Discover more from Tracking People's Daily
Xi & China's Tech Advancement - Auto Exports Soar - Organization Department as the 'Vanguard to Support the Two Establishments'
Here are the key reports and articles that I found noteworthy from the People's Daily's edition on Monday, May 29, 2023.
Page 1: It’s a low-news front page today. The lead story (English report) is about the publication of a new book of discourses by Xi Jinping on self-reliance and strength in science and technology. The book compiles 50 texts, ranging from a period of March 2013 to December 2022. The report informs that these are of “great guiding significance for turning China into a sci-tech powerhouse, boosting its high-level self-reliance and strength in science and technology, and promoting its high-quality development.” The second page has an article detailing the contents of the book.
Also on the front page is a long, long feature article discussing China’s technological development over the past decade – of course, the emphasis is on how Xi has led this. The piece takes up space on the front page and all of Page 3. I am doing select excerpts of bits that I found noteworthy.
The first section talks about the September 30, 2013, group study session of the Politburo, where Xi discussed the innovation-driven development strategy. Among the many things he said, this bit is worth noting:
“After driving at high speed for decades, the giant ship that is China has reached a historical threshold - its economic aggregate has jumped to the second place in the world, but its innovation ability is not strong, which has become the ‘Achilles' heel’ of this economic giant. ‘Leading and driving development through innovation has become an urgent requirement for our country’s development.’ ‘If you grasp innovation, you will grasp the crux of the issue that affects the overall economic and social development’. This is a far-reaching plan to accurately recognize, respond scientifically, and actively seek change.” 高速行驶几十年，中国号巨轮来到历史关口——经济总量跃居世界第二，但创新能力不强，成为这个经济大块头的“阿喀琉斯之踵”。“通过创新引领和驱动发展已经成为我国发展的迫切要求。”“抓住了创新，就抓住了牵动经济社会发展全局的‘牛鼻子’。”这是准确识变、科学应变、主动求变的深远谋划.
The section then continues to emphasise Xi’s focus on self-reliance and self-improvement. The second section has an interesting bit too. It begins by talking up the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as a modern-era scientific and technological marvel, but reminds that the sea over which this bridge passes is also a testament to the century of humiliation.
“The Opium War was launched using powerful ships and artillery; since then, modern China has been repeatedly defeated by countries that are far smaller to China in terms of economic aggregate, population size, and territory. ‘History tells us a truth: the strength of a country cannot be determined solely by the size of its economic aggregate, and the strength of a nation cannot be determined solely by its population size or territory. In modern history, one of the roots of China's backwardness and beatings is the backwardness of science and technology.’ On June 9, 2014, General Secretary Xi Jinping revealed the profound logic inherent in the historical evolution during the meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. ‘Whoever takes the lead in innovation will have the initiative to lead development’. The innovation ability of a country and nation fundamentally affects and even determines the future and destiny of the country and nation. The history of scientific and technological revolution and industrial revolution is also a history of the rise, replacement, and fall of world powers. From mechanisation, electrification, automation to informatization, major scientific and technological revolutions have driven economic and industrial revolutions, rewriting the balance of power between nations time and again. Seizing the critical opportunity bears on the second centenary goal of the Chinese nation. To seize the ‘critical opportunity’, scientific and technological innovation has become the main battlefield of international strategic competition.”
“Once upon a time, we were deeply troubled by the ‘Needham Question’ - ‘Although ancient China made many important contributions to the development of human technology, why did the scientific and industrial revolution not occur in modern China?’ Now, when the once-in-a-lifetime "historic convergence period" is approaching, and the risks of technological dependence are intensifying amid the profound once-in-a-century changes, the Chinese Communists ‘who are standing at the forefront of the world’, are responding calmly. Implementing the national big data strategy, the development trends of AI, the development trends of blockchain technology, and the research and application prospects of quantum technology...Since the 18th Party Congress, cutting-edge technology has repeatedly become the theme of collective learning in the Politburo.” 远眺伶仃洋，全长55公里的港珠澳大桥宛若蛟龙，蜿蜒腾越于蔚蓝的海面上。这座桥，创造了新时代的科技传奇——世界最长的跨海大桥，被称为桥梁建筑史上的“珠穆朗玛峰”；这片海，铭记着百余年前的民族耻辱——自鸦片战争被坚船利炮轰开大门，近代中国一次次被经济总量、人口规模、领土幅员远不如自己的国家打败。“历史告诉我们一个真理：一个国家是否强大不能单就经济总量大小而定，一个民族是否强盛也不能单凭人口规模、领土幅员多寡而定。近代史上，我国落后挨打的根子之一就是科技落后。”2014年6月9日，习近平总书记在两院院士大会上，揭示历史演进中蕴含的深刻逻辑。“谁在创新上先行一步，谁就能拥有引领发展的主动权。”一个国家和民族的创新能力，从根本上影响甚至决定国家和民族前途命运。一部科技革命和产业革命史，也是世界大国的崛起、更替、兴衰史。从机械化、电气化、自动化到信息化，重大科技革命带动经济产业革命，国与国的力量对比，一次次被改写。抢占“先机”，事关中华民族第二个百年奋斗目标。抢占“先机”，科技创新成为国际战略博弈的主战场。曾经，我们对“李约瑟之问”难以释怀——“尽管中国古代对人类科技发展作出了很多重要贡献，但为什么科学和工业革命没有在近代的中国发生？”而今，当千载难逢的“历史性交汇期”来临，当百年变局激荡下的技术依赖风险加剧，“站在世界地图前”的中国共产党人，从容应答。实施国家大数据战略、人工智能发展现状和趋势、区块链技术发展现状和趋势、量子科技研究和应用前景……党的十八大以来，前沿科技多次成为中共中央政治局集体学习的主题。
Section three discusses how China is taking a “path of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics.” The section after that emphasises holding the lifeline of technology in one’s own hands. The final section of the article is interesting. It argues that “scientific and technological achievements should benefit all mankind, and should not be used as a means to restrict or contain the development of other countries.”
There’s some bravado here too.
“For some time, in order to monopolise their own advantages, individual countries have politicised and weaponized economic and technological issues, built ‘small yards and high walls’, created ‘parallel systems’ and forced ‘decoupling and breaking of chains’, unjustifiably obstructing normal scientific and technological and cultural exchanges…The chip ban has not halted the pace of development of supercomputers in China. In November 2022, China had a total of 162 supercomputers listed in the new edition of the Top 500 list, consistently ranking first for many years in a row. In the face of extreme pressure and blockade, Huawei has continued to consolidate its technological base and build its long-term competitiveness. In 2021, Huawei ranked first in patent applications in Europe, and entered the top five in the number of patents granted in the United States for the first time. History and reality have shown time and again that those who violate the laws of scientific and technological development and undermine the common interests of the world are turning back the wheel of history and will only end up blocking their own path eventually. We firmly believe that ‘scientific and technological achievements should benefit all mankind, and should not be used as a means to limit or contain the development of other countries’.”
Next, there’s a brief report informing that from January to April, China exported 1.494 million automobiles, a year-on-year increase of 76.5%. The report informs that during this period, exports went to 204 countries and regions. BRI countries accounted for $13.64 billion or 45.9% of exports. Exports to developed economies reached $12.41 billion, up 1.2 times, accounting for 41.8% of the total. In the first four months, the export of new energy vehicles accounted for 42.9% of the total export value of automobiles, contributing 51.6% to the growth of automobile exports.
Page 2: There’s a report on the crew of the Shenzhou-16 manned space mission carrying out their final drills. It was announced today that the spacecraft will launch tomorrow at 09:31. Three taikonauts will be on board the craft. The Shenzhou-16 manned mission, the first manned mission since China's space station entered the application and development stage, will conduct fast automated rendezvous once in orbit and dock at the proximal port of the Tianhe core module, forming a combination of three modules and three spaceships.
Page 4: Today, this page is dedicated to moral posturing.
First, there’s an article by Keith Bennett, co-editor of the website Friends of Socialist China. He basically writes to praise Chinese-style modernization. He argues that “compared with the modernization path of Western capitalist countries, Chinese-style modernization pursues comprehensive, fair and sustainable development, and has embarked on a brand-new path to modernization.” 与西方资本主义国家的现代化道路相比，中国式现代化追求实现全面、公平、可持续发展，走出了一条全新的现代化道路。
He praises China’s poverty alleviation, narrowing of the “relative income gap between urban and rural residents in China” since the 18th Party Congress, basic medical insurance and social security network, etc, as part of the pursuit of common prosperity. And then writes:
“China’s efforts to promote the common prosperity of all people are of great significance for exploring and solving the polarisation between the rich and the poor in the process of modernization. For a long time, Western countries have sought to monopolise the definition of modernization. However, in the process of modernization in Western countries, there have been serious challenges of inequality, such as the gap between the rich and the poor. From a global perspective, the modernization of these Western countries is largely based on the plunder and exploitation of many other countries in the world. In Das Kapital, Marx profoundly criticised the primitive accumulation process of capitalism: ‘The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.’ Today, the problem of polarisation between the rich and the poor in Western countries is still outstanding; the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is still strengthening, and the social gap is widening.” 中国式现代化将实现全体人民共同富裕作为本质要求之一。这意味着中国努力让现代化建设成果更多更公平惠及全体中国人民。中共十八大以来，中国城乡居民收入相对差距持续缩小。中国打赢人类历史上规模最大的脱贫攻坚战，近1亿农村贫困人口实现脱贫。中国基本医疗保险覆盖13.6亿人，基本养老保险覆盖超10亿人，形成全球最大的社会保障网。中国消除绝对贫困，全面建成小康社会，为实现共同富裕奠定了坚实基础.
“China is well aware that the modernization of Western countries through war, colonisation, plunder, etc. has brought great suffering to the people of other countries, and insists on not following the old and bloody path of harming others for self-interest. China is committed to seeking its own development by maintaining world peace and development, and using its own development to better safeguard world peace and development. China has proposed the important concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind, jointly building BRI, GDI, GSI, and GCI,, demonstrating its responsibility to promote common development and prosperity of all countries. With the continuous advancement of Chinese-style modernization, China will surely make greater contributions to human progress.” 中国着力推进全体人民共同富裕，对于探索解决现代化进程中出现的贫富分化问题具有重要意义。很长一段时间内，西方国家试图垄断对现代化的定义。然而，西方国家在走向现代化的过程中出现了贫富差距悬殊等严重不平等问题。从全球维度看，这些西方国家的现代化很大程度上建立在对世界上许多其他国家的掠夺、剥削之上。马克思在《资本论》一书中对资本主义的原始积累过程进行了深刻批判：“美洲金银产地的发现，土著居民的被剿灭、被奴役和被埋葬于矿井，对东印度开始进行的征服和掠夺，非洲变成商业性地猎获黑人的场所：这一切标志着资本主义生产时代的曙光。”时至今日，西方国家内部贫富分化问题依旧突出，富者愈富、穷者愈穷的趋势仍在加强，社会鸿沟不断扩大.
Next, there’s an article, which is part of an ongoing series of pieces gathering positive comments from foreign observers about China’s system and modernisation. This piece makes the point that China’s “whole-process democracy” is the broadest, most authentic and most effective form of democracy.
Page 6: There’s a big article by the Central Organization Department’s theory study group. The piece essentially calls for in-depth study of the new volumes of selected readings of Xi Jinping thought. The core message is that everyone must “firmly support the Two Establishments and resolutely implement the two safeguards.
In fact, it argues that “adhering to the two establishments is the fundamental guarantee for realising the Party's mission and tasks in the new era and on the new journey.” Why you ask? The article explains:
“After continuous struggle, we have embarked on a new journey of building a comprehensively modern socialist country and are marching towards the second centennial goal. At present, the profound changes unseen in a century are accelerating around the world; the times and the history are unfolding in an unprecedented manner. On the road ahead, we will inevitably encounter a large number of brand-new issues that have never been encountered before; we will experience various difficulties and obstacles, and endure many major tests of high winds, high waves and even turbulent storms. The more complicated the situation, the arduous task and the severe challenge, the more it is necessary to have a mature, steady and prestigious/esteemed/outstanding (崇高威望) leadership core to navigate the ship, and the more necessary it is to use the Party's innovative theory to forge souls. The Two Establishments are the foundation of our confidence in doing all our work well, the source of victory in overcoming all difficulties and obstacles, and the greatest certainty in dealing with all uncertainties. They must be cherished, firmly maintained and persisted with for a long time.” 坚持“两个确立”是实现党在新时代新征程使命任务的根本保证。经过接续奋斗，我们已经迈上了全面建设社会主义现代化国家、向第二个百年奋斗目标进军的新征程。当前，世界百年未有之大变局加速演进，世界之变、时代之变、历史之变正以前所未有的方式展开，前进道路上必然会遇到大量从未出现过的全新课题、遭遇各种艰难险阻、经受许多风高浪急甚至惊涛骇浪的重大考验。越是形势复杂、任务艰巨、挑战严峻，越需要有一个成熟、稳健、有崇高威望的领导核心定向引航，越需要用党的创新理论凝心铸魂。“两个确立”是我们做好一切工作的信心之本，是战胜一切艰难险阻的胜利之源，是应对一切不确定性的最大确定性，必须倍加珍惜、坚定维护、长期坚持.
The second section further underscores this message. Each paragraph talks about a specific issue:
First, using Xi thought to forge souls; so in this, it emphasises the thematic education campaign.
Second, the piece says that Party's organisational advantages and organisational strength have been fully demonstrated in the big tests of poverty alleviation, rural revitalization, epidemic prevention and control, and emergency rescue and disaster relief operations. It adds: “On the new journey, we should firmly establish the systems concept, adhere to the guidance of differentiation, do a good job in Party organisation construction in different fields, further promote Party building to promote rural revitalization, deepen Party building to lead urban grassroots governance, strengthen the Party's building in new economic organisations, new social organisations, and among new employment groups, and continuously enhance the Party’s political leadership, ideological guidance, mass organisation capabilities, and social influence.” 新征程上，我们要树牢系统观念，坚持分类别指导、分领域抓好党组织建设，深入推进抓党建促乡村振兴，深化党建引领城市基层治理，加强新经济组织、新社会组织、新就业群体党的建设，不断增强党的政治领导力、思想引领力、群众组织力、社会号召力。
Third, on the new journey, we should firmly grasp the goal of being politically competent, adapting to the requirements of the new era and have the ability to lead modernization, pay special attention to the construction of leading bodies and cadres after the transition, strengthen education of Party spirit, purpose and performance outlook, pay attention to practical training and professional training, strengthen the comprehensive management and regular supervision of cadres, and better stimulate the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of cadres and officers.” 新征程上，我们要牢牢把握政治过硬、适应新时代要求、具备领导现代化建设能力的目标要求，突出抓好换届后领导班子和干部队伍建设，强化党性教育、宗旨教育和政绩观教育，注重实践锻炼、专业训练，加强对干部全方位管理和经常性监督，更好激发广大干部干事创业的积极性、主动性、创造性.
Fourth, implement the strategy of strengthening the country through talents.
Fifth, improve the institutionalisation, standardisation, and scientific level of the Party’s organisation construction, and continuously deepen the reform of the Party’s construction system. In essence, this is about internal rules and regulations for governing conduct related to appointments, appraisals, exercise of power, etc., within the Party.
Section three calls the Organisation Department to emerge as “the vanguard of the first phalanx of supporting Two Establishments and two safeguards.” 组织部门要当好拥护“两个确立”、做到“两个维护”第一方阵的排头兵. “We must engrave on our hearts and demonstrate in our actions the earnest expectations and instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping.” 对习近平总书记的殷切期望和嘱托，我们要铭刻于心、见之于行. Under this, the article calls on the Organisation Department to strengthen political loyalty, take the lead in theoretical arming, focus on actual work and strengthen responsibility, integrity and self-discipline.
One key point:
“Be resolutely loyal to the core, support the core, maintain the core, and defend the core at any time and under any circumstances. Not only must we strictly abide by these requirements ourselves, but we should also strengthen Party loyalty education, conduct in-depth and substantive assessments of political qualities, and enhance political supervision and inspections, thereby promoting Party organizations at all levels and Party members and cadres to effectively strengthen the four consciousnesses and the four confidences and achieve the two safeguards.” 任何时候任何情况下都坚决忠诚核心、拥戴核心、维护核心、捍卫核心。不仅自身要严格做到，还要通过加强对党忠诚教育、做深做实政治素质考察、强化政治监督和政治督查等工作，推动各级党组织和广大党员、干部切实增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”.
Tracking People's Daily is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Sharing two stories here from outside the paper.