Discover more from Tracking People's Daily
'People’s Leader' Xi's Poverty Alleviation Campaign - Li on Supporting Market Entities - Wang Huning on Learning from Revolutionary History - Economic Shake-up Underway - Qu Qingshan on Xi's Diplomacy
Here are the stories and pieces from the November 3, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: Let’s begin with today’s “key choices” piece, which discusses the poverty alleviation campaign.
We are told that since the 18th Party Congress, Xi Jinping has “placed poverty alleviation in the prominent position,” “put forward a series of new ideas, new ideas and new perspectives, and made a series of new decisions and new arrangements, thereby ensuring great achievements in poverty reduction in China and historically solving the problem of absolute poverty that has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years.” 党的十八大以来, 习近平总书记站在全面建成小康社会、实现中华民族伟大复兴中国梦的战略高度, 把脱贫攻坚摆在治国理政突出位置, 提出一系列新思想新理念新观点, 作出一系列新决策新部署，推动中国减贫事业取得巨大成就，困扰中华民族千百年的绝对贫困问题得到历史性解决. -- This isn’t new, but it is useful to ponder over this narrative. This argument is not only drawing on China’s civilisational past, locating the Party in a list of dynasties, it is also arguing that what has been achieved is unparalleled in history. In that sense, the people are being told that they are living a more affluent life than their ancestors ever did.
The next line says: Eradicating poverty, improving people's livelihood and gradually realizing common prosperity are the essential requirements of socialism and the important mission of our party. 消除贫困、改善民生、逐步实现共同富裕，是社会主义的本质要求，是我们党的重要使命.
After this, we get told that poverty-related issues have occupied the top of Xi’s mind, with him saying that he has spent the most energy on these. And that such a view shows the true feelings of Xi, the People’s Leader’s “人民领袖” (rénmín lǐngxiù), 人民的赤子之心 (rénmín de chìzǐ zhī xīn) purity and sincerity towards the people.
Anyway, the piece seeks to argue that the goal of socialism is to better people’s lives; that Xi has been particularly concerned about this; that Xi’s policies have enabled this betterment to take place; and it cites some anecdotes of people becoming well off.
For instance, at one point we have Xi arguing that his approach on poverty requires that “no nation, no family, and no individual should be left behind.” Then we are told that Xi personally carried out field visits to locations; “the farther he went, the closer he felt to the people.” We are told that Xi “personally took charge, went out himself, and supervised the fight against poverty at every important juncture. He held seven poverty alleviation symposiums, and presided over several meetings to study and plan the fight against poverty, identifying problems and finding solutions. It was a national action that drew worldwide attention.” 为了实现这个目标，脱贫攻坚的每个重要节点和重大关头，习近平总书记都亲自挂帅、亲自出征、亲自督战，召开7次脱贫攻坚座谈会,多次主持召开会议研究部署脱贫攻坚工作，直指难点、把脉开方. 这是举世瞩目的国家行动.
Apart from this focus on Xi, the piece also credits the millions of first secretaries and local officials. But to extend the war metaphor when it comes to poverty alleviation, while these folks are credited, they are essentially dealt with as resources that Xi pooled together and commanded, as though it were a grand chess game.
Anyway, towards the end, the piece tells us that some of the work now is focussed on avoiding people falling back into poverty and to state that “lifting people out of poverty is not the end, but the beginning of a new life and a new struggle. After the victory in poverty alleviation, we will comprehensively promote rural revitalisation, which is a historic shift in the focus of our work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers. From the overall strategic perspective of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, rural areas must be revitalised if the nation is to be revitalised.”
There’s also a commentary on the page about the poverty alleviation campaign. This one emphasises “precise or targeted poverty alleviation” which was the “magic weapon” that allowed the CPC to ensure poverty eradication. This entailed precise identification, and as Xi said, it involves the need to “seek truth from facts, tailor measures to suit local conditions, give targeted guidance, and be meticulous about the work.” The focus of this campaign were the “two assurances,” i.e., food and clothing, and “three guarantees,” i.e., access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing.
“Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Peru relations and stands ready to work with Castillo to take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to enhance the alignment of the two sides' development strategies, upgrade their cooperation in various fields, lead people across sectors in the two countries to carry forward the traditional friendship and push the China-Peru comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.”
Castillo said “Peru is ready to maintain close high-level exchanges with China, promote cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, tourism and digitalization, jointly uphold multilateralism, fight against COVID-19 and realize post-pandemic economic recovery.”
Third, Li Keqiang spoke at a symposium (English report) during an inspection trip to the State Administration for Market Regulation on Monday, emphasising the need to “strengthen market entities to stimulate market vitality and social creativity.”
The piece says that latest data show that the total number of market players in China has exceeded 150 million, of which 100 million have been added in the last 10 years. There are around 100 million self-employed individuals. The great power of hundreds of millions of market entities has driven China’s economy to the 100 trillion yuan mark, allowing the steady growth of the country’s financial and social wealth. The market players have shored up the nation’s job market, accounting for the employment of over 700 million people, with nearly 300 million of these jobs being created by individual businesses...China’s market entities established since 2013 paid 3.81 trillion yuan in taxes in the first three quarters alone, nearing last year’s annual total. In places with more active market entities, the local economy is better, said Li, urging efforts to solve difficulties for market entities and allow more market players to be established, grow and prosper.” 在登记注册局，工作人员介绍，通过推进改革和证照电子化等，市场主体准入、注销、办事等都更加便捷，李克强予以肯定。在数据分析中心，最新数据显示，全国市场主体总量已突破1.5亿户，其中近10年就新增了1亿户。个体工商户数量也已突破1亿户。亿万市场主体的磅礴力量推动了我国经济总量迈上百万亿元大关、国家财力和社会财富稳定增长，承载了7亿多人就业的基本盘，仅个体工商户就带动了近3亿人就业。李克强了解市场主体区域行业分布和活跃度等情况，据统计2013年以来新增市场主体仅在今年前3季度纳税就达3.81万亿元，与去年全年基本持平。李克强说，从地方和行业看，市场主体越多越活跃，那里的经济就发展好，要破解难题，促进更多市场主体生得下、长得大、活得好.
Li then said that “in recent years, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, we have persisted in improving the socialist market economic system, taking cultivating and expanding market players as an important focus for deepening reform to delegate power, improve regulation and services, and carry out macro-control in an innovative way. Facing the complicated and severe domestic and international environment, we should adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and in accordance with the requirements of basing ourselves on a new development stage, implementing new development concept, constructing a new development pattern and promoting high-quality development, continue to do a good job in the ‘six guarantees’, especially the former ‘three guarantees’, promote reform and opening up, do a good job in cross-cycle adjustment, keep the economy running in a reasonable range, and achieve stability.” 座谈会上，市场监管总局主要负责人作了汇报，全国工商联、个体劳动者协会、物美公司、国务院发展研究中心等单位负责人或专家发了言。李克强说，近年来，在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下，我们坚持完善社会主义市场经济体制，把培育壮大市场主体作为深化“放管服”改革、创新实施宏观调控的重要着力点，市场主体成倍增加. 面对复杂严峻的国内外环境，要坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导，按照立足新发展阶段、贯彻新发展理念、构建新发展格局、推动高质量发展的要求，继续做好“六保”工作特别是前“三保”，推进改革开放，做好跨周期调节，努力爬坡过坎，保持经济运行在合理区间，实现行稳致远.
Li then promised new tax and fee reduction policies. He added: “We will continue to guide financial institutions to make appropriate transfers of profits to the real economy (继续引导金融机构向实体经济合理让利), and use unemployment insurance funds to support enterprises in maintaining stable employment and providing vocational training. We will ensure the supply and price of electricity and coal. We will take strong measures to boost the industrial economy.” 要针对市场主体特别是中小微企业、个体工商户的生产经营困难，研究制定新的阶段性、组合式减税降费政策，普惠直达市场主体，继续引导金融机构向实体经济合理让利，运用失业保险基金支持企业稳岗、职业培训。做好电力、煤炭等保供稳价。采取有力措施提振工业经济运行. -- I’ve highlighted the text above because China Daily translates this as: “financial institutions will be guided to surrender parts of their profits to the real economy.”
Li also promised to “treat enterprises of all types of ownership equally” while improving the “long-term mechanism for market oversight, oppose monopoly and unfair competition, crack down on hoarding and price gouging, and maintain a fair and just market order.”
Next, we have Wang Huning attending (English report) a symposium marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Soviet Republic and the central revolutionary base. Wang emphasised the importance of fully summarising and learning from the historical experience to better develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Wang called for efforts to continue to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and keep it up to date.
In it, he talks about “remembering the immortal achievements of our revolutionary forefathers and heroes and carrying forward the Party’s glorious traditions and fine conduct…” He talks about taking history as a mirror to “push forward the historic cause of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Wang reiterates the narrative of colonial rule and feudal rule keeping China weak. He praises Mao Zedong. Wang says that under Mao, the Party insisted “on proceeding from China’s reality.” There was a deep analysis of China’s class and social structures; the Party was “brave in exploration and good at innovation.” It combined “armed struggle,” “agrarian revolution” and “party building” and creatively addressed problems by combining “the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism with China’s actual realities.” All of this opened up the “correct revolutionary road of encircling cities from rural areas and seizing political power by armed force.” 以毛泽东同志为主要代表的中国共产党人，坚持从中国实际出发，深刻分析中国社会形态和阶级状况，勇于探索、善于创新，把武装斗争、土地革命和党的建设结合起来，创造性地解决了马克思列宁主义基本原理同中国具体实际相结合的一系列重大问题，弄清了中国革命的性质、对象、任务、动力，开辟了农村包围城市、武装夺取政权的正确革命道路.
Wang praises the Chinese Soviet Republic as the first national democratic regime of workers and peasants, which allowed the “expansion of the Party’s influence and red political power.” He says that the soviet allowed, to some extent, to centralise command over revolutionary base areas, and allowed for gathering “valuable historical experience for construction of base areas during the War of Resistance against Japan and the Liberation War and the founding of New China.”
With this, he quickly comes to Xi’s era. Wang says that since the 18th Party Congress, the Central Committee with Xi at its core has led the country and people with confidence and a desire for self-improvement, upholding integrity and innovation. It has provided a stronger institutional guarantee, a more solid material foundation, and a more proactive spirit for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. He added that since the 18th Party Congress, Xi has visited the soviet area many times “to pay tribute to revolutionary martyrs, stressing the need to carry forward the spirit of the Soviet area and inherit the red gene, and never forget the party's original mission, revolutionary ideals and revolutionary purposes.” He talks about Xi’s July 1 speech, emphasising that it is important to study it.
Then Wang offers some prescriptions for the future:
First, he talks about the importance of seeking truth from facts. He traces this back to Mao, talking about Mao pushing back against Wang Ming’s dogmatism. He says that going our own way is the theoretical and practical grounding of the Party and this is also the Party’s learning from its 100-year history. In this context, he also quotes Xi as having said: that “seeking truth from facts is the fundamental viewpoint of Marxism, the fundamental requirement of Chinese Communists to know and transform the world, and the basic ideological method, working method and leadership method of our Party.” 习近平总书记指出, “实事求是，是马克思主义的根本观点, 是中国共产党人认识世界、改造世界的根本要求, 是我们党的基本思想方法、工作方法、领导方法”;
“On the new journey, we must unswervingly take Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the New Era as the guide, adhere to the Marxist position, viewpoint and method, combine the basic principles of Marxism with China’s concrete reality and excellent Chinese traditional culture...continue to develop contemporary Chinese Marxism and Marxism in the 21st century, and constantly win new victories of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.”新的征程上，我们必须毫不动摇以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导，坚持马克思主义立场、观点、方法，坚持把马克思主义基本原理同中国具体实际相结合、同中华优秀传统文化相结合，用马克思主义观察时代、把握时代、引领时代，继续发展当代中国马克思主义、21世纪马克思主义，不断夺取新时代中国特色社会主义新胜利.
Second, he talks about striving for a better life for the people. In this regard, he talks about taking “the people’s aspiration for a better life as our goal, adhere to the fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, stand firm with the people, implement the Party’s mass line, practice the people-centered development philosophy, and strive to address the problems of unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's urgent needs. We will make more substantive progress in promoting all-round human development and common prosperity for all.” 我们必须把人民对美好生活的向往作为奋斗目标，坚持全心全意为人民服务的根本宗旨，站稳人民立场，贯彻党的群众路线，践行以人民为中心的发展思想，着力解决发展不平衡不充分问题和人民群众急难愁盼问题，推动人的全面发展、全体人民共同富裕取得更为明显的实质性进展.
Third, he talks about carrying forward the great spirit of Party building, strengthening political character, and strengthening ideals and convictions. In this context, he wants cadres to be “believers and faithful practitioners of the great ideal of communism and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” 自觉做共产主义远大理想和中国特色社会主义共同理想的坚定信仰者和忠实实践者.
Fourth, he emphasises the need to maintain the work style of hard work, frugality, simplicity, and avoiding extravagance. “Regardless of the level of national development, irrespective of how much people’s lives improve, the notion of hard work/arduous struggle must never be abandoned.” 无论我们国家发展到什么水平，无论人民生活改善到什么地步, 艰苦奋斗的思想永远不能丢
Finally, we have a report (English report) with Han Zheng chairing a symposium during an inspection trip to the State Grid Corporation of China. He wants a “warm winter for the public” and to that end, he said that “more work should be done to increase the supply of coal and natural gas through multiple channels, keep the supply and prices of energy stable, and promote the clean utilisation of coal.” He added that “China will encourage financial institutions to meet the reasonable financing needs of coal, power and heating enterprises, while strengthening fiscal and tax policy support.”
Page 4: Just one report to note. This talks about the State Council issuing a set of new measures to shore up the weak links in the country's life services sector and improve people’s quality of life. Xinhua English tells us that the document puts forward 30 measures covering nine areas, including the promotion of services that help the elderly with their meals and other daily needs in major cities, so that such services will gradually cover over 80 percent of communities in five years, and support the private sector to participate in the development of urban childcare services.
Page 5: One commentary to note here. Liu Yuanchun from the Renmin University of China writes that there is reason to be optimistic about China’s economy. He says that so far, in the first three quarters of the year, China’s GDP has grown by 9.8% year on year, and 5.2%, if taken over two years.
“China has maintained a dynamic balance between the speed of growth and the quality of development, further stimulating high-quality growth. In the first three quarters of this year, the added value of China's industrial enterprises above designated size grew by 11.8 percent year-on-year, with an average increase of 6.4% over two years and up by 0.8 percentage points from the same period in 2019. While total output recovers, industrial upgrading will be led by innovation. The added value of the high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing industries above designated size increased by 20.1% and 16.2% year-on-year respectively, 8.3 and 4.4 percentage points higher than that of all industries above designated size. In addition, the steady growth of the service sector and the accelerating development of the digital economy reflect the transformation and upgrading of the Chinese economy while maintaining aggregate expansion.” 从国内生产看，我国在增长速度与发展质量之间保持了动态平衡，进一步激发了高质量增长. 前三季度，全国规模以上工业增加值同比增长11.8%，两年平均增长6.4%，比2019年同期高了0.8个百分点。总量恢复的同时，创新引领产业升级。规模以上高技术制造业和装备制造业增加值同比分别增长20.1%和16.2%，分别高于全部规模以上工业增加值增速8.3和4.4个百分点。此外，服务业稳步增长，数字经济发展不断加速，映照着中国经济在保持总量扩张的同时实现转型升级.
He adds that exports have remained strong, with China “consolidating its export advantages in high-tech complex products such as mechanical and electrical products.” He also adds that the country has in this year, ”successfully achieved a dynamic balance between steady growth and structural adjustment.” He says that steps have been taken to address “some medium - and long-term structural problems, especially those related to risk control.” He says it is important to “carefully review the causes” behind the downward pressure on the economy. There are sufficient “policy space to use all policy tools in a coordinated manner to defuse the problem, and keep the economy operating within an appropriate range.” 我国有足够的政策空间，协调运用各项政策工具加以化解，一定能保持经济运行在合理区间.
He adds that China’s investment structure is shifting gears, with old drivers being replaced. In this context, the high-tech domain and sectors linked to China’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals provide “ample investment opportunities.” He further adds that “efforts to promote common prosperity, regional and urban-rural integration, and greater efforts to increase the proportion of middle-income groups will generate huge consumption momentum and enhance the advantages of China’s e super-large market.” 从投资角度看，高新技术产业和碳达峰、碳中和提供了充足的投资机会。构建新发展格局的支撑点就是科技自立自强，在科技上进行全面布局，将会逐步带动整个市场的盈利情况和投资预期出现高涨。实现碳达峰、碳中和，将重构中国的能源结构、生产结构、消费结构等，因此中国的投资结构在发生换挡，中国的新旧动能将进行转换。从消费角度看，制度性改革提供了充足的消费动能。扎实推动共同富裕，推进区域、城乡一体化，加大力度提高中等收入群体比重，将为我国带来巨大的消费动能，从而进一步增强我国的超大规模市场优势.
Quick Thought: Liu’s basic argument is that it is important not to sweat the short-term fluctuations and bumps because there is a long-term structure for a new economy that is being put into place. To me, this makes sense, to be honest. Of course, that doesn’t make it straightforward to do. There is a matter of how much short-term pain is acceptable. For instance, we see that when it comes to the current energy crisis, there was a clear limit to how much short-term pain was acceptable. In contrast, on say data security, there is willingness to bear deeper short-term costs, which impinge largely on private enterprises. Second, there is the matter of the political economy. Creating the super-large Chinese market and harnessing its advantages will entail loosening control of local leaders and dealing with local interest groups. Is the local leadership in alignment for this? Is there sufficient political will and momentum to address related challenges?
Page 9: Qu Qingshan, who heads the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee, writes about Xi Thought on diplomacy. This comes amid the publication of the Study Outline for Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. He writes that:
Xi Thought on diplomacy is fundamentally guided by Marxist viewpoints. This implies that it is “people-centered,” adheres “to fairness and justice” which “is in sharp contrast with outdated thinking such as zero-sum games and power politics,” seeks the “establishment of a new type of international relations,” pursues “establishing a ‘circle of friends’,” and “promotes the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
Qu writes that Marx’s worldview is a method and not a doctrine, and Xi adheres to the materialist dialectical way of thinking, which entails viewing developments objectively, dynamically, and systematically and progressing by addressing contradictions. Qu talks about the need to have a sense of history rather than being caught up in the current chaos of the international environment, and view China’s global role by analysing “both domestic and international situations, having a deep understanding and accurate grasp of the law of development and interconnection between the two situations, based on the domestic situation and looking at the world, promote the mutual promotion and benign interaction of the two situations, and achieve good domestic and international effects. Emphasis should be placed on strengthening strategic thinking, scientifically judging changes in the international situation and pattern, accurately grasping the new historical position of China's development, and making strategic plans for medium and long-term external work from the perspective of top-level design...”强调统筹国内国际两个大局，深刻认识和准确把握两个大局的发展规律和相互联系，立足国内，放眼世界，推动两个大局相互促进、良性互动，实现良好的国内国际效应。强调加强战略思维，科学判断国际形势和国际格局变化，准确把握中国发展新的历史方位，从顶层设计角度对中长期对外工作作出战略规划。强调运用底线思维的方法，从坏处准备，努力争取最好结果，牢牢把握工作的主动权.
He then argues that Xi Thought on diplomacy is a product of the times, and provides guidance for the goal of national rejuvenation based on current realities. However, it also draws from Chinese traditional culture. He then says that Xi Thought is “rich in content and profound in thought. It has elaborated on a series of major theoretical and practical issues concerning China’s major-country diplomacy in the new era.” He emphasises the importance of “strengthening the Party’s centralized and unified leadership over foreign affairs.”
He writes that:
“The Chinese dream is connected with the beautiful dreams of people all over the world. China must pursue major-power diplomacy with its own characteristics, create a more favorable international environment, adhere to the people-centered principle, and always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order.” 中国梦与世界各国人民的美好梦想是相通的，中国必须有富有自身特色的大国外交，营造更加有利的国际环境，坚持以人民为中心，始终做世界和平的建设者、全球发展的贡献者、国际秩序的维护者.
He finally wants the Party and cadres to thoroughly study Xi Thought on Diplomacy. In this regard, he highlights:
promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, which entails building “an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity” and promoting the development of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.
resolutely safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. These along with core interests are the bottom line that must be maintained. Quick Thought: Read the first point above again now. Those lofty goals are circumscribed by this bottom line.
strengthening strategic confidence, implementing BRI, adhering to the path of peaceful development and participating in the reform and development of the global governance system.