State Council Reviews Economic Measures Implementation - Interview with Pan Gongsheng - China-Central Asian FMs Meeting + Data Security Deal - Historical Confidence - Training China's Teachers
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy in the Thursday, June 9, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: At the top of the page is a report about the development of water conservancy projects. It says that:
“Since the 18th Party Congress, the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made overall plans to prevent and control water disasters, conserve water resources, protect and restore water ecosystems, and improve the water environment, carrying out a series of fundamental, pioneering, and long-term work. Yangtze River Economic Belt ecological environment protection has undergone a turnaround. The ecological environment along the Yellow River basin has continued to improve markedly. Historic improvements have been made to rivers and lakes, deep-rooted changes have been made in the way water resources are used, the overall pattern of water resources allocation has been optimised, and the construction of the main framework and major arteries of the national water network has been accelerated…” 党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为核心的党中央统筹推进水灾害防治、水资源节约、水生态保护修复、水环境治理，开展一系列根本性、开创性、长远性工作。长江经济带生态环境保护发生了转折性变化，黄河流域生态环境持续明显向好，江河湖泊面貌实现历史性改善，水资源利用方式实现深层次变革，水资源配置格局实现全局性优化，国家水网主骨架和大动脉加快建设。一座座水库、一道道堤防、一条条输水管道……清水长流，惠泽亿万百姓，江河迤逦，扮靓美丽中国。一幅幅人水和谐的壮美画卷徐徐展开.
In 2021, 28.25 million mu of high-efficiency water-saving irrigation works were added nationwide. At present, there are 23,535 water-saving industrial enterprises in the country. In 2021, China's water consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP was 51.8 cubic metres, and the water consumption per 10,000 yuan of industrial value added was 28.2 cubic metres, down by 32.1% and 43.9%, respectively, compared with 2015. 精打细算用水。2021年全国新增高效节水灌溉2825万亩，目前我国累计创建节水型工业企业23535个。2021年我国万元国内生产总值用水量51.8立方米、万元工业增加值用水量28.2立方米，分别比2015年下降32.1%和43.9%.
The piece also talks about the strengthening of the system of river and lake chiefs, which has been implemented at four different levels – provinces, cities, counties and townships. It also says that since the 18th Party Congress, the issue of provision of safe drinking water for rural people and the poor has been significantly addressed. It adds that the rate of tap water penetration in rural areas across the country was 84% as of 2021.
The other top story on the page is the Shandong chapter in the series on following Xi Jinping’s footprints. The headline for this talks about building a “powerful modern socialist province in a new era.”
After these, there’s a report on the State Council’s weekly meeting. Xinhua English has a detailed story too. During this meeting, Li heard a report on the special inspections carried out by the task forces the State Council sent to 12 provinces regarding the work to maintain steady growth, support market entities and ensure stable employment.
“As shown in the inspections, local governments have expedited implementation of the policies set out at the Central Economic Work Conference and in the Government Work Report, and the package of measures for stabilizing economic activity. Many localities have rolled out their support measures, to increase factors sustaining a sound momentum of economic activity and boost market confidence. Meanwhile, the inspections have also spotted certain problems in some localities such as insufficient and imprecise implementation of policies, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in work, and imposition of arbitrary charges and fines…The meeting noted the still acute downward pressure facing the economy, and the need to effectively coordinate COVID-19 response with economic and social development. Localities should assume the responsibilities for ensuring people's livelihood, and have a stronger sense of urgency to further flesh out and implement the policy measures for stable growth, in a bid to further unleash the effects of these policies, achieve reasonable growth in the second quarter and keep overall economic performance stable.”
After this, we get a list of actions planned going forward:
The General Office of the State Council will give feedback to localities and departments on the problems found in the inspections, and prominent ones will be circulated for reference. All parties should fully examine the existing problems, draw lessons from them and fix them as quickly as possible.
The General Office will conduct due oversight on the rectification, and launch the internet plus model of inspection to follow up on policy implementation and promote solutions to emerging problems.
The State Council will carry out inspections in provincial regions that were not covered by this round of special inspections during its annual accountability inspections on their work of ensuring stability in economic growth, the operation of market entities and employment.
Localities need to ensure policy implementation based on conditions on the ground. Policy support will be intensified with a special focus on keeping the operation of market entities and payrolls stable and maintaining steady job creation.
“All summer grains must be harvested into granary, summer ploughing taken forward smoothly and supply of coal-fired power kept stable, to underpin price stability. Efforts will be made to further smooth transport and logistics, and to resolve such problems as partial-capacity production upon resumption and unharmonized production of enterprises on the industrial chains. Policies and administrative measures unhelpful to shoring up market confidence will be abolished. Concrete efforts will be made to further flesh out each and every policy measure. Localities that have yet to adopt support measures for policy steps to keep economic activity stable and departments yet to issue detailed implementation guidelines must speed up efforts to do so. Competent departments should carefully study the opinions and suggestions raised by relevant parties in the inspections. Policies should be improved wherever necessary.”
Also: “The meeting noted that opening-up is China's basic national policy. Stable foreign trade and investment are critical to overall economic performance and employment. Efforts should be made to open up wider, and more support should be provided while policies to stabilize foreign trade and investment are rolled out.”
stabilising foreign trade and investment and ensuring smooth logistics
providing timely, coordinated solutions to difficulties facing foreign trade and foreign-invested enterprises in resumption of full-capacity production
policy to process export tax rebates for good-faith enterprises within three working days will be implemented on a time-limited basis
port loading, unloading, transshipment and customs clearance efficiency will be enhanced
catalogue of encouraged manufacturing industries for foreign investment in the central and western regions will be expanded
Next, a report that informs us that in May, China’s China’s national railway freight volume was 340 million tons of goods, an increase of 21.1 million tons compared with the same period last year. Also in May, there were 1,357 China-Europe trains, which transported 129,500 TEU of cargo, with a daily average increase of 12% and 13.3% respectively; the new western land-sea channel trains sent 78,000 TEU of cargo, a year-on-year increase of 20.5%.
Page 2: There is a story with responses from key individuals on the policies adopted to stabilise the economy. Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China and director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. He talks about the State Council’s 33 measures to stabilise the economy. He says that the priority is to:
Focus on market players. This includes deferring principal and interest repayment, increasing inclusive small and micro loans, and optimising means of commercial bills of exchange, accounts receivable financing, financing guarantees, etc.
Focus on effective investment. Enhance stability of total credit growth, and increase credit support for key areas such as water conservancy, transportation, energy and other infrastructure construction and major projects through the establishment of a government-bank-enterprise docking mechanism.
Focus on reducing financing costs. He says: “deepen the reform of the quoted interest rate (LPR) in the loan market, give full play to the guiding role of LPR, and drive the corporate loan interest rate to decrease steadily.”
Fourth, focus on key areas. In this, he talks about increasing financial support for areas such as transportation and logistics, food and energy security, scientific and technological innovation, and stability of industrial chain and supply chain.
Fifth, focus on opening to the outside world. In this, he talks about supporting “qualified high-tech and ‘specialised, refined and new’ enterprises to engage in the foreign debt quota pilot, enrich foreign exchange market products, improve the exchange rate hedging ability of enterprises, and further optimise and facilitate foreign institutional investors to invest in China’s bond market.”
Pan also talks about three principles that must be kept in mind while implementing monetary and credit policies:
while stabilising economic growth, is the measure conducive to long-term sustainable economic development
while stabilising economic growth, it is important to maintain employment, price stability and balance of payments stability
while stabilising economic growth, it is necessary to guide financial institutions to adhere to marketisation and prudent operation, and effectively prevent financial risks 潘功胜表示，在实施货币信贷政策时注重把握好3项原则：一是在稳定经济增长的同时，有利于经济长期可持续发展；二是在稳定经济增长的同时，保持就业稳定、价格稳定和国际收支平衡；三是在稳定经济增长的同时，指导金融机构坚持市场化和审慎经营，有效防范金融风险.
Next, Zou Lan, director of the PBOC’s Monetary Policy Department of the People's Bank of China, says that the policy to defer principal and interest repayment saw financial institutions defer loan principal and interest repayment worth 16 trillion yuan, including 13.1 trillion yuan for small and medium-sized enterprises, in 2021.
There’s also a story about the improving COVID situation in Beijing. The number of new cases remains in single digits for five days in a row, and there’s no report of community transmission.
Page 3: The page is dominated by reporting of the third China + Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers’ meeting in Nur-Sultan. Wang Yi attended the meeting. First, a report (English report) informs that:
“Wang said that China and Central Asia, as close as lips and teeth, share weal and woe and move forward side by side as a community with a shared future. No matter how the international landscape may change, China will always firmly support the Central Asian countries in protecting their sovereignty and independence, pursuing development paths suited to their national conditions and building an autonomous Central Asia, he stressed. China unwaveringly supports the Central Asian countries in maintaining political security and social stability and building a peaceful Central Asia, supports the Central Asian countries in accelerating economic development, improving people's well-being and building a prosperous Central Asia, and supports the Central Asian countries in cementing solidarity and self-development, pursuing mutual benefit and win-win outcomes and building a cooperative Central Asia, he added.”
He then put forward a five-point proposal:
improve the frameworks for further cooperation; this includes a heads of state summit, and forums for sub-national, think tank, industrial and investment, and economic and trade cooperation, which China will host.
improve economic cooperation, which includes natural gas pipeline projects, the China-Europe freight train services, the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, the trans-Caspian transport corridor, digital Silk Road and green Silk Road cooperation, agriculture cooperation, and expanding the scale of local currency settlement.
safeguard regional peace in both traditional and non-traditional areas; this includes terrorism, drugs, disasters, the pandemic and joint efforts on Afghanistan.
people-to-people exchanges; this includes establishment of cultural centres, training of skillful workforce, poverty reduction, climate change, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection
global governance cooperation; this includes supporting GDI and GSI, cooperation at the UN, promoting “the common values shared by all mankind” and supporting “all countries in safeguarding their core interests.”
The C+C5 heads of state summit mechanism was agreed upon. Also, the following documents were signed:
joint declaration of the third C+C5 foreign ministers meeting
road map for implementation of the consensus of the virtual summit of C+C5
an initiative for cooperation of C+C5 countries in the field of data security
Summaries of some of the documents have been published in PD. I am providing some excerpts below. For instance, the joint statement from the meeting says that:
“All parties expressed that they should be vigilant against external forces interfering in regional affairs, and reiterated their determination to support the maintenance of security and stability of China and Central Asian countries.”
All parties pointed out that mediating the situation in Afghanistan as soon as possible is one of the key factors to maintain and consolidate the security and stability in Central Asia. All parties are willing to continue to work with the international community to support all relevant countries and international organisations in their efforts to maintain peace and stability in Afghanistan, overcome the humanitarian crisis, rebuild social and economic infrastructure and promote its integration into the world economic system, so as to achieve peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
They called for adhering to “the principle of non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs” and “the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the broad participation of all ethnic groups and political parties.”
“All parties support the Protocol to the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty to enter into force as soon as possible…”
This document also talks about cooperation in trade and investment, high-tech, transport and logistics, environmental protection, tourism, health, etc.
The data security document calls on countries and enterprises to: (NOTE: This is not the official translation. That would be critical to understand legal implications, if any. But this below offers a sense of what’s in the document.)
Treat data security comprehensively and objectively based on facts, and maintain the openness, security and stability of the global information technology products and services supply chain. 应以事实为依据全面客观看待数据安全问题，积极维护全球信息技术产品和服务的供应链开放、安全、稳定。
Oppose the use of information technology to damage/destroy other countries’ key information infrastructure or steal important data, and use it to engage in actions that endanger other countries’ national security and public interest. 反对利用信息技术破坏他国关键信息基础设施或窃取重要数据，以及利用其从事危害他国国家安全和社会公共利益的行为.
Prevent and stop the use of the Internet to infringe on personal information, oppose the misuse of information technology to engage in acts such as large-scale surveillance against other countries or illegally collecting personal information of citizens of other countries. 防范、制止利用网络侵害个人信息的行为，反对滥用信息技术从事针对他国的大规模监控、非法采集他国公民个人信息.
Enterprises must abide by the laws of the country where they are located and domestic enterprises must not be required to store and process data generated and acquired overseas in home countries. 呼吁企业遵守所在国法律，不得要求本国企业将境外产生、获取的数据在境内存储和处理.
All countries should respect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and security management rights of other countries, and should not directly ask enterprises or individuals for data located in other countries without the permission of other countries’ laws. 各国应尊重他国主权、司法管辖权和对数据的安全管理权，未经他国法律允许不得直接向企业或个人调取位于他国的数据.
If countries need to acquire cross-border data for law enforcement purposes, such as combating crimes, they should do so through mutual legal assistance channels or this must be done in accordance with agreements signed between countries. 各国如因打击犯罪等执法需要跨境调取数据，应通过司法协助渠道或根据国家间协定解决.
Cross-border data acquisition agreements between countries must not infringe upon the judicial sovereignty and data security of third countries. 国家间缔结跨境调取数据协议，不得侵犯第三国司法主权和数据安全. (Quick thought: How does one define infringement and then enforce this? Also, does this imply Beijing having a say in Kazakhstan’s data cooperation with Russia or any other country?)
IT products and services supply enterprises shall not set back doors in products and services to illegally obtain user data, control or manipulate user systems and equipment. 信息技术产品和服务供应企业不得在产品和服务中设置后门，非法获取用户数据、控制或操纵用户系统和设备.
IT companies shall not seek illegitimate gains by taking advantage of users' dependence on their products. Users must not be forced into upgrades and system upgrades except to meet the needs of maintaining users’ property security and social and public interests. (Quick thought: While this sounds like a user-based approach, this is basically giving governments greater control over tech enterprises. What does social and public interest mean?) Product providers should inform the partners and users of the safety defects or loopholes in their products in a timely manner, and propose remedial measures.信息技术企业不得利用用户对其产品依赖性谋取不正当利益。除出于维护用户财产安全和社会公共利益的需要外，不得强迫用户升级系统或更新换代。产品供应方承诺及时向合作伙伴及用户告知产品的安全缺陷或漏洞，并提出补救措施.
Finally, a brief report on the 2022 BRICS Business Council meeting in Beijing.
Page 8: Today, there’s the 13th piece excerpted from the book Face to Face with the Century-old Party. This one talks about how one should learn from history to create the future along the new journey. This begins by talking about the importance of historical confidence. The article says that in March this year, the State Council issued new Opinions on Promoting the Normalisation and Long-term Effectiveness of Party History Learning and Education. (My breakdown of the document from March can be found here.) This document calls to further promote the Party’s in-depth study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, consolidate and expand the achievements of Party history study and education.
Anyway, the piece says that the past decade has been one “a period of great national rejuvenation, national development and progress, and substantial improvement of people's living standards. The millennium-old dream of building a well-off society has become a reality; the problem of absolute poverty has been solved; an overwhelming victory has been achieved and consolidated in the anti-corruption struggle, and the environmental pollution has been fundamentally curbed ... Accomplishing these great feats in such a short span of time is of decisive significance not only in the history of the Chinese nation and the Communist Party of China, but also in the history of the development of human society. It is a matter of pride and glory for the Chinese people living in this era to witness and participate in the creation of great history.” 深沉的历史自信，从10年新时代伟大进程中来。历史发展的紧要处，往往只有几步。新时代的10年，是民族复兴伟业、国家发展进步、人民生活水平大幅度提高的时期。千年小康梦成为现实、绝对贫困问题在中华大地历史性地解决、反腐败斗争取得压倒性胜利并全面巩固、环境污染得到根本遏制……在如此短的时间内完成这些伟大壮举，不仅在中华民族、中国共产党历史上具有决定性意义，而且在人类社会发展史上也是值得大书特书的。生活在这个时代的中国人民，能够有幸亲身见证和参与创造伟大历史，是多么地自豪和光荣.
The article then talks about 2022 being an important year, given that the 20th Party Congress will be held this year. The author argues that the CCP is a “worthy leader of the Chinese nation and people;” this is “a scientific conclusion drawn from history and practice” of the past 100 years. The author adds:
“Looking back on history and comparing it with the present, the people wholeheartedly support and appreciate the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and sincerely love and admire the core of the Party and the people’s leader from the bottom of their hearts.” 在历史回望和现实比较中，人民对中国共产党领导衷心拥护和认同，对新时代党的核心、人民的领袖发自内心地爱戴和敬仰.
The author adds that the 20th Party Congress will devise clearer and specific strategic plans for China’s development path and modernisation drive, which will surely provide clearer guidance and inject fresh strength into the cause of national rejuvenation. It will also yield target arrangements and deployments based on the problems that China is facing today.
Page 9: The lead piece on the theory page is by the Party Group of the Ministry of Education. The first chunk of the piece basically focuses on the education of teachers, who must then play a critical role in cultivating socialist builders. The article talks about the Ministry’s April 2022 plan for building stronger, high-quality teachers to strengthen the country’s basic education system. The article quotes Xi calling teachers “engineers of the soul” and “inheritors of human civilisation.”
There’s emphasis on basic education, technical education, and building a team of educators “who do not forget the original intention of cultivating people through virtue, who keep in mind the mission of educating people for the Party and cultivating talents for the country, and who cultivate socialist builders and successors with all-round development of morality, intelligence, physique, beauty and labour in order to support for the realisation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The piece later calls to take the ideological and political work and the construction of teachers’ morality and work style as the top priority and make further improvements. It calls to:
“Adhere to the education of educators first, integrate Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the New Era into teacher training courses, guide teachers to deeply understand the decisive significance of the ‘Two Establishments’, strengthen ‘four consciousnesses’, strengthen ‘four self-confidences’ and achieve ‘two safeguards’...” 以思想政治和师德师风建设为首要，进一步提升教师队伍思想政治和师德师风素质。坚持教育者先受教育，将新时代中国特色社会主义思想融入教师培养培训课程，引导广大教师深刻领会“两个确立”的决定性意义，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”。
The piece, of course, talks about much more than just the above-mentioned political principle for teachers’ training, although it’s important to note that it is politics first.
The piece also talks about improving evaluation methods, improving training systems, bettering the personnel management, benchmarking of salaries, expanding the presence of teachers in rural and underdeveloped areas, and use of technology.