Protecting Rights & Interests of Military Personnel a 'Major Measure' - Achieving Technology Self-reliance - Zhong Sheng Commentary on US-Taiwan Vaccine Diplomacy

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s June 15, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: It’s fascinating that yesterday we had this report in CNN about the US government assessing a report of a leak at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province. This came after Framatome, a French company that partly owns and helps operate the plant, warned of an “imminent radiological threat.” CNN’s report adds that the warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the plant to avoid having to shut it down. The report also says that the Biden administration believes the facility is not yet at a “crisis level.”

And today’s PD’s front page has a piece about 221 Plant in Jinyintan, the site where China built the bomb. The place has long since become a patriotic tourist attraction. Today’s piece is predominantly about the rehabilitation of the people who worked at Plant 221 once it was shut down. It tells us that the nuclear industry workers from there have been resettled in 532 counties and cities in 27 provinces across the country, and that Xi Jinping is “very concerned about the retired workers” and their lives. The article then talks about these veterans still holding on to that old spirit before expressing satisfaction with the care they are receiving. Today’s life is contrasted with the hardships of the late 50s and 60s. For instance, 80-year-old Dong Dianju recalls:

“At that time, conditions were difficult, we could only temporarily live in the cattle sheds and sheep pens left after the herders moved out, and sometimes we dug a hole in the mountain to sleep, and we could hear wolves howling at night. In winter, when I slept with a cotton hat, the next day the quilt and hat were covered with frost.”

Anyway, there’s more such tales of hardship till we get to the explosions of 1964 and 67; thereafter, again the piece talks about the Two Bombs, One Satellite spirit, holding the political line, Xi being personally invested in the well-being of these workers and their families, China National Nuclear Corporation supporting them, and the Party using their experience and the base as an instrument for furthering patriotic education.

Next, a report that tells us that  1.36 billion were enrolled in China’s national basic medical insurance in 2020. The fund pooled in “around 2,484.6 billion yuan, an increase of 1.7% over the previous year, accounting for about 2.4% of GDP in that year. Total expenditure was 2,103.2 billion yuan, an increase of 0.9% over the previous year, accounting for about 2.1% of GDP in that year.” There’s a lot more data in there, if you are interested.

Third, we have a commentary about the new Law on the Protection of the Status, Rights, and Interests of Military Personnel. You can access the Chinese language text of the legislation here. The piece calls it a “major measure,” adding that it is important to “lead the whole society to respect the military profession and strengthen the national defense awareness across the whole society.” The author adds that the law has “great and far-reaching significance for realizing the Party's goal of strengthening the army in the new era and building the people’s army into a world-class army in an all-round way.” 

The piece then says that the law “closely aligns with the special attributes of military occupation, and systematically stipulates the basic principles and basic systems for the protection of military status and rights and interests, focusing on enhancing the attraction of the military profession and the military’s sense of mission and honour. Together with the Veterans Protection Law and other laws and regulations, they constitute a complete legal system for maintaining the respected status of military personnel and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of military personnel. With strong legal guarantees, the broad masses of officers and soldiers will surely be encouraged to effectively perform their duties and missions, and will surely attract more outstanding young people to join the army to serve the country and dedicate themselves to national defense, so as to build a strong national defense and a powerful army.” 这部法律坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,深入贯彻习近平强军思想,聚焦服务备战打仗,紧贴军人职业特殊属性,围绕增强军事职业吸引力和军人使命感、荣誉感,对军人地位和权益保障的基本原则和基本制度作出系统规定,与退役军人保障法等法律法规一起构成了维护军人尊崇地位、保障军人合法权益的完整法律法规体系. 有了坚强有力的法律保障,必将激励广大官兵有效履行职责使命,必将吸引更多优秀青年参军报国、献身国防, 为建设巩固国防和强大军队凝聚起磅礴力量.

It ends by emphasising that “all regions and departments must take the implementation of the military status and rights protection law as an important political task and basic work...”

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Pages 3 & 4: We have a piece based on the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. This tells us a bit about how Beijing views the organisation, also what’s interesting is that all SCO members get mentioned in the piece for one reason or the other, except India.

“The Shanghai Spirit, which continues to grow in vitality, is a testimony to the history of SCO's joint efforts to address challenges and promote comprehensive cooperation: in the face of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all parties have strengthened joint prevention and control, supported each other’s efforts to combat the pandemic, and maintained regional and global public health security; from joint efforts to combat the ‘three forces’ to law enforcement security, information security, drug control, anti-money laundering, and combating transnational crimes, security cooperation has been continuously enriched; deepening cooperation in building the ‘Belt and Road’, forming a community of interests; cooperation in education, culture, health, sports, tourism, youth, media and other fields is in full swing, and the foundation of public opinion is constantly consolidating; adhere to openness and tolerance, advocate support for multilateralism, and further improve the global governance system…” 持续焕发时代生机的“上海精神”,见证上合组织携手应对挑战、推进全面合作的历程:面对新冠肺炎疫情冲击,各方加强联防联控,支持彼此抗疫努力,维护地区和全球公共卫生安全;从共同打击“三股势力”,到执法安全、信息安全、禁毒、反洗钱、打击跨国犯罪等领域,安全合作不断充实;深化共建“一带一路”合作,形成你中有我、我中有你的利益共同体;教育、文化、卫生、体育、旅游、青年、媒体等领域合作如火如荼,民意基础不断夯实;坚持开放包容,倡导支持多边主义,进一步完善全球治理体系…

On page 4, just like yesterday there was a report on universities implementing Party history education instructions by Xi, today we have a report about Chinese enterprises conducting activities to allow “cadres and employees to inherit the red gene.” 

Page 13: The lead piece on the Theory page is by Hou Jianguo, Party Secretary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is writing in connection with Xi’s recent speech to Chinese scientists on technology. Hou says that it is important to understand Xi’s speech within the context of the centenary of the CCP, in that the present moment matters. He argues that “scientific and technological undertakings have always had a very important strategic position and played a very important strategic role in the cause of the party and the people...”

Hou wants “in-depth implementation of the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education, the strategy of strengthening the country through talents, and the strategy of innovation-driven development, grasping the general trend, seizing the opportunities, facing problems directly, facing difficulties, improving the national innovation system, accelerating the construction of a strong country in science and technology, and realizing high-level self-reliance in science and technology.” 习近平总书记在讲话中回顾了我们党在革命、建设、改革各个历史时期对科技事业的高度重视,充分肯定科技事业在党和人民事业中始终具有十分重要的战略地位、发挥了十分重要的战略作用,分析了新一轮科技革命和产业变革的演化趋势,号召广大科技工作者面向世界科技前沿、面向经济主战场、面向国家重大需求、面向人民生命健康,深入实施科教兴国战略、人才强国战略、创新驱动发展战略,把握大势、抢占先机,直面问题、迎难而上,完善国家创新体系,加快建设科技强国,实现高水平科技自立自强.

He then writes:

“The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee put forward: ‘Insist on the core position of innovation in the overall situation of China's modernization construction, and take self-reliance in science and technology as the strategic support for national development’. At this conference, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized: ‘Accelerate the construction of a powerful country in science and technology, and realize high-level science and technology self-reliance.’ Achieving high-level science and technology self-reliance responds to China's urgent need to cope with the unprecedented changes in the world in the past century, reflects the objective requirements of building a socialist modern country in an all-round way and realizing the overall strategic situation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, embodies the profound understanding of the complicated international environment and global competition pattern by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, and scientifically judges the new round of scientific and technological revolution and the general trend of industrial transformation, and points out the strategic direction and provides fundamental compliance for China's scientific and technological innovation.” 党的十九届五中全会提出:“坚持创新在我国现代化建设全局中的核心地位,把科技自立自强作为国家发展的战略支撑”. 在这次大会上,习近平总书记强调:“加快建设科技强国,实现高水平科技自立自强”. 实现高水平科技自立自强,回应了我国应对世界百年未有之大变局的紧迫需要,反映了全面建设社会主义现代化国家、实现中华民族伟大复兴战略全局的客观要求,体现了以习近平同志为核心的党中央对错综复杂的国际环境和全球竞争格局的深刻认识、对新一轮科技革命与产业变革大势的科学研判,为我国科技创新指明了战略方向、提供了根本遵循.

Hou then writes that “achieving high-level science and technology self-reliance requires us to pay more attention to cutting-edge basic research, greatly improve the original innovation ability, and strive to consolidate the deep foundation of science and technology self-reliance; We are required to proceed from the urgent needs and long-term needs of the country, accelerate the breakthrough of a number of key core technologies, and realize the independent control of important fields and industrial technologies; We are required to aim at the basic core areas related to the overall situation of the country and national security, strengthen the strategic and reserve forward-looking scientific and technological layout, and strive to seize the commanding heights of future science and technology and industrial development…” 实现高水平科技自立自强, 要求我们更加重视前沿基础研究, 大幅提高原始创新能力, 努力夯实科技自立自强的深厚根基; 要求我们从国家急迫需要和长远需求出发,加快突破一批关键核心技术, 实现重要领域和产业技术的自主可控; 要求我们瞄准事关国家全局和国家安全的基础核心领域,加强战略性, 储备性前瞻科技布局, 努力抢占未来科技和产业发展制高点; 要求我们加快适应科研范式深刻变革和学科交叉融合的新要求,优化创新资源整合和创新要素配置, 提高国家创新体系整体效能;要求我们大力促进科学技术和经济社会发展加速渗透融合, 更好发挥科技创新的支撑引领作用.

He then talks about these in some detail, essentially reaffirming what Xi had said in his speech. Hou then has advice for his colleagues:

“As the highest academic institution of science and technology and an important part of the national strategic science and technology force, the Chinese Academy of Sciences should always be mindful of national affairs and shoulder national responsibilities, further improve its ideological awareness, enhance its consciousness of action to fulfil the mission of high-level scientific and technological self-reliance and self-improvement, strengthen its sense of responsibility, focus on its main duties, actively play the role of academic leadership, the role of key core technology research, the role of innovative talent training, focus on solving major scientific problems, focus on breaking through key core technologies, focus on the discovery, training and gathering of a number of leading scientific and technological talents and high-level innovation teams.” 作为国家科学技术界的最高学术机构、国家战略科技力量的重要组成部分, 中国科学院要始终心系国家事, 肩扛国家责,进一步提高思想认识, 增强履行高水平科技自立自强使命的思想自觉和行动自觉,强化责任意识,聚焦主责主业,积极发挥学术引领作用、关键核心技术攻关作用, 创新人才培养作用,着力解决重大科学问题, 着力突破关键核心技术,着力发现、培养、集聚一批科技领军人才和高水平创新团队.

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Page 17: On the International page today, we have a Zhong Sheng commentary. This one’s about US senators visiting Taiwan and the US supplying vaccines to Taiwan. It argues that

“Some US politicians try very hard, but the world can see very clearly that these are just political calculations of US-Taiwan collusion of ‘using the excuse of prevention, with the intention of provocation’, provoking cross-strait relations and undermining peace in the Taiwan Strait. 美国一些政客表演得很卖力,但世人看得十分清楚,这些不过是美台勾连“假防疫、真挑衅”的政治算计,挑衅两岸关系,破坏台海和平. 

The piece then says that the mainland is concerned about the “grim” pandemic situation in Taiwan and wants to provide WHO approved Chinese vaccines. It also quotes, without sourcing, a figure that “more than 80% of the people in Taiwan are willing to receive vaccines from the mainland.” 

“However, the DPP authorities have ignored public opinion and are obsessed with political manipulation of the vaccine issue. While inventing various excuses to prevent Taiwan compatriots from using mainland vaccines, they have collaborated with some politicians in the United States to engage in the trick of ‘using the excuse of prevention, with the intention of provocation,’ while being indifferent to the lives and health of Taiwan compatriots.” 美国一些政客表演得很卖力,但世人看得十分清楚,这些不过是美台勾连“假防疫、真挑衅”的政治算计,挑衅两岸关系,破坏台海和平.

The commentary then says that the “United States is providing vaccines to Taiwan as a pretence, and interference in China's internal affairs is its real purpose…Recently, some people have ‘developed ideas’ for the US government to use vaccine resources in ‘key areas’ in order to maximise strategic effects. It is precisely for this purpose that some American politicians have begun to focus on delivering vaccines to Taiwan.” 近期, 有人为美国政府“出点子”, 将疫苗资源用在“关键地区”, 以谋求战略效果最大化. 正是出于这样的目的,美国一些政客开始上心为台湾送疫苗.

The next paragraph makes the point that “the Chinese government will never accept the practice of using the epidemic to engage in political shows and interfere in China's internal affairs.” Then there’s a warning to “some US politicians” who “regard the Taiwan issue as a tool to increase pressure on China” but do not realise that they are “playing with fire.”

“The Taiwan issue is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations. The one-China principle is the political foundation and insurmountable red line in Sino-US relations. The United States must understand that the Chinese government has no room for compromise on the Taiwan issue and no room for concessions.” 台湾问题是中美关系中最重要, 最敏感的问题, 一个中国原则是中美关系的政治基础和不可逾越的红线. 美方必须明白, 中国政府在台湾问题上没有妥协余地, 没有退让空间, 中方捍卫国家主权和领土完整的决心坚定不移.

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We also have a piece that draws from different international media outlets and commentators to say that the G7 meeting did not measure up to what the world expects. And there’s a short report about gun violence in America being on the rise. The report quotes CNN to say that “as of the end of May, the number of deaths due to gun violence in the United States has increased by 23% over the same period last year.”