Politburo Meeting - Li Zhanshu’s Russia Visit - Seed Industry Development
With the Mid-Autumn Festival, today’s People’s Daily is a shorter, holiday edition. But before getting to that, let’s talk about two key reports from the weekend.
First, there was a Politburo meeting on Friday, which offered some insights into what we can expect in October. Xinhua English has put out a detailed readout from the meeting. It says that the meeting deliberated on documents to be submitted for discussion at the upcoming seventh plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, which is slated to be held on October 9.
These documents included:
a draft report by the 19th CPC Central Committee to the 20th CPC National Congress
a draft amendment to the Party Constitution
a draft work report by the 19th CPC CCDI to the 20th Party Congress
a report on the implementation of the eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct by the Politburo
a report on the work of rectifying practice of pointless formalities and reducing burdens on those working at the grassroots since the 19th Party Congress
“The meeting heard a feedback report on the draft report by the 19th CPC Central Committee to the 20th CPC National Congress, which is about opinions solicited from some Party members and non-Party figures, a feedback report on the draft amendment to the Party Constitution, which is about opinions collected from some Party members, and a feedback report on the draft work report by the 19th CPC CCDI to the 20th CPC National Congress. It was decided at the meeting that the three documents will be submitted to the seventh plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee for discussion after being revised based on the deliberation results at this meeting.”
Further the story adds:
“It was stressed at the meeting that the 20th CPC National Congress is a convention of great significance to be held at a crucial moment, as the whole Party and the entire nation embark on a new journey toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. It is of tremendous importance in inspiring and mobilizing all Party members and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, build a modern socialist country in all respects, and fully advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We need to rationally examine the prevailing trend of the development of today's China and world beyond, and thoroughly review the practices and experiences of the Party leading the people in advancing reform and opening up and socialist modernization. Based on the conditions in the new era, we need to focus on the new situations and tasks we are facing in our reform and development, adhere to our goal of meeting the people's aspirations for a better life, and make plans and arrangements for the cause of the Party and the country from a strategic and overall perspective. Under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, efforts should be made to unite the whole Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them in building on past achievements and working with an indomitable spirit to overcome difficulties, continuously breaking new ground for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
“The Party Constitution is the general charter of the CPC, and it plays a fundamental role in regulating and guiding the efforts to uphold the Party's overall leadership, advance the Party's full and rigorous self-governance and strengthen Party building, according to the meeting. Making amendments to the Party Constitution by the CPC at its 20th National Congress in line with new circumstances and missions will help the whole Party better study, abide by, implement and safeguard this fundamental document. It will also help advance the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new project of Party building. The major theoretical proposition and strategic thoughts validated by the report to the 20th CPC National Congress will be written into the Party Constitution, so that the latest achievements of adapting Marxism to China's context and new circumstances will be fully epitomized and so will the new ideas, new thinking and new strategies of governance developed by the CPC Central Committee since the Party's 19th National Congress in 2017.”
“The amended Party Constitution will also clarify the new requirements for upholding and strengthening Party's leadership and advancing the Party's full and rigorous self-governance under new circumstances, so as to better navigate the great social revolution with vigorous self-reform, according to the meeting.”
“It was noted at the meeting that the draft work report to be delivered to the 20th CPC National Congress by the 19th CPC CCDI fully demonstrates what, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the CCDI and National Commission of Supervision as well as discipline inspection and supervision departments at all levels have achieved, their practice and reflection on their work. With the major target of the Party and the State as the focus, they have played well their role of supervision, ensuring enforcement of the law as well as Party's disciplines and implementation of the Party's policies, improving and refining the work of both the Party and government. We must fully understand and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carry out the CPC Central Committee's strategic plans for the self-reform of the Party, uphold the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership, exercise full and strict governance over the Party, push forward the great project of the Party building in the new era, and make further progress in improving Party conduct, upholding integrity and combating corruption. It was agreed at the meeting that the seventh plenary session of the 19th CPC CCDI will be convened on Oct. 7, 2022.”
This is then interesting: “It was noted at the meeting that, since the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made new decisions and raised new requirements for constantly improving Party conduct and enforcing Party discipline, made revisions to the measures of the eight-point decision in this regard, and always puts promoting good Party conduct high on its agenda. Through persistent efforts, some longstanding misconducts have been curbed and deep-rooted malfeasances addressed, which leads to significant improvements in Party conduct, the working practices of government officials, social morality and individual virtues.”
The other development was around Li Zhanshu’s visit to Russia. The Russian reporting on the visit had Li saying:
“China understands and supports Russia on issues that represent its vital interests, in particular on the situation in Ukraine.” “We see that the United States and its NATO allies are expanding their presence near the Russian borders, seriously threatening national security and the lives of Russian citizens. We fully understand the necessity of all the measures taken by Russia aimed at protecting its key interests, we are providing our assistance…On the Ukrainian issue, we see how they have put Russia in an impossible situation. And in this case, Russia made an important choice and responded firmly.”
“During his visit, Li met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the country's far eastern city of Vladivostok, held talks with Volodin and Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko respectively in Moscow, and also met with leaders of the five State Duma factions. When meeting with the Russian president, Li conveyed cordial greetings and best wishes from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Putin. He said that under the strategic guidance and personal efforts of President Xi and President Putin, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has maintained a strong momentum of development. Political mutual trust, strategic coordination and pragmatic cooperation between the two countries have reached an unprecedented level, setting a good example of good-neighborly friendship and win-win cooperation between major countries and neighboring countries, Li said. Both China and Russia are at a critical historical stage of development and revitalization, enjoying great potential and broad prospects for cooperation, Li said. China is willing to continue to work with Russia to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, implement the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi, and turn high-level political mutual trust into more pragmatic cooperation results, Li said. The top Chinese legislator said he firmly believes that under the leadership of President Xi and President Putin, the two sides will raise the bilateral ties to a new level and will follow the development path in line with their national conditions and achieve the great goals of their respective development and national rejuvenation.”
“During his talks with Volodin and Matviyenko, Li said that the important task of cooperation between the legislative bodies of China and Russia is to promote the implementation of the important consensus reached by the two heads of state and provide legal protection for the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. The NPC will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation with the Russian State Duma and Federation Council, tap the potential of the mechanism for regular exchanges, maintain a good momentum of high-level exchanges, and promote exchanges among friendship groups and special committees, Li said. Li said that the NPC is ready to work with the two institutions to create a favorable environment for practical cooperation through legislation as well as examination and approval of treaties and agreements. He added that the two sides should strengthen exchanges of experience on national governance and legislation regarding fighting against external interference, sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, among others. Li thanked the Russian side for firmly supporting China on the Taiwan question. Both Volodin and Matviyenko once again condemned Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's visit to China's Taiwan region, saying that Russia firmly adheres to the one-China policy and is willing to deepen cooperation with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.”
For context and analysis, I recommend this thread below:
Anyway, now let us turn to today’s edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: At the top of the page is a brief report on Xi’s congratulatory message to King Charles III on his accession to the British throne.
The big story on the page, which takes up a large chunk of the second page too, is about the implementation of Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy since the 18th Party Congress. The former refers to the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics encompassing economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development; the latter comprises completing the building of a comprehensively moderately prosperous society, comprehensively expanding in-depth reform, comprehensively promoting law-based governance, and comprehensively enforcing strict Party self-governance.
The piece basically emphasises Xi’s leadership; says that these two strategies continue to remain critical in terms of China’s development going forward and that they “provide a more complete institutional guarantee, a more solid material foundation, and a more active spiritual force for the realisation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Towards the end, the piece reiterates that: “On the new journey, we must profoundly understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, resolutely achieve the two safeguards and ensure that the whole Party moves forward in unison. Continue to implement the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy and ‘adhere to the people-centred development thought’.” 新征程上，必须深刻领悟“两个确立”的决定性意义，坚决做到“两个维护”，确保全党步调一致向前进。继续统筹推进“五位一体”总体布局、协调推进“四个全面”战略布局，要“坚持以人民为中心的发展思想.”
Page 2: There’s an article on the August notice issued by the General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on supporting the development of national seed industry formation enterprises. The piece quotes an unidentified official from the ministry has saying that the seed industry revitalisation plan has three aspects:
First, in order to promote the self-reliance and self-improvement of the seed industry, it is necessary to give full play to the ‘mainboard’ integration role of dominant seed industry enterprises. Like a computer motherboard, it enables scientific research, production, market and investment to find corresponding ‘interfaces’, in order to promote the rapid output and transformation of innovative achievements.
Second, in order to realise independent control over seed sources, we must consolidate the ‘basic stock’ of seed supply for dominant seed industry enterprises.
Thirdly, to enhance the international competitiveness of the seed industry, we must strengthen and expand seed industry enterprises. To realise the transformation from a large seed country to a strong seed country, we must gradually establish a national seed industry revitalisation enterprise cluster comprising leading enterprises, characteristic enterprises and specialised platform enterprises to ensure collaborative/coordinated development.
The official then says that based on factors such as enterprise scale, innovation capability and development potential, the ministry has selected 276 state-supported breeding enterprises. These comprise 69 crop seed companies, 86 domestic animal and fowl genetic resources companies and 121 centred on aquatic germplasm resources.
And that’s about all that I found useful. But I am sharing some other stories from other outlets that I thought are worth noting.
Reuters reports that the Biden administration is preparing broader curbs on US chip and tool exports to China. The report says:
“The Biden administration plans next month to broaden curbs on U.S shipments to China of semiconductors used for artificial intelligence and chipmaking tools, several people familiar with the matter said. The Commerce Department intends to publish new regulations based on restrictions communicated in letters earlier this year to three U.S. companies -- KLA Corp, Lam Research Corp and Applied Materials Inc, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The plan for new rules has not been previously reported. The letters, which the companies publicly acknowledged, forbade them from exporting chipmaking equipment to Chinese factories that produce advanced semiconductors with sub-14 nanometer processes unless the sellers obtain Commerce Department licenses. The rules would also codify restrictions in Commerce Department letters sent to Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices last month instructing them to halt shipments of several artificial intelligence computing chips to China unless they obtain licenses.”
The first official in-person Ministerial meeting of the IPEF countries took place last week. The full details are available here. One key development was the India opted out of the first pillar, i.e., the trade pillar of the IPEF, while joining the other three: Supply Chain, Clean Economy & Fair Economy.
Talking to the media after the IPEF conference Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said India will continue to engage with trade track in the IPEF and will wait for the final contours on the trade pillar to be decided before taking a call on the formal association. “On one pillar which deals primarily with trade, the contours of the framework particularly, any commitments required on environment, labour, the digital trade, public procurement are certain areas in which a broader consensus has yet to emerge amongst all the nations. We have yet to see what benefits member countries will derive and whether any conditionalities on, for example, environment may discriminate against developing countries who have the imperative to provide low cost and affordable energy to meet the needs of a growing economy. We are also in the process of firming up our own digital framework and laws, particularly regarding privacy and data," news agency PTI quoted the minister as saying.
This SCMP report on China’s export growth weakening. It says that:
“After China’s weakened exports surprised the market on the downside in August, shipping agents across China are struggling to find cargo during what is traditionally the peak shipping season ahead of Western holidays. “We are, in fact, seeing an off-season at present,” a Jiangsu-based shipping agent said on condition of anonymity. “The overall shipping demand from customers is plummeting.” Another agent, based in Tianjin, likened shipping prices to “cliff diving”, because of their sharp descent. The weakened export demands are reflected in the slowdown in China’s exports growth, which fell to 7.1 per cent in August, year on year, from 18 per cent in July, while exports to the United States saw a year-on-year decline for the first time since May 2020…The slowdown in exports is set to further dampen a Chinese economy that has already been buffeted by sporadic coronavirus outbreaks and mass lockdowns, a property sector slump and weakened consumer spending. There is basically no doubt that China’s exports will keep slowing down, and a pickup is unlikely in the near term, said Hong Hao, chief economist at Chinese hedge fund Grow Investment. “The turning point has already come,” he said.”
“China is increasingly counting on its banks to step up mortgage lending and help boost a sinking housing market. But there is a problem: Lenders are stuck with many mortgages from boom times that are at higher risk of not being repaid. Chinese property developers wrote at least $300 billion of mortgage guarantees over the past few years for partially built apartments that they presold, according to regulatory filings. The real-estate firms promised that they would cover home buyers’ interest and principal payments to banks if the borrowers defaulted before their apartments were completed and delivered. What used to be seen as a no-lose proposition has now become a drag on Chinese banks. Dozens of real-estate firms have slid into financial distress, making their mortgage guarantees far from certain. Many would-be home buyers no longer want to buy unfinished properties, reducing demand for loans.”