed, evolved and escalated. We could then end up facing major threats to our national security, and the process of realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation could be delayed or interrupted.” 当前和今后一个时期，我国发展仍然处于重要战略机遇期。既要看到我国发展总体态势是好的，我们完全有基础、有条件、有能力取得新的伟大胜利，也要看到我国发展面临着前所未有的复杂环境，诸多矛盾问题叠加、风险挑战凸显。这些风险挑战是多方面的，有的来自国内，有的来自国际，有的来自经济社会领域，有的来自自然界。特别是要看到，各种威胁和挑战联动效应明显，各种矛盾风险挑战源、各类矛盾风险挑战点相互交织、相互作用，有时“黑天鹅”、“灰犀牛”还会联袂而至。如果我们防范不及、应对不力，就会导致各种风险传导、叠加、演变、升级，国家安全就可能面临重大威胁，实现中华民族伟大复兴的进程就可能迟滞或被迫中断.
Therefore, it is important to “strengthen the sense of hardship and prepare for danger in times of peace,” ensure “bottom-line thinking,” “prepare for the worst,” identify “thoughtful” solutions. “We should adhere to a systematic approach, balance development and security, be more aware of opportunities and risks, and be better able to defuse risks.” It also says that it is important to “be good at nurturing opportunities in a crisis,” and “establish sound mechanisms for risk assessment” and develop and use “institutional strengths to respond to risks and challenges.”
43. A World-Class PLA & Party's Control Over PLA
We have the 43rd piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question today is about building the PLA into a “world-class” force. We are told that since the 18th Party Congress, the Central Committee with Xi as its core has “made strategic arrangements for adhering to the path of strengthening the army with Chinese characteristics and comprehensively promoting the modernisation of national defense and the armed forces.”
Some of the key attributes of being world-class are being a force that obeys to the party’s command, can win victories and has an excellent work style. The piece talks about the need to “persist in building the armed forces through politics, strengthening the army through reform, science and technology, development of talents and administering the army according to law” along with “accelerating the integration and development of mechanisation, informatization and intelligentization,” while “comprehensively strengthen training and preparing for war.”
We then go back to the October 2014 meeting in Gutian, with the emphasis being on political work in the armed forces. This is termed as the “foundation” and “lifeline.” It says that “over the past few years, the armed forces have adhered to the spirit of rectification to promote political consolidation and training, focusing on the rectification of thought, personnel, organisation and discipline, revitalising the military’s political discipline and purifying its political ecology, thereby realising a new start for a new team on a new journey.” 几年来，全军坚持以整风精神推动政治整训，着力整顿思想、整顿用人、整顿组织、整顿纪律，重振我军政治纲纪、纯正我军政治生态，实现了新征程上的新整队新出发. ---This is perhaps as direct a statement about Xi’s control over the military as any.
And there’s always more to come. For instance: “Practice has shown us that at no time and under no circumstances can we slacken the principle of building the political armed forces, and that our political work can only be strengthened, not weakened.”实践昭示我们，政治建军这一原则在任何时候任何情况下都不能有丝毫松懈，政治工作只能加强不能削弱.
The next paragraph talks about reform and innovation. This goes back to the reforms initiated in November 2015. Back then, we are told, three big battles/campaigns 三大战役 were initiated. These refer to the reforming the leadership and command system, reforming the size, structure and force composition, and reforming the military policy system. The piece talks about the process of moving away from the MR system to building of theatre commands and the shift away from the “long-standing land warfare and homeland defense-oriented force structure and force deployment.” This process, we are told, has resulted in the establishment of a “a basic framework for socialist military policies and institutions with Chinese characteristics.” The paragraph ends by saying “it is necessary to push forward the revolution of military management, speed up the transformation and development of different services and armed police force, strengthen strategic strength 战略力量 and new domain and new quality combat forces 新域新质 作战力量, and build a high-level strategic deterrent and joint operations system.” 要推进军事管理革命，加快军兵种和武警部队转型建设，壮大战略力量和新域新质作战力量，打造高水平战略威慑和联合作战体系.
The next bit is about strengthening the armed forces through science and technology. It says that in recent years, China has built a “national defense science and technology innovation system, making great efforts to break through key core technologies.” So PLA Navy development is highlighted; PLAAF’s is entering the “20s” era, i.e., referring to the use of J-20 and Yun-20 aircraft. In addition, the piece says that it is important to keep up with “the development trend of the new global revolution in military affairs, focus on independent and original innovation in defense science and technology, accelerate the development of strategic cutting-edge and disruptive technologies, accelerate the upgrading of weapons and equipment and the development of intelligent weapons and equipment, significantly improve the level of science and technology in training, and enhance the scientific and technological literacy of officers and soldiers.”
The next paragraph is about talents. It says that since the 18th Party Congress, the party has followed the “strategy of building a strong army through personnel training, giving more prominence to the training of cadres and talents, concentrating on gathering outstanding talents in all aspects who are committed to building a strong army and winning, and promoting the overall improvement of personnel development. It is necessary to implement the policy of military education in the new era, give full play to the integrated role of college education, military training and military vocational education, and build a team of high-quality and professional military personnel to provide strong personnel support for building world-class armed forces.” 党的十八大以来，我军大力实施人才强军战略，把培养干部、培养人才摆在更加突出的位置，着力集聚矢志强军打赢的各方面优秀人才，推动人才建设水平整体跃升。要贯彻新时代军事教育方针，发挥院校教育、部队训练实践、军事职业教育综合育人功能，锻造高素质专业化军事人才方阵，为建设世界一流军队提供坚强人才支撑. -— The lack of any explicit statement about the political integrity of talents was a bit of a surprise for me. But I guess it tells us something about the reality of having an advanced force; one needs skills if one has to operate all the high-tech equipment that’s being developed. Ideology or political loyalty won’t teach those.
The next paragraph tells us that under Xi, there has been an effort to build “a systematic, rigorous and efficient system of military laws and regulations” along with an effort to implement them and enhance supervision. It is necessary to strengthen the armed forces’ belief in and thinking about the rule of law, the piece says. The final paragraph in this answer reiterates key goals of 2027, 2035 and 2049. It also calls to “accelerate the modernization of military theory, organizational structure, military personnel, and weapons and equipment, improve the quality and efficiency of the modernization of national defense and the armed forces…”
The next question is about the importance of the Party’s absolute leadership of the armed forces. We have an old comment from Xi that the “Party’s absolute leadership over the armed forces is an essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, an important political advantage of the Party and the country, and the foundation and soul of building a strong people’s army.” We are told that the Party’s absolute leadership of the PLA “did not come out of thin air”; rather, it was “won at the cost of blood and through arduous exploration.” At the 19th Party Congress, the Party “elevated the party’s absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces as a basic policy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.”
Following this, we are provided a brief description of the two “historic meetings” in Gutian, i.e., the 1929 meeting and the October 2014 meeting. The next paragraph tells us that “upholding the "Party’s absolute leadership over the people's army is a fundamental magic weapon for the party and the country to maintain long-term stability.” The example cited here is of the Soviet Union, wherein efforts to de-politicise the military resulted in the armed forces “standing by idly” as the Party went through its crisis. In contrast, the piece says, while the the PRC has faced efforts to besiege it, contain it, and interference and destruction by hostile forces, it has sustained. This is because of the army being loyal to the Party and the people, the article says.
The next paragraph says that upholding the Party’s leadership is also key to the PLA maintaining “strong cohesion, centripetal force, creativity, and combat effectiveness.” 坚持党对人民军队的绝对领导，是人民军队始终保持强大凝聚力、向心力、创造力、战斗力的根本保证. The answer ends with a call to ensure ideological and political loyalty not just to the Party, the Central Committee and the CMC but also to Xi himself.
44. PLA’s Missions, Taiwan Policy & One Country Two Systems
We have the 44th piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about the mission of the PLA in the new era. The answer begins with referencing the August 2020 drills around Taiwan, which were aimed to “test and enhance the joint combat capabilities of multiple services.” The drills are also termed a “necessary” response to the evolving situation in the Taiwan Strait, with a number of “major powers” “sending wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and posing a serious threat to peace and stability.” Then quickly we transition to broader objectives outlined by Xi, i.e., the “PLA must provide strategic support for consolidating the leadership of the CPC and China’s socialist system, safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, safeguarding China’s overseas interests, and promoting world peace and development.”
The next paragraph talks about political security. It says that if political security is not guaranteed, the country will inevitably fall into a state of fragmentation, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will be out of the question. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, socialism around the world suffered serious challenges. At that time, there were endless arguments with regard to China, and some even predicted that China would change its colour in a few years. But Instead of collapsing, China is thriving, and scientific socialism is full of vigor and vitality in China. The most fundamental reason for this is the strong leadership of the Party and the support of the armed forces.” 如果政治安全得不到保障，国家必然会陷入四分五裂、一盘散沙的局面，中华民族伟大复兴就无从谈起. 苏联解体、东欧剧变后，世界社会主义遭受严重曲折，当时唱衰中国的论调不绝于耳，有人甚至预言中国几年内就会改变颜色。但是中国非但没有垮下去，反而蒸蒸日上，科学社会主义在中国焕发出强大生机活力。这里面最根本的原因，就是有我们党的坚强领导，有我军这个坚强柱石.
The next bit tells us that hostility from foreign forces will not abate despite China’s growing strength. In fact, “the stronger we become, the more they will intensify their infiltration, sabotage and subversion activities.” Therefore, it is important to maintain a strong armed forces and ensure that the PLA remains under the Party’s command. The PLA “must be politically competent, stand firmly under the banner of the Party, and resolutely safeguard the security of state power and system, as well as overall political and social stability.”巩固党的长期执政地位，保证社会主义江山永不变色，我军具有特殊重要的地位和作用，必须在政治上非常过硬，坚定站在党的旗帜下，坚决维护国家政权安全、制度安全，坚决维护政治社会大局稳定.
We are then told that China has a land border of over 22,000 kilometers and a coastline of over 18,000 kilometers. “China is still not fully reunified, and has disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests with many neighbouring countries.” This situation presents a “major risk and challenge.” 大风险挑战. And then this:
“We will do our utmost to strive for peaceful reunification, but we will not commit to renouncing the use of force, and we will resolutely oppose and curb any separatist acts related to ‘Taiwan independence’.” 我们要尽最大努力争取和平统一的前景，但不承诺放弃使用武力，坚决反对和遏制任何“台独”分裂行径. - I guess this is the equivalent of “all options are on the table.”
In addition, the piece promises to “strictly guard against and resolutely crack down on all forms of separatist activities” related to Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. I know this isn’t surprising after the events of the past few years, but it still is remarkable to me that Hong Kong is spoken of in the same vein as Tibet and Xinjiang. How can your policy of integration and assimilation be even remotely successful if you’ve not just added but exacerbated a new flashpoint?
Next, with regard to territorial disputes and maritime issues, the piece talks about stressing on policies and strategies 政策策略, but it says that the armed forces “must be prepared to fight hard battles at any time.” “No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit (苦果) of accepting any undermining of our sovereignty, security and development interests.”
The next paragraph talks about overseas interests. A useful datapoint here:
“By the end of 2019, there were more than 11,000 overseas units of central government enterprises in more than 180 countries and regions, with a total overseas assets of 8.1 trillion yuan. Where national interests develop, security must follow.” 截至2019年底，仅中央企业境外单位就超过1.1万户，分布在180多个国家和地区，境外资产总额达8.1万亿元。国家利益发展到哪里，安全保障就必须跟进到哪里.
The article then talks about threats to thee interests and attacks on Chinese citizens and assets. This, therefore, requires the PLA to develop abilities and capacities to operate across broader domains guaranteeing China’s overseas interests. The next paragraph talks about the task of international peace and development. It mentions peacekeeping operations. But the key point is that the PLA “should adapt to the strategic requirements based on the transformation of the international system and for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” It should also “actively fulfil its responsibilities and obligations commensurate with China’s international standing, and play a greater role in maintaining a peaceful environment internationally and in the neighbourhood.”
The next question is about one country and two systems. We are told that this is an “innovation of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.” Just to explain what this means: It refers to a system in which “within a unified country, the main body of the country practices a socialist system, while some areas practice a capitalist system in accordance with the law.” The piece is complementary to Deng Xiaoping for this “unprecedented” and “pioneering” innovation, and tells us that the system has worked well.
We are then told, using old quotes from Xi, that with changing times, the system must adapt. And that the “root” of one country, two systems is one country. The concept of two systems is “subordinate to” the idea of one country. Or rather, one country is the foundation of the system. Then we are told that:
“The successful implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong and Macao has provided a practical example for resolving the Taiwan question. However, the specific form of implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in Taiwan will fully take into account the realities in Taiwan, fully absorb the views and suggestions of all sectors on both sides of the Straits, and fully accommodate the interests and feelings of Taiwan compatriots.” “一国两制”构想最早是针对台湾问题提出来的，“一国两制”在香港、澳门的成功实践为解决台湾问题提供了实践样本。但“一国两制”在台湾的具体实现形式，会充分考虑台湾现实情况，会充分吸收两岸各界意见和建议，会充分照顾到台湾同胞利益和感情.
45. SARs & Community of Common Destiny
Today, we have the 45th piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about the central government’s relationship with HK and Macao.
We are told that issues related to the two SARs are China’s “internal affairs”and that the “will of the Chinese government and people to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests is as firm as a rock. We will never allow any external force to interfere in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao.”
It says that the central government’s “overall governing power” over HK and Macao is a “constitutional power.” And this comprehensive governance is the foundation for providing autonomy to the SARs.
“The high degree of autonomy is neither complete autonomy nor decentralization, but the right to manage local affairs granted by the central government. The SAR enjoys as much power as the central government grants, and there is no so-called ‘residual power’. The central government has the power to supervise the exercise of the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR and to correct violations of the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law in accordance with the law.” 高度自治不是完全自治，也不是分权，而是中央授予的地方事务管理权。中央授予多少权力，特别行政区就享有多少权力，不存在所谓“剩余权力”. 中央有权对特别行政区高度自治权行使情况进行监督，有权依法对违反“一国两制”和基本法的行为予以纠正. It adds that under no circumstances should the SAR “undermine China's sovereignty and power of overall governance.”
The next bit says that in recent years, some people have advocated theories like 固有权力 - inherent power and 自主权力 - autonomous power with the aim of undermining the central government’s authority. In 2019, “there were numerous illegal activities such as ‘Hong Kong independence’, violence and terrorism, and some foreign forces blatantly and wantonly meddled in Hong Kong affairs, posing grave threats to China's sovereignty and security.” This coupled with delay in the framing of a law under Article 23 of the Basic Law, led to the central government acting to implement the NSL.
The next paragraph makes certain commitments, such as:
“improving the system whereby the chief executive of the HKSAR is accountable to the central government, and supporting the chief executive and the government of the HKSAR in governing the region in accordance with law.
improving the mechanism by which Hong Kong and Macao integrate themselves into China’s overall development.”
strengthening education in Hong Kong and Macao, especially among public officials and youth people, about the Constitution and basic laws, on China's national conditions, and on Chinese history and culture. The aim is to “enhance the national consciousness and patriotism of our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao.”
guarding against and deterring “external forces from interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao and engaging in separatist, subversive, infiltration and sabotage activities.”
The next question is about building a community with a shared future for mankind. We are told that this “is an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy” and “an important ideological and theoretical contribution of contemporary China to the world.” So what does this mean? Here are the key features that the piece outlines. This concept means:
That the “destiny of every nation and country is closely linked”
“Upholding dialogue and consultation and building a world of lasting peace.”
Developing “universal security through joint contribution and shared benefits”
Pursuing “win-win cooperation and building a world of common prosperity”
Building an “open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning”
Building “a clean and beautiful world with green and low-carbon development”
We are then told that this concept conforms to the trend of history, which “moves forward according to its own law.” Today, we are told that “the tide of economic globalization is rolling forward; a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation are gaining momentum. The global governance system is being profoundly reshaped. The international landscape is evolving at a faster pace. All countries are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. Peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes have become the trend of the times. The world cannot return to isolation, still less can it be deliberately divided. An integrated world is out there, and whoever rejects it, the world will reject them. Only by following the trend of history and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind can countries achieve common development and prosperity.” 当今时代，经济全球化大潮滚滚向前，新一轮科技革命和产业变革深入发展，全球治理体系深刻重塑，国际格局加速演变，和平发展大势不可逆转。人类交往的世界性比过去任何时候都更深入、更广泛，各国相互联系和彼此依存比过去任何时候都更频繁、更紧密，和平、发展、合作、共赢已成为时代潮流。世界退不回彼此封闭孤立的状态，更不可能被人为割裂。一体化的世界就在那儿，谁拒绝这个世界，这个世界也会拒绝他。世界各国只有顺应历史大势，推动构建人类命运共同体，才能实现共同发展、共享繁荣.
The next paragraph is about how the world today is undergoing unprecedented changes and facing new challenges; for instance, “unilateralism, protectionism and bullying” are on the rise, among other challenges. Also, it says that the pandemic “has accelerated the adjustment of the international structure.” This requires countries to work together and not follow “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies. It’s really difficult to take any of this seriously. The following paragraph talks about what China has done in this regard. It mentions BRI, AIIB, the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, the Import Expo, the Asian civilisations dialogue, etc. It ends by saying “China will do well only when the world does well. When China does well, the world will do better.” 世界好，中国才能好；中国好，世界才更好.
46. Hegemony & Major Power Diplomacy
We have the 46th piece in the Xi Thought series today. The first question is about why China will never seek hegemony. This begins by saying that as China’s power has grown, there have been those who worry about whether China, now a “big guy” 大块头 will behave. Some, of course, have “fabricated” the China Threat theory for “ulterior motives.” But, the piece tells us, Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that it is not a historical law that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony. The Chinese people do not accept this logic that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony. 对此，习近平总书记一再强调，“国强必霸” 不是历史定律，中国人民不接受“国强必霸”的逻辑.
We then get the tired cliche that being peace-loving is a part of the Chinese people’s cultural DNA. We are told that in modern times, the “Chinese people have been subjected to aggression, humiliation and pillage by foreign powers” but instead of drawing lessons from this experience about the law of the jungle, the Chinese people rather strengthened their determination to maintain peace. “Because we have experienced war, we know how to cherish peace more,” the piece says.
The author then says that “China cannot develop without a peaceful international environment. China needs peace, just as people need air, just as everything needs sunshine to grow. We must have a peaceful international environment if we want to continue to realize the goal of the second century and realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” We are told, through a Xi quote, that this talk of peace is not “an expedient measure” or “diplomatic rhetoric;” rather it is “a conclusion drawn from the objective judgment of history, reality and future.” 中国发展离不开和平的国际环境。中国需要和平，就像人需要空气一样，就像万物生长需要阳光一样。我们要接续实现第二个百年奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦，必须有和平的国际环境。只有坚持走和平发展道路，只有同世界各国一道维护世界和平，中国才能实现自己的目标，才能为世界作出更大贡献。习近平总书记指出：“中国走和平发展道路，不是权宜之计，更不是外交辞令，而是从历史、现实、未来的客观判断中得出的结论，是思想自信和实践自觉的有机统一。和平发展道路对中国有利、对世界有利，我们想不出有任何理由不坚持这条被实践证明是走得通的道路.”
The next paragraph tells us that
“Today's world is a multi-polar world, and the international balance of power is developing in a direction conducive to maintaining world peace. It is impossible for any country to try to dominate the world once was the case; such an effort is bound to be resolutely opposed by people all over the world. In today’s world, the old path of colonialism and hegemonism can no longer be taken, and only the path of peaceful development can work. One cannot have the body enter the 21st century, while the mind still lives in the past -- in the old era of colonial expansion, in the old frame of Cold War mentality and Zero-sum games. No country has the right to dominate international affairs, dictate the destiny of other countries or monopolize the advantages of development, still less should it go its own way and engage in bullying and hegemony.” 今天的世界是一个多极化的世界，国际力量对比朝着有利于维护世界和平的方向发展，任何国家试图像以往那样称王称霸、唯我独尊已经不可能了，必将遭到世界各国人民的坚决反对。当今世界，殖民主义、霸权主义的老路是走不通的，只有和平发展道路可以走得通。不能身体已进入21世纪，而脑袋还停留在过去，停留在殖民扩张的旧时代里，停留在冷战思维、零和博弈的老框框内。任何国家都没有包揽国际事务、主宰他国命运、垄断发展优势的权力，更不能在世界上我行我素，搞霸权、霸凌、霸道.
We then get a list of China’s contributions, such as BRI, peacekeeping operations and statements like these: “China follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature and does not engage in arms race or pose a military threat to any country.”
The last paragraph says:
“China will firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, respect the right of people of all countries to independently choose their development paths, uphold international fairness and justice, and oppose imposing one’s own will on others, interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, and bullying the weak. China’s development poses no threat to any country, nor will it pursue its own development at the expense of other countries’ interests. At the same time, China will never give up its legitimate rights and interests, and no one should harbour any illusions that China will swallow the bitter fruit that harms its own interests.” 中国将坚定奉行独立自主的和平外交政策，尊重各国人民自主选择发展道路的权利，维护国际公平正义，反对把自己的意志强加于人，反对干涉别国内政，反对以强凌弱。中国发展不对任何国家构成威胁，也决不会以牺牲别国利益为代价来发展自己，同时，我们决不放弃自己的正当权益，任何人不要幻想让中国吞下损害自身利益的苦果.
Thinking aloud here: “To me, this response is rather telling in that Beijing still struggles to tell the world what China’s growing power will entail. Much of the discourse is about what China will not be. In doing this, it tends to identify the problematic elements of Pax Americana to tell us that this is what China will not do. But this doesn’t tell us what sort of an order does China evision? While saying this, I also wonder if the inability to present a coherent vision is also a reflection of a sense of capacity limitations.”
Anyway, the next question is about major-country diplomacy and building a “circle of friends.” The response begins by saying that “we need to focus on our neighbors and major countries,” “take developing countries as the basis” and “take multilateralism as the platform.” One should see the structuring of the piece as reflective of diplomatic priorities too.
The piece says that as per Xi, “major-country relations bear special responsibilities for global strategic stability.” In this context, the China-Russia relationship comes in for praise. “The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era is mature, stable and solid. It is a relationship between major countries with the highest level of mutual trust, coordination and strategic value. We need to firmly support each other in upholding core interests, deepen cooperation across the board, actively participate in global governance, and safeguard world peace, security and stability.”
Next, we focus on the China-US relationship. This repeats that standard line that there is a lot to be gained by working together, and that this is “one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.” But “in recent years, some American politicians have publicly declared that they view China as their main strategic competitor, and have adopted a series of wrong words and actions that have interfered in China’s internal affairs, harmed China’s interests and seriously damaged Sino-US relations, resulting in a rare, severe and complicated situation in the relations between the two countries. China’s policy toward the United States is consistent and clear. We are committed to developing a relationship of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the US, and will firmly defend the interests of national sovereignty and security development.”
On the EU, we are told that “China and the EU should be two major forces for global peace and stability, two major markets for global development and prosperity, and two civilizations for multilateralism and improved global governance.” 大国之间和睦才能世界和平，大国相互合作才有全球发展。习近平总书记指出，大国关系事关全球战略稳定，大国肩上都承担着特殊责任。要推进大国协调和合作，构建总体稳定、均衡发展的大国关系框架。中俄新时代全面战略协作伙伴关系成熟、稳定、牢固，是互信程度最高、协作水平最高、战略价值最高的一对大国关系。要始终坚定支持对方维护核心利益，深入开展各领域合作，共同积极参与全球治理，维护世界和平、安全、稳定。中美关系是世界上最重要的双边关系之一。中美两国合则两利、斗则俱伤。中美合作可以办成有利于两国和世界的大事，中美对抗对两国和世界都是灾难。近年来，美国一些政客公开宣称以我国为主要战略竞争对手，采取一系列干涉中国内政、损害中国利益、严重破坏中美关系的错误言行，导致两国关系出现少有的严峻复杂局面。中方对美政策是一贯、明确的。我们致力于同美方发展不冲突不对抗、相互尊重、合作共赢的关系，同时将坚定捍卫国家主权安全发展利益。欧洲是多极化世界的重要一极，是中国的全面战略伙伴。中欧要做维护全球和平稳定的两大力量，推动全球发展繁荣的两大市场，坚持多边主义、完善全球治理的两大文明，共同打造中欧和平、增长、改革、文明四大伙伴关系，提升中欧全面战略伙伴关系的全球影响力.
After major powers, we go to neighbours. Diplomacy in the periphery is driven by “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness,” we are told. The piece says that “China has always placed its neighborhood at the top of its diplomatic agenda and taken it as its mission to promote peace, stability and development in its neighborhood.” -- So I guess, this is a reaffirmation that Beijing will be much more active and interventionist in the neighbourhood, which includes ties with Japan, the Korean Peninsula, ASEAN, Central Asia and South Asia. There’s a carrot for all these neighbours: They are all welcomed to “hitch a ride” on the “express train” that is China’s economic development “so that everyone can live a good life together.” 中国欢迎周边国家搭乘中国发展“快车”、“便车”，让中国发展成果更多惠及周边，让大家一起过上好日子.
The next bit is about developing countries. Of course, the piece tells us that China is the world’s largest developing country. And then it talks about ties with African states, Latin American and Caribbean states and Arab states. The last paragraph is about international institutions and multilateralism.
It says that “international affairs should be handled through dialogue and consultation and the future of the world should be in the hands of all countries. This is the essence of multilateralism. China has actively advocated and practiced multilateralism and unswervingly upheld the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law…” The piece talks about how China has worked to “increase the representation of the developing countries in the UN” and supported the “reasonable and necessary reform of the UN Security Council to make the UN reflect the interests and wishes of most countries in a more balanced manner.” --- Call me a biased Indian, but this is humbug. Anyway, the other multilateral platforms mentioned in the piece are the G20, APEC, BRICS and SCO.
47. BRI & Emphasising Importance of Party Leadership
We have the 47th piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about BRI and why it is a Garden of Hundred Flowers (百花园). Basically, this is about how BRI is not just about China’s development but global development and prosperity of all countries. After a lot of old Silk Road talk, we get this:
BRI “conforms to the historical trend of economic globalization, the requirements of the times of the reform of the global governance system, and the strong desire of people of all countries to live a better life. It is a right choice for the future.” 这一倡议顺应经济全球化的历史潮流，顺应全球治理体系变革的时代要求，顺应各国人民过上更好日子的强烈愿望，是面向未来的正确抉择.
We are told that BRI works on the principles of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.” The piece reiterates key components of BRI, which is important for people to keep in mind. This is not just about infrastructure, although infrastructure is a critical component.
“The initiative aims to promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and closer people-to-people ties. Its core purpose is to promote infrastructure development and connectivity, strengthen coordination of economic policies and synergy of development strategies, promote coordinated and interconnected development, and achieve common prosperity.” -- 这一倡议致力于推动政策沟通、设施联通、贸易畅通、资金融通、民心相通，其核心内涵是促进基础设施建设和互联互通，加强经济政策协调和发展战略对接，促进协同联动发展，实现共同繁荣.
Towards the end of the piece, we see an attempt to push back against the criticism of BRI. It says that BRI “has brought tangible benefits to all participants and has been recognized and welcomed by more and more countries and regions. However, there are some discordant voices in the international community, some have falsely called it the ‘Chinese version of the Marshall Plan’, and some have smeared it as ‘neo-colonialism’. Facts can't be distorted, and justice shall prevail. Although the Belt and Road Initiative originated in China, its opportunities and outcomes belong to the world. The Belt and Road Initiative is an economic cooperation initiative, not a geopolitical or military alliance. It does not target or exclude anyone. It is an open and inclusive process, not a closed-door clique or a ‘China club’. It is a sunlit pathway for China to share opportunities and seek common development with the rest of the world. It is not a trap. It does not demarcate by ideology or engage in zero-sum games…” 共建“一带一路”，让所有参与方获得了实实在在的好处，受到越来越多国家和地区的认同和欢迎。但国际上也出现了一些杂音，有的妄称这是“中国版马歇尔计划”，也有的将其抹黑为“新殖民主义”。事实不容扭曲，公道自在人心。“一带一路”倡议虽然源于中国，但机会和成果属于世界。“一带一路”是经济合作倡议，不是搞地缘政治联盟或军事同盟，不针对谁也不排除谁；是开放包容进程，不是要关起门来搞小圈子或者“中国俱乐部”；是中国同世界共享机遇、共谋发展的阳光大道，不是这样那样的所谓“陷阱”，不以意识形态划界，不搞零和游戏.
The next question is about why is CCP leadership the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics? This reiterates the Party’s historical narrative and says that CCP leadership is “the fundamental guarantee” for doing the party and the country’s work well. Without this, “political stability, economic development, national unity, and social stability” will all be damaged. This is the key point that the next few paragraphs elaborate. We are told that:
“Marxism holds that socialized mass production will inevitably lead to the transformation of the means of production into social ownership and lay a material foundation for the arrival of socialism. At the same time, it will inevitably lead the proletariat to form its own party organization-the Communist Party, which will provide political guarantee for the realization of socialism. In other words, socialism is the lofty cause of the Communist Party, and the establishment, improvement and consolidation of the socialist system cannot be separated from the leadership of the Communist Party.” 马克思主义认为，社会化大生产必然导致生产资料转变为社会所有，为社会主义的到来奠定物质基础；同时，也必然导致无产阶级结成自己的政党组织——共产党，为社会主义的实现提供政治保证。也就是说，社会主义是共产党的崇高事业，社会主义制度的建立、完善和巩固都离不开共产党的领导.
Then, we are told that:
“In today’s China, the Party, the government, the military and the people - east, west, north and south - the Party leads everything, and there is no political force greater than the CPC. In the various undertakings related of reform, development and stability, internal affairs, foreign affairs and national defense, and governance of the Party, state and military, the CPC has always been at the core of commanding the overall situation and coordinating the efforts of all parties...General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, ‘We must recognize that the biggest national condition of China is the leadership of the Communist Party of China. What is Chinese characteristics? This is Chinese characteristics’.” 当今中国，党政军民学，东西南北中，党是领导一切的，没有大于中国共产党的政治力量或其他什么力量。在改革发展稳定、内政外交国防、治党治国治军各项事业中，我们党始终处于总揽全局、协调各方的核心统领地位...习近平总书记指出: ”一定要认清，中国最大的国情就是中国共产党的领导。什么是中国特色？这就是中国特色.”
The next paragraph argues that CCP leadership “is the greatest strength of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. The advantages of the system are reflected in the attributes of the system. The reason why the Chinese system ‘works’ is that the Party’s leadership is the most decisive and creative factor in the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. Among the 13 significant advantages of our national system and national governance system (anyone has a list of these 13?), the first one is the advantage of adhering to the centralized and unified leadership of the Party and ensuring that the country always advances along the socialist direction. This advantage is a fundamental advantage, and has an overarching significance, running through the other significant advantages, which are closely related to the party's leadership system and cannot be separated from the fundamental guarantee of the Party's leadership.” 党的领导这个最本质特征，体现在党的领导是中国特色社会主义制度的最大优势。制度优势反映制度属性，中国制度之所以“行”，是因为党的领导在中国特色社会主义制度中是最具统领性决定性创造性的因素。在我国国家制度和国家治理体系13个方面显著优势中，第一位的是坚持党的集中统一领导、确保国家始终沿着社会主义方向前进的优势。这一优势是带有统领性的根本优势，贯穿于其他方面显著优势中，同时其他方面的显著优势都同党的领导制度密切相关，都离不开党的领导这一优势的根本保证
It adds that only by ensuring Party leadership, can one “ensure the stability and continuity of major policies, better leverage the significant strengths of China's state system and governance system in all areas, and better advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 只有坚持党的领导，才能有效协调党和国家事业各领域重大关系，确保大政方针的稳定性和持续性，更好发挥我国国家制度和国家治理体系各方面的显著优势，更好推进中国特色社会主义事业不断向前发展。
Then there’s a comparison drawn with the West, which has witnessed “chaos, political strife, social disintegration, racial discrimination.” In contrast, China has experienced economic stability, social stability and rising living standards. The author ends this bit by saying that “adhering to the Party's leadership” is the secret of the “governance of China.” The last couple of paragraphs reiterate the points while saying that Party leadership is key to the goal of national rejuvenation.
49. Party is Mìng Mén; Xi’s Rule Unlike Mao’s; & Constituents of Party Leadership System
We have the 48th piece in the Xi Jinping Thought Q&A series. The first question is about the Party leading everything. We are told that on October 1, as the Chinese flag rose up, the four small stars that form a ring around the big star, symbolised millions of people gathering around the Communist Party of China. From here, we are told that the Party leads everything, and Party leadership is the “fundamental” aspect and “lifeblood” of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Also, the interests and happiness of the people of all ethnic groups in China lie in ensuring that the Party exercises leadership over all work. Also, when it comes to the system of governance and the state, the Party is the Gate of Life - 命门 mìng mén.
Then we are told that the Party’s leadership is not something that’s self-appointed, rather it is a product of the nature of the Party, a choice of history and the people, and it is explicitly stipulated in China’s constitution. -- This is a fascinating explanation. It says that in part the Party leads because it is by nature the vanguard of the working class, Chinese citizens and Chinese nation. In other words, it is because of a certain inherent quality. The next but says that the leadership is also a product of historical evolution of society (a certain inevitability about this argument) and popular legitimacy. The third bit says that it enjoys an institutionalised, legal basis through the constitution.
In the next paragraph, we get a quote from Xi Jinping about the nature of the system. It talks about governance being akin to a game of chess. The CPC Central Committee is the commander in charge while chariots, horses, and cannon each have their respective roles. 习近平总书记鲜明指出：“在国家治理体系的大棋局中，党中央是坐镇中军帐的‘帅’，车马炮各展其长，一盘棋大局分明. And just like this, under the Central Committee’s leadership, the Party, the government, the army, the people and academia should each perform their respective functions and responsibilities while coordinating with each other.
Then, the piece emphatically informs us about the Party-government relationship. It says that “irrespective of the adjustments we have made to the relationship between the party and the government, one thing remains unchanged, that is, upholding the leadership of the party. To handle the party-government relations well, we must first uphold the party's leadership. Under this premise, each entity has its own division of labor, and no matter how this is done, the starting point and goal is to uphold and improve the leadership of the Party.” 党政关系既是重大理论问题，也是重大实践问题。改革开放以来，无论我们对党政关系进行了怎样的调整，但有一条是不变的，就是坚持党的领导。处理好党政关系，首先要坚持党的领导，在这个大前提下才是各有分工，而且无论怎么分工，出发点和落脚点都是坚持和完善党的领导.
The next paragraph is really interesting too, and I guess this is aimed to address some of the issues around the notion of Xi emulating Mao, personality cult and revival of the Cultural Revolution. There’s also a serious indictment of the Jiang and Hu eras here.
“On the issue of upholding and strengthening the overall leadership of the Party, some people simply equate it with the unified leadership of the Party in the past, which is an incorrect understanding. The unified leadership of the Party is a leadership system that was formed during the Anti-Japanese War. At that time, the base areas were divided for a long time. In order to adapt to the harsh war environment, the Party needed to exercise unified leadership over the army, the government and the people, which played an important role in unifying the ideological will of the whole Party, effectively concentrating various resources, promoting the development of revolutionary base areas, and finally winning the Chinese revolution. However, in the later planned economy period, under the influence of erroneous ‘Leftist’ ideas and the imperfections of democratic and legal systems, power was excessively concentrated; there was no distinction between government and enterprises, government and political affairs, and government and society, resulting in ‘paternalism’ (家长制 -- Jiāzhǎngzhì) and 一言堂 (yīyántáng - implying undemocratic/arbitrary style of functioning). The unified leadership of the Party was extreme and dogmatic, which seriously damaged the cause of the Party and the country. Since the reform and opening up, we have deepened our understanding of the laws governing the Communist Party. Especially after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in view of the neglect, dilution and weakening of the Party’s leadership for a period of time, our Party proposed to uphold and strengthen the overall leadership of the Party, which is both related to and different from the unified leadership of the past. The overall leadership of the Party not only adheres to the principle of centralized and unified leadership of the Party and the fact that the Party is the highest force for political leadership, but also upholds democratic centralism, promotes intra-Party democracy, and ensures the organic unity between Party leadership and the position of the people as masters of the country and law-based governance.” 在坚持和加强党的全面领导问题上，一些人把它与过去党的一元化领导简单等同起来，这种认识是错误的。党的一元化领导是抗战时期开始形成的领导制度，当时各根据地长期被分割，为了适应严酷的战争环境，需要党对军、政、民实施统一领导，这对于统一全党的思想意志、有效集中各种资源、推动革命根据地发展，最终取得中国革命的胜利发挥了重要作用。但后来计划经济时期，在“左”的错误思想影响下，加之民主与法制不健全，导致权力过分集中，政企不分、政事不分、政社不分，出现“家长制”、“一言堂”，党的一元化领导被极端化和教条化，给党和国家事业带来严重破坏。改革开放以来，我们不断深化对共产党执政规律的认识，特别是党的十八大以后，针对一段时期党的领导被忽视、淡化、弱化的状况，我们党提出坚持和加强党的全面领导，这与过去的一元化领导既有联系又有不同。党的全面领导既坚持党的集中统一领导原则，坚持党是最高政治领导力量，又坚持民主集中制、发扬党内民主，坚持党的领导与人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一.
The next paragraph says that strengthening the Party’s leadership “over all work is not an empty or abstract requirement, but must be implemented...it has to be reflected in terms of “scientific theory, correct line, principles and policies, the Party’s ruling ability and leadership capacity, political judgment, political understanding and political execution, as well as the Party’s strict organizational system and strong organizational ability. It talks about how measures have been adopted since the 18th Party Congress to “reverse the weakening of the Party’s leadership and address the lack of Party building” but there are still many obstacles to the implementation of Party leadership, particularly at the grassroots level.
We are then told that “upholding and strengthening the overall leadership of the Party bears on the future and destiny of the Party...we must never make subversive mistakes on this issue.” 历史和现实充分表明，坚持和加强党的全面领导，关系党和国家前途命运，我们的全部事业都建立在这个基础之上，在这个问题上决不能犯颠覆性错误.
The next question is about the Party leadership system being China’s fundamental leadership system. 党的领导制度是我国的根本领导制度. The piece does a quick historical sweep. We get to the 6th Plenary of the 18th Central Committee, which anointed Xi Jinping as the core and “established relevant systems to resolutely safeguard the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee.” Then the “4th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee further defined the Party's leadership system as the fundamental leadership system, emphasizing the need to uphold and improve the Party's leadership system, which is a major achievement of the unity of theoretical innovation, practical innovation and institutional innovation.”
The next paragraph makes the following declaration:
“We will improve various systems for firmly safeguarding the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee, ensure that General Secretary Xi Jinping's position as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the entire Party are fully implemented, and make clear the highest principles that this system must adhere to.” 完善坚定维护党中央权威和集中统一领导的各项制度，坚决把维护习近平总书记党中央的核心、全党的核心地位落到实处，明确这一制度体系必须坚持的最高原则...
But more broadly the paragraph talks about six interconnected aspects that ensure the Party leadership system. These are summarised as:
First, the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee
Second, Xi’s core position
Third, Party’s leading role in various organizations
Fourth, the system of governing for the people and by the people, the class foundation that supports the Party’s governance and the Party’s mass foundation.
Fifth, Party’s governance capacity
Sixth, strict governance of the Party and Party building
We are then told that the Party leadership system is the “root” and “source” of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and the “heart” and “engine” of the modernization of the national governance system and capacity.
49. Why Xi Deserves to be the ‘Core’ & Two Safeguards
We have the 49th Xi Thought Q&A piece today. The first question talks about how one should understand the need to resolutely safeguard Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the entire Party.
We begin with Mao’s quote about a peach having just one core. And then quickly we are told that Xi was given the position of the core at the 6th plenary of the 18th CC. This was not just the “common choice, solemn choice and inevitable choice of history and people” but it actually is “a blessing/good fortune of the Party and the country, a blessing for the people, and a blessing for the Chinese nation.” 是党和国家之幸、人民之幸、中华民族之幸.
The next paragraph tells us that having a strong leadership core has been a “necessary factor for the victory of the international communist movement and Marxist parties of various countries.” In fact, having a strong leadership core is an “important sign of the maturity of the proletarian party.” We are told about Mao and the Zunyi Conference and then we are told about Deng during the reform and opening up era. We get a repeat of Deng’s quote: “A collective leadership must have a core; a leadership without a core is unreliable.” Also we are told: “Only when the entire Party has a core, can the Party Central Committee have authority and power. Without the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the entire Party, there will be no authority and centralized leadership of the Party Central Committee.”
The next paragraph talks about the current scenario. So there are two overall situations to keep in mind, i.e., China’s national rejuvenation and the “major changes unseen in a century” that are taking place around the world. In this situation,
“We urgently need a leader who can answer the questions of the times and the people, open up a new horizon for adapting Marxism to China, and guide the way forward for the whole Party and all of the people. There is an urgent need for a leader who can discern the vicissitudes of the times, distinguish between right and wrong, face up to the tempests, and lead the whole Party and people in a great struggle; there is an urgent need for a commander-in-chief who can coordinate the overall cause of the Party and the country, lead the great endeavor of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, advance the realization of the two centenary Goals, and pool the boundless strength of the Party and people. It is in this call of the times, the choice of history, the expectations of the people and the forging of practice that General Secretary Xi Jinping deservedly became the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the whole Party.
The next paragraph tells us that Xi is the founder of Xi Thought and in coming up with this thought he has demonstrated “extraordinary theoretical courage, outstanding political wisdom, and strong sense of mission of a Marxist politician, thinker, and strategist, has made a series of major scientific judgments in response to the changing times...” Xi Thought today is “like a towering beacon, illuminating our journey forward and guiding the great ship that is China to the bright shore of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 这一思想如同耸立的灯塔，照亮我们前行的征途，指引“中国号”巨轮不断驶向中华民族伟大复兴的光明彼岸.
The next paragraph tells us what all Xi has personally taken charge of and succeeded at since the 18th Party Congress. This includes poverty alleviation, comprehensively deepening reform, improving the governance system, swatting flies, fighting tigers and hunting foxes, armed forces reform, BRI, etc. It ends by saying that with Xi in charge, “there is the leader of the officers and entrepreneurs, the backbone of unity and struggle” as the country embarks on a new Long March.
The following paragraph again emphasises poverty alleviation as an endeavour led by Xi. It then talks about how Xi “personally led China’s response to economic and trade frictions with the United States, effectively safeguarding China’s sovereignty, dignity and core interests, and demonstrating the leadership and fighting skills of a leader of a great party and great country.” 亲自领导应对中美经贸摩擦，有力维护了我国主权、尊严、核心利益，展现了一个大党大国领袖运筹帷幄、指挥若定的领导水平和斗争艺术... It also talks about Xi’s personal command over the pandemic control situation.
In doing all of this, Xi has “demonstrated the noble character of a true Marxist and created a glorious image of contemporary Chinese Communists.” 习近平总书记干在实处、走在前列，立言立行、说到做到，彰显了真正的马克思主义者的高尚人格，立起了当代中国共产党人的光辉形象. The last paragraph, therefore, calls on all comrades to unswervingly and resolutely support Xi’s core position and implement Xi Thought. They must enhance “ideological consciousness, political consciousness and action consciousness of maintaining General Secretary Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole party, through this demonstrate their sincere affection for the core, ideological identification with the core, absolute maintenance of the core politically, and they should consciously obey the core organizationally and closely follow the core in action.” 要从历史和现实、理论和实践、国内和国际的结合上深刻认识、强化认同，不断增强维护习近平总书记党中央的核心、全党的核心的思想自觉、政治自觉、行动自觉，做到情感上衷心爱戴核心、思想上高度认同核心、政治上绝对维护核心、组织上自觉服从核心、行动上紧紧跟随核心.
The next question is related; it’s about the need to resolutely uphold the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee. The first few paragraphs stress on why this is important. We get a quote from Xi at the end to emphasise this: "If the Party Central Committee does not have the authority, the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies cannot be implemented. Everyone will go their own way, doing whatever they want, and doing nothing if they do not want to do something. The Party will become fragmented, and it will become a ‘private club’, and the leadership of the Party will become meaningless.” 习近平总书记深刻指出：“如果党中央没有权威，党的理论和路线方针政策可以随意不执行，大家各自为政、各行其是，想干什么就干什么，想不干什么就不干什么，党就会变成一盘散沙，就会成为自行其是的‘私人俱乐部’，党的领导就会成为一句空话.”
The subsequent paragraph talks about instances of people ignoring the authority of the CPC Central Committee, some of which were serious cases, and wavering on major issues of principles and ignoring central decisions and arrangements.
In this situation, since the 18th Party, the party central committee with comrade Xi as the core has worked to ensure that the whole party obeys the central leadership, with the primary task being the Party’s political construction, reforming and perfecting the institutional mechanism of upholding the party's leadership, strictly observing the party's political discipline and rules, and making a series of major institutional arrangements. Through this effort, the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee have been restored and fundamentally strengthened, effectively safeguarding the unity and unity of the whole Party. 党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为核心的党中央把保证全党服从中央、坚持党中央权威和集中统一领导作为党的政治建设的首要任务，改革和完善坚持党的领导的体制机制，严明党的政治纪律和政治规矩，作出一系列重大制度性安排，党中央权威和集中统一领导得到重塑和根本性强化，有力维护了全党的团结统一.
The next paragraph discusses the importance of loyalty. “Loyalty to the Party must be reflected in loyalty to the Party’s beliefs, to the Party organization, and to the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies.” It adds:
“We should take maintaining General Secretary Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the core of the whole party, maintaining the authority of the CPC Central Committee and the centralized and unified leadership as a clear political guideline and fundamental political requirement, and consciously make resolute efforts advocated by the CPC Central Committee, resolutely implement its decisions and resolutely refrain from doing what the CPC Central Committee prohibits, and implement its decision-making arrangements without conditions, discounts or modifications.” 要把维护习近平总书记党中央的核心、全党的核心地位，维护党中央权威和集中统一领导作为明确的政治准则和根本的政治要求，自觉做到党中央提倡的坚决响应、党中央决定的坚决执行、党中央禁止的坚决不做，执行党中央决策部署不讲条件、不打折扣、不搞变通。
The next paragraph talks about the “two safeguards” as the “highest principle of its leadership and the highest political principle and fundamental political rule of the party.” It says that this is by no means a “personality worship.” That is a “vulgar” interpretation of the two safeguards, we are told. 我们党把“两个维护”确立为党的领导的最高原则，确定为党的最高政治原则和根本政治规矩，是非常郑重、非常严肃的，决不是有人庸俗化理解的“个人崇拜”.
The next bit, however, somewhat contradicts this argument above. To the best of my understanding, it says:
“The ‘two safeguards’ have clear connotations and requirements. They call for safeguarding General Secretary Xi Jinping position as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole party; the object of this is General Secretary Xi Jinping rather than anyone else; when it comes to safeguarding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and centralised and unified leadership, the object is the CPC Central Committee rather than any other organization. The logic of maintaining the authority of the Party Central Committee and aligning with the Party Central Committee cannot be pushed down layer by layer. The core is only the core of the Party Central Committee, and alignment can only be to the Party Central Committee.” “两个维护”有明确的内涵和要求，维护习近平总书记党中央的核心、全党的核心地位，对象是习近平总书记而不是其他任何人；维护党中央权威和集中统一领导，对象是党中央而不是其他任何组织。维护党中央权威、向党中央看齐，这个逻辑不能层层推下去。核心只有党中央的核心，看齐只能向党中央看齐.
The final bit talks about how the two safeguards must not simply be a slogan but reflect in action.
50. Democratic Centralism’s the System, but Xi's the Maestro
We have the 50th piece in the Xi Thought Q&A series. The first question is about democratic centralism being the fundamental organizational principle and leadership system of the party. The piece begins with the Zunyi Conference, and then quickly we get to this:
“Adherence to democratic centralism is an important marker that distinguishes Marxist political parties from other political parties, and it is also the magic weapon for our party to always maintain unity, make scientific decisions, and gather advanced forces.” 坚持民主集中制，是马克思主义政党区别于其他政党的重要标志，也是我们党始终维护团结统一、作出科学决策、凝聚前进力量的制胜法宝.
So what is democratic centralism? We are told that:
“Democratic centralism is a system combining centralism based on democracy and democracy under centralized guidance. Democratic centralism includes democracy and centralism, which are mutually conditional, complementary and indispensable. Democracy is the prerequisite and basis for correct centralization. If you talk about centralization without democracy, centralization becomes a personal dictatorship. Centralism is the inevitable requirement and end-result of democracy. Without centralism, democracy will lead to extreme democratization and anarchy. The democratic centralism practiced by our party is a system that combines centralism with democracy, discipline with freedom, and unity of will with a system in which individuals feel comfortable and active.” 何谓民主集中制？民主集中制就是民主基础上的集中和集中指导下的民主相结合的制度。民主集中制包括民主和集中两个方面，两者互为条件、相辅相成、缺一不可。民主是正确集中的前提和基础，离开民主讲集中，集中就成了个人专权专断。集中是民主的必然要求和归宿，离开集中搞民主，就会导致极端民主化和无政府状态。我们党实行的民主集中制，是又有集中又有民主、又有纪律又有自由、又有统一意志又有个人心情舒畅生动活泼的制度。把我们这样一个大党大国治理好，不加强集中统一领导是不行的，不广泛发扬民主也是不行的.
The next paragraph tells us that democratic centralism is the “fundamental organizational principle of the party.” It is key to manage “inner-party political life and handling inner-party relations.” It adds that “all important relationships within the Party, such as between party organizations, between organizations and individuals, comrades and comrades, and between collective leadership and individual division of responsibility, must be defined and handled in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.” And then it says:
“The CPC Central Committee has the final say on major decisions and plans for the work of the Party and the state after listening to the opinions and suggestions of all parties. In the process of deliberation and discussion, we can fully express our opinions, speak freely, propose amendments, criticize and even object. But once the party Central Committee has made a decision, all parties must resolutely implement it.” 党和国家工作的重大决策部署，在听取各方面意见和建议后，最后的决定权在党中央，只此一家，别无分店。在酝酿和讨论过程中，大家可以充分发表意见，畅所欲言，可以提修改意见，可以批评，甚至可以反对。但是，一旦党中央作出决定，各方就要坚决贯彻执行.
The next paragraph says that “upholding the system of collective leadership and combining collective leadership with individual responsibility for division of labor is an important part of democratic centralism. It must always be upheld that no organization or individual is allowed to violate this system under any circumstances and for any reason. Decisions on major issues shall be made through collective discussion and the minority subordinates itself to the majority in accordance with the principles of collective leadership, democratic centralism, individual deliberation and decisions taken at meetings.” 坚持集体领导制度，实行集体领导和个人分工负责相结合，是民主集中制的重要组成部分，必须始终坚持，任何组织和个人在任何情况下都不允许以任何理由违反这项制度. 凡属重大问题，要按照集体领导、民主集中、个别酝酿、会议决定的原则，由集体讨论、按少数服从多数作出决定.
The next paragraph emphasises that democratic centralism is “scientific, reasonable and efficient.” The paragraph after this adds that “we must grasp the relationship between collective leadership and individual division of labor. Collective leadership is the concrete embodiment of democratic centralism in the Party’s leadership system and the key link for carrying out democratic centralism. Collective leadership is the basis and premise of carrying out division of responsibility, and leading group division of responsibility is an effective way and guarantee to realize collective leadership.” This is buttressed by using the analogy of a hand, wherein however strong a finger is, it needs the others to act with strength.
But “at the same time, we should also see that the ‘number one’ is the key to how well democratic centralism is implemented. General Secretary Xi Jinping once made a vivid analogy: the leading team is like a band with only one conductor. Without the conductor, the band’s performance is not coordinated…The ‘top leader’ of the leading group should be such a conductor, good at coordinating ‘multiple voices’ into ‘one piece of music’, so that the decision-making of the leading group can reflect the objective reality as much as possible and conform to the interests of the people.” 同时还要看到，民主集中制贯彻得怎么样，“一把手”是关键。习近平总书记曾作过一个形象的比喻：领导班子如同一支乐队，只能有一个指挥，离开了指挥，乐队的演奏就不协调；乐队指挥通过巧妙精致地指挥，吹拉弹唱，丝竹和谐，或是轻柔委婉，或是激越雄壮，齐奏出悦耳动听的交响乐。领导班子的“一把手”就应该成为这样的指挥，善于把“多种声音”协调为“一首乐曲”，从而使领导集体的决策尽可能反映客观实际，符合人民利益.
The 100th question is why is it that there is a great struggle with many new historical features still being waged in times of peace? The response is that “society advances in the movement of contradictions” and “when there are contradictions, there will be struggles.” And then it says that it is the nature of the CCP to “understand and apply the law of social contradiction movement” and “persist in struggle.”
Some of the key challenges that the paragraph highlights are”:
We will resolutely fight against erroneous ideological trends and win the war of ideas and public opinion waged against us by hostile forces, so as to bring about an overall and fundamental change in the ideological situation.
We will resolutely fight against all forms of unilateralism, trade protectionism and bullying, take effective measures to respond to and counter them, and resolutely safeguard national dignity and interests through struggle and cooperation.
We will resolutely combat all forms of misconduct and corruption within the Party, and promote full and strict party self-governance with the spirit of self-revolution, in which we have the courage to turn the knife inward...so as to restore great vitality to the Party.
At present, China's overall situation is sound. However, we must be soberly aware that China's development faces both rare historical opportunities and a series of major risks and challenges. In particular, with the rapid and profound changes in the world, the international environment has become more complex and severe, and the task of reform, development and stability has become more arduous, risks and tests on the road ahead will only become more complex, and we may even encounter unimaginable waves. 当前，我国形势总体上是好的，但也要清醒看到，我国发展既面临着难得的历史机遇, 也面临着一系列重大风险挑战。特别是随着世界大变局加速深刻演变，国际环境更加复杂严峻，改革发展稳定任务更加艰巨繁重，前进道路上的风险考验只会越来越复杂，甚至会遇到难以想象的惊涛骇浪.
The next paragraph says that “all risks and challenges that jeopardize the leadership of the Communist Party of China and China’s socialist system, China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, China’s core interests and major principles, and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, the realization of the ‘Two Centenary Goals’ and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we must resolutely fight, unswervingly and unflinchingly, until victory is won. On these major issues of principle, we must never yield. If we do, we will change our flag and the party will be defeated and the country will be subjugated. At all times and under all conditions, we must be particularly clear-headed and firm in our stance, and keep a firm grasp of the right direction of struggle…” 凡是危害中国共产党领导和我国社会主义制度的各种风险挑战，凡是危害我国主权、安全、发展利益的各种风险挑战，凡是危害我国核心利益和重大原则的各种风险挑战，凡是危害我国人民根本利益的各种风险挑战，凡是危害我国实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的各种风险挑战，只要来了，我们就必须进行坚决斗争，毫不动摇，毫不退缩，直至取得胜利。这些重大原则问题，绝对不能让，让了就会改旗易帜、亡党亡国。任何时候、任何条件下，我们的头脑要特别清醒、立场要特别坚定，牢牢把握正确斗争方向，做到在各种重大斗争考验面前“不畏浮云遮望眼”，“乱云飞渡仍从容”.
The next paragraph emphasises the need to “develop the fighting spirit and firm will,” and calls on cadres to cultivate toughness and not be slack. Obviously, the language is rather strong, which is not reflected in my one-line summary. The next paragraph tells us that struggle is an art, and courage alone is not enough. It is also important to pay attention to tactics and methods. The final paragraph talks about the need to “maintain strategic resolve, develop the spirit of struggle, and strengthen our ability to fight.”