Discover more from Tracking People's Daily
What is Common Prosperity? - Li on Energy Challenges - China-EU Environment & Climate Dialogue - Flooding in Shanxi & Shaanxi - The Taiwan Question
Here are the stories and pieces from the October 12, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: Let’s begin with three very brief reports. First, Xi sent a message of condolence to Putin over the crash of a Russian plane in the Republic of Tatarstan, resulting in heavy casualties. Second, a report that Xi Jinping will be addressing the COP15 leaders’ summit. The COP15 meeting is happening in Kunming, but Xi’s still addressing via video link. Third, Xi’s speech at the UNGA this year has been published as a booklet.
Moving on, there’s a commentary on the page that draws from Xi’s speech about the 1911 revolution. The focus here is Taiwan. This begins by reiterating Xi’s comments that the “Taiwan question” was a product of “national weakness and chaos” and would be “resolved with national rejuvenation.” It later adds that “reunification” is the “inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era and an irresistible historical trend.” 祖国必须统一，也必然统一，这是新时代中华民族伟大复兴的必然要求，是不可阻挡的历史潮流.
Quick thought: I guess this was understood in the past too, but the piece makes it quite explicit that Xi’s linking “reunification” with national rejuvenation. So in this sense, he is committing the PRC to a timeline. But that timeline need not be immediate, given that national rejuvenation is a long-term process with significant gains targeted by 2035.
The piece calls the CCP, Sun Yat-sen’s revolution’s “staunchest supporters, most loyal collaborators and most faithful successors.” (作为孙中山先生革命事业最坚定的支持者、最忠诚的合作者、最忠实的继承者) The commentary reiterates that “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems are the best way to achieve national reunification.” “和平统一, 一国两制” 是实现国家统一的最佳方式. It adds that “Taiwan independence” is a “dead end.” And then it says that “History has fully proved that those who forget their ancestors, betray the motherland and split the country will never come to a good end and will surely be spurned by the people and judged by history!” 历史充分证明: 凡是数典忘祖、背叛祖国、分裂国家的人, 从来没有好下场，必将遭到人民的唾弃和历史的审判!
Next, a report on Li Keqiang chairing a national energy committee meeting in Beijing. Li is reported to have said that “at present, the international environment and global energy pattern and system are undergoing profound changes, and China's energy development and security are facing new challenges.”
The post-meeting readout said that China “should balance development and carbon reduction, deepen market-based reform in the energy sector, and promote green transformation.” The report adds Li as saying that “China is still a developing country, and development is the foundation and key to solving all problems.” (Not new, but I think it’s really interesting that he reiterates this frequently.) He talked about energy security being linked to national security and about challenges related to supply shortages.
Li added: “We will optimize the distribution of coal production capacity, build advanced coal power plants in accordance with development needs, and continue to shut down backward coal power plants in an orderly manner. We will step up domestic oil and gas exploration and development, actively develop shale gas and coalbed methane, and carry out diversified international oil and gas cooperation. We will strengthen the capacity to reserve gas and oil, promote the large-scale application of advanced energy storage technologies, and continuously enrich the insurance tools for the secure supply of energy.” 要针对以煤为主的能源资源禀赋，优化煤炭产能布局，根据发展需要合理建设先进煤电，继续有序淘汰落后煤电。加大国内油气勘探开发，积极发展页岩气、煤层气，多元开展国际油气合作。加强煤气油储备能力建设，推进先进储能技术规模化应用，不断丰富能源安全供应的保险工具.
Li reiterated the goal of carbon peak, but added that it is important to have a step-by-step roadmap to getting there. Interestingly, given the current energy supply situation, Li spoke about the need to “correct the ‘one-size-fits-all’ restrictions on electricity production or campaign-style ‘carbon reduction’ in some places.” His worry is the winter in the north and energy supply for industries. 从实际出发，纠正有的地方“一刀切”限电限产或运动式“减碳”，确保北方群众温暖安全过冬，保障产业链供应链稳定和经济持续平稳发展. He, however, added: “We will vigorously promote the clean use of coal, increase the proportion of clean energy in total energy consumption, intensify efforts to improve energy conservation and emissions reduction in key areas, advocate energy conservation throughout society, and enhance our capacity for green development.” 大力推动煤炭清洁利用，提高清洁能源比重，深入推进重点领域节能减排改造，在全社会倡导节约用能, 不断提升绿色发展能力.
Then there’s another commentary on the page about the spirit of scientists scaling the world’s scientific and technological heights. This begins with a quote from Xi emphasising the “spirit of patriotism” among scientists. After some reiteration of this point, we are told that in today’s era, “now, more than ever before, China needs scientific and technological solutions for its economic and social development and improvement of people’s livelihood, and we need to strengthen innovation as the primary driving force.”
The piece then reiterates the 2035 goals and adds that scientists should “shoulder the heavy responsibilities entrusted by the times: vigorously carry forward the patriotic spirit of caring for the motherland and serving the people, adhere to the supremacy of national interests and people's interests, and strive to overcome the basic frontier problems and those related to key core technologies related to national security, economic development, ecological protection and improvement of people’s livelihood.” “科学成就离不开精神支撑。”奋斗新时代、奋进新征程，我国广大科技工作者要进一步弘扬科学家精神，肩负起时代赋予的重任：大力弘扬胸怀祖国、服务人民的爱国精神，坚持国家利益和人民利益至上，着力攻克事关国家安全、经济发展、生态保护、民生改善的基础前沿难题和核心关键技术.
multilateralism should be upheld, and dialogue and exchange should be promoted to formulate the post-2020 action plan in a scientific, ambitious and pragmatic way
investment should be boosted and resources mobilized to provide greater support for the protection and sustainable utilization of biological diversity
reform should be accelerated, and biodiversity conservation should be prioritized to intensify the protection and restoration of ecosystems, and to address global environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and food security.
He also said that China will draw up a national biodiversity conservation strategy and action plan.
Page 2: Yesterday, we saw the start of a series of reports on the functioning of the NPC. I am not sure what these are presaging, but they seem to be a statement about the system of whole process democracy and in defense of criticism of the Chinese system being undemocratic and not representative.
The piece yesterday talked about the NPCSC’s work in ensuring effective supervision over the NPC, which promotes “the implementation of the decision-making arrangements of the CPC Central Committee” and promotes “the effective implementation of constitutional laws.” The piece had told us that the NPCSC adheres to Xi Thought, and how its work was important in the battle against COVID-19 and in terms of poverty alleviation.
In today’s paper, we have a piece about how the NPC and its SC have sought to support and improve the work of NPC deputies through study and investigation tours. There’s some data in this regard about the number of study sessions and number of deputies who have participated in these
There’s also a sizeable chunk in the piece about how deputies are connected to the grassroots. For instance, the piece tells us that ”People’s Congresses at various levels have built more than 220,000 representative liaison stations and representative homes, and basically covered all towns, townships and streets throughout the country. Deputies at all levels go to the representative liaison station nearby to meet with the masses and listen to their opinions. These centers play the role of ‘propaganda station, public opinion window, connecting bridge, supervision post and large classroom’.” 各级人大已建成22万多个代表联络站和代表之家，全国基本实现乡镇、街道全覆盖。各级人大代表就近到代表联络站，接待群众、听取意见，发挥了“宣传站、民意窗、连心桥、监督岗、大课堂”的作用.
Wang said that China would like to further synergize development strategies with Kenya, take an active part in the Big Four Agenda of the country under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, promote the smooth operation of such programs as the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Nairobi-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway, and deepen bilateral cooperation in areas including communications, healthcare and education, so as to help Kenya boost post-pandemic economic recovery, Wang noted, adding that China will continue to support Kenya to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wang added that China supports Kenya in assuming the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month. He added that the forthcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which will be held in Senegal, is not only the most important platform for China-Africa cooperation, but also a banner for South-South cooperation.
The report ends by saying that “Kenya is ready to strengthen communication and coordination, as well as mutual support, with China in multilateral fields, and hopes that both sides will continue their sound cooperation within the framework of the UN Security Council, and stand together against ‘vaccine nationalism,’ Omamo added.”
Next, we have the joint statement after the Second EU-China High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue. The English version of the document is available here. Some key points:
The EU has submitted its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution and long-term climate-neutral strategy to the UNFCCC. China will submit its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution and mid-century long-term low greenhouse-gas emission development strategy before UNFCCC COP26
Both sides will cooperate to promote a successful COP26 in Glasgow. They will work together, and with other Parties, to achieve the complete implementation of the Paris Agreement, in particular Article 6, and to advance global climate ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance.
Both sides recognise that accelerating the development of alternatives to fossil fuel energies will allow us to achieve the Paris Agreement’s targets. They commit to strengthen exchanges and discuss together policies, measures, and technologies to decarbonize industry and power. They acknowledge that inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption are not in line with these goals and will pursue their efforts to address this issue.
Both sides also agreed to cooperate for the full implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to facilitate an ambitious, realistic and balanced “post-2020 global biodiversity framework” to be adopted at the COP15 with clear and where feasible, measurable goals and targets and appropriate mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review, as well as strong provisions for implementation and planning, and means to support implementation. This would aim at reversing the global biodiversity loss, and, by 2030, put nature on a path to recovery, and realize the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. China and EU will strengthen cooperation and work together to ensure all the success of the COP15 to be held in Kunming. --- I guess this is the most immediate actionable item.
Third, we have a report about foreigners reacting positively to Xi’s speech around the 1911 Revolution. Finally, a report (English version) about the Xinjiang government doing a press briefing defending its human rights record. Xu Guixiang, a spokesperson with the Xinjiang government, said that at the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, some Western countries made groundless accusations against China over Xinjiang-related issues based on disinformation, rumors, and lies. Xu said that this was nothing but interference in China’s internal affairs.
Here’s an excerpt from the English report, which makes the point that the PD report also does:
Memet Jume, vice president of the Xinjiang Islamic Institute and imam of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, showed a plaque of the mosque, countering the lie posted on the social media account of the U.S. Embassy in China claiming that the “100-year-plus-old plaque” was gone as a result of the “Chinese government's suppression of Islam in Xinjiang.” But the truth is the plaque, which actually originated in 1982, had undergone some repair work and moved from the entrance of the mosque to an outer wall of the main prayer hall where it is sheltered by a canopy, according to the imam. Relating their own life experiences and stories via video link, representatives from Aksu and Hotan also denounced the lies of the cotton farm “forced labor” as well as “violations of the rights and interests of ethnic minority women.”
Page 4: BBC reports that more than 1.76 million people have been affected by severe flooding in China's northern Shanxi province, according to local media. But PD tells us that in order to support Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces to cope with the floods, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management on October 11 have allocated 80 million yuan in emergency relief funds. There’s no data here about the damage that the flooding has caused. Of course, other Chinese outlets have covered this. For instance, here is a CGTN video story about 2 million people being affected. Also, we are informed that the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Emergency Management also jointly activated a Level-IV emergency response to floods, the lowest in the country's four-tier warning system.
Next, we have a commentary on the page about common prosperity. This looks like the first in a series by the PD’s editorial department. The piece says that “the 14th Five-Year Plan and the outline of the vision for 2035 clearly state that ‘more tangible progress will be made in promoting all-round human development and common prosperity for all’.” We are told that “common prosperity is the essential requirement of socialism and an important feature of Chinese modernisation...Achieving common prosperity is not only an economic issue, but also a major political issue related to the ruling foundation of the Party. It is not only a development goal, but also an important embodiment of our party's fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly.” 实现共同富裕不仅是经济问题，而且是关系党的执政基础的重大政治问题；不仅是发展目标，而且是我们党坚持全心全意为人民服务根本宗旨的重要体现.
“After the reform and opening up, our Party has profoundly summed up the positive and negative historical experiences, realized that poverty is not socialism, broke the shackles of the traditional system, allowed some people and some regions to get rich first, and promoted the liberation and development of social productive forces. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has placed the gradual realization of the common prosperity of all the people in a more important position, and has taken effective measures to safeguard and improve people’s livelihood, won the battle against poverty, and built a well-off society in an all-round way, thereby creating favorable conditions for promoting common prosperity. Now, we are moving towards the goal of the second century, adapting to the changes of major contradictions in our society and better meeting the people’s growing needs for a better life. We must take promoting the common prosperity of all the people as the focus of seeking happiness for the people, and constantly consolidate the long-term ruling foundation of the Party. 改革开放后，我们党深刻总结正反两方面历史经验，认识到贫穷不是社会主义，打破传统体制束缚，允许一部分人、一部分地区先富起来，推动解放和发展社会生产力。党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为核心的党中央把逐步实现全体人民共同富裕摆在更加重要的位置上，采取有力措施保障和改善民生，打赢脱贫攻坚战，全面建成小康社会，为促进共同富裕创造了良好条件。现在，我们正在向第二个百年奋斗目标迈进，适应我国社会主要矛盾的变化，更好满足人民日益增长的美好生活需要，必须把促进全体人民共同富裕作为为人民谋幸福的着力点，不断夯实党长期执政基础.
“A correct understanding of the historical position and development stage is the fundamental basis for us to formulate our line, principles and policies. Given that China is still in the primary stage of socialism, is still a developing country, and the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development is still prominent, promoting common prosperity for all of our people is a long-term task, and we must fully assess its long-term, arduous and complex nature. Realizing common prosperity is a dynamic process that cannot be achieved overnight or in parallel. Common prosperity does not mean prosperity for all at the same time. It is only natural that there are moderate differences between regions, urban and rural areas, and individuals, and we cannot expect all regions and all people to achieve prosperity at the same time. Common prosperity is not equal prosperity, and it cannot require different regions and different people to achieve the same national income and living standards. ‘Prosperity’ refers to efficiency and calls for a bigger pie, while ‘common’ refers to equity and calls for a better division of the pie. In pursuing common prosperity, we should balance efficiency and equity. We should divide the pie well in the process of making the pie bigger and promote common prosperity through high-quality development.” 正确认识历史方位和发展阶段，是我们制定路线方针政策的根本依据。考虑到我国仍处于社会主义初级阶段，仍是发展中国家，发展不平衡不充分问题仍然突出，因此促进全体人民共同富裕是一项长期任务，对其长期性、艰巨性、复杂性要有充分估计。要看到，实现共同富裕是一个在动态中向前发展的过程，不可能一蹴而就，也不可能齐头并进。共同富裕不是同时同步富裕，区域、城乡及个体间存在适度差异是正常的，不能要求所有地区、所有人同时富裕；共同富裕也不是同等富裕，不能要求不同区域、不同人群都达到全国一致的收入和生活水平。“富裕”体现效率、要求做大蛋糕，“共同”体现公平、要求分好蛋糕，我们追求共同富裕是统筹效率和公平，在不断做大蛋糕的过程中分好蛋糕，在高质量发展中促进共同富裕. — Do recall what I had written about Li Keqiang’s comments at the National Day banquet.
The next paragraph says that:
“Common prosperity is the prosperity of all people, not a few people, nor uniform egalitarianism. We should promote common prosperity in stages. This requires both a long-term vision and pragmatic actions; it is necessary to have both goal awareness and process awareness. We should have both common goals and individual paths. Different localities have different realities and levels of development. We need to take into account their needs and possibilities, set development goals in light of local conditions, formulate policies and arrangements, and make gradual progress in accordance with the law of economic and social development. At the same time, the realization of common prosperity is also a realistic task, which cannot wait. We should take the initiative to solve problems such as the regional gap, urban-rural gap and income gap, promote all-round social progress and people’s all-round development, promote social fairness and justice, make development achievements more fair and benefit all the people, and constantly enhance people’s sense of gain, happiness and security, so that people can truly feel that common prosperity is not just a slogan, but a visible, tangible and real fact.” 共同富裕是全体人民的富裕，不是少数人的富裕，也不是整齐划一的平均主义，要分阶段促进共同富裕。这就既要有长远眼光，也要有务实行动；既要有目标意识，也要有过程意识；既要有共性目标，也要有个性路径。各个地方实际情况各异、发展水平不同，要统筹考虑需要和可能，因时因势因地制宜设定发展目标，作出政策设计安排，按照经济社会发展规律循序渐进。同时，实现共同富裕也是一项现实任务，这项工作不能等。要自觉主动解决地区差距、城乡差距、收入差距等问题，推动社会全面进步和人的全面发展，促进社会公平正义，让发展成果更多更公平惠及全体人民，不断增强人民群众获得感、幸福感、安全感，让人民群众真真切切感受到共同富裕不仅仅是一个口号，而是看得见、摸得着、真实可感的事实.
Along with the above, I also suggest reading this from China Media Project: China’s Leftist Prophet Speaks Again.
Page 9: On the Theory page, the lead piece is by Zhang Yong, Director of the Secretariat of the Office of the Central Financial and Economic Commission. The core point he makes is about the Party leading economic work, and adherence to Xi Thought. Xi gets 11 mentions here. Within this framework, he argues that:
We will ensure unwavering Party leadership over economic work.
We should seek truth from facts and respect economic laws.
We must accurately understand developments and changes in the principal contradiction facing society.
We must accurately understand developments and changes in the principal contradiction facing society.
We will continue to balance development and security.
We will continue to strengthen united front work in the non-public sector.
Page 10: Zhang Zhanbin from the Dean of the School of Marxism at the Central Party School writes about common prosperity. He says that:
The pursuit of common prosperity runs through the historical process of the formation and development of China’s modernization path.
The pursuit of common prosperity is reflected in the goal of continuous enrichment and development of Chinese modernization.
The pursuit of common prosperity has made clear the inevitable requirement of China’s modernisation path.
The pursuit of common prosperity reveals the profound cultural heritage of China’s modernisation path.
Page 13: We have a report telling us that from January to August 2021, the national discipline inspection and supervision organs have investigated and dealt with 97,000 corruption and work-style-related cases, and criticized and educated 139,000 people, of which 86,000 were given disciplinary sanctions.