Xi Chats with 'Old Friend' Merkel - Financial Institutions Inspections - Briefing on Energy Supply Situation - Foreign Trade up 22.7% - Guo Shengkun wants Loyal Lawyers -Fu Ying on China's Image
Before we begin today, I wanted to share the first piece from a four-part series that I am writing for the Hindustan Times on ideology in Xi Jinping’s China. This was published yesterday. Subsequent pieces will be published over the next three weeks. Please feel free to share thoughts and feedback.
Here are the stories and pieces from the October 14, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
“Xi said that ‘for making acquaintances, the most valuable thing is mutual understanding, and for people to have mutual understanding, the key lies in knowing what is on each other's mind.’ ‘This saying is not only a good illustration of our in-depth exchanges over the years, but also reflects the important experience in maintaining the smooth and sound development of China-German relations over the past 16 years,’ Xi added. As the Chinese people put a premium on friendship, said Xi, China will not forget old friends and will always keep the door open for Merkel, voicing the hope that Merkel will continue supporting the development of China-German and China-EU relations.”
Xi added that under Merkel, the two countries had shown that states can “avoid the zero-sum game and achieve mutually beneficial results on a win-win basis.” That’s how he hoped ties would continue to develop.
More from Xinhua: “He said the two sides should view China-EU relations from a broader perspective, understand each other objectively and comprehensively, and handle differences rationally, peacefully and constructively. ‘It is hoped that the EU can insist on independence, truly safeguard its own interests and the unity of the international community, and work together with China and other countries to resolve the issues of peace and development,’ Xi said.” --- Is it just me or does it sound like Xi’s doing a good job of playing on European insecurities?
PD has Merkel saying:
“I have always maintained that the EU should independently develop its relations with China, and the two sides can strengthen dialogue and exchanges on issues on which they have differences...I will continue to make positive efforts to promote understanding and cooperation between Germany and China and between Europe and China.” 我一贯主张, 欧盟应独立自主地发展同中国的关系, 双方可以就彼此存在差异和分歧的问题加强对话交流, 相信欧中关系能够克服各种复杂因素继续发展. 我将继续为促进德中、欧中理解与合作作出积极努力.
Next, we have a report (English report) about Xi’s comments stressing on the importance of implementing the national strategy to address population ageing. This comes in the context of the Double Ninth Festival, China’s Seniors' Day, which this year falls on Thursday. He said three broad things:
Party committees and governments at all levels must take comprehensive measures to ensure that the elderly live their lives positively and healthily
Roll out financial support plans, and improve social security, elderly care, and healthcare systems.
Promote the traditional virtue of respecting the elderly
Third, an announcement that Xi will speak at the United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference today. Fourth, another announcement of the English version of Xi’s Xinhai Revolution commemoration speech being published. There’s then a commentary based on Xi’s COP15 speech and a positive reaction story. Also, there’s a commentary about the spirit of fighting COVID-19. This is part of the spirit commentary series. I am not interested in any of these.
Next we have a report (English version) about Han Zheng’s inspection tour of Yunnan. He spoke about biodiversity protection and went to a botanical research institute in Kunming. He called for the province to “boost biodiversity protection capabilities, strengthen monitoring and research, and enhance research and development on the conservation and use of seed resources.” He spoke about wetland conservation while visiting the Dianchi Lake. He also took note of efforts to expand work in digital energy, digital farming and smart environment protection. Finally, he spoke about green energy development to better serve national economic development and energy security.
Finally, we have a report telling us that as of Tuesday 15 inspection teams have been deployed across 25 financial institutions for a two-month-long assessment process. They’ve set up special telephone lines and mailboxes to receive information and complaints. The entities that are being inspected have also held a meeting with the respective teams in which the principal person in charge of the organisation being inspected was informed of the tasks that will be carried out.
The leaders of the central inspection teams pointed out that finance is the core of the modern economy, and is related to development and security. The inspections fully reflect the great importance attached to financial work by the CPC Central Committee. They are an important measure to strengthen the Party’s overall leadership over financial work, encourage financial institutions to strengthen Party building, especially political construction, promote comprehensive and strict party governance in the financial sector, and deepen the fight against corruption. Drawing on Xi Thought, the inspectors said that they would base their work on CPC plans and requirements on financial security, high-quality development and the synergy of anti-graft and risk control in the sector.
The report adds that they said:
“Taking the promotion of the ‘four consciousnesses’, strengthening the ‘four self-confidences’ and achieving the ‘two safeguards’ as fundamental tasks, we will will work to identify political deviations in fulfilling the party’s leadership responsibilities, and the major contradictions and outstanding problems impacting and limiting the high-quality development of the financial industry.” 把督促增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”作为根本任务，深入查找被巡视党组织履行党的领导责任存在的政治偏差、影响制约金融业高质量发展的主要矛盾和突出问题，
The inspectors also urged the organisations being inspected to consciously maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core when it comes to ideological and political action, be loyal and clean in order to fulfil their mandates, fully implement the new development concept and firmly deepen financial reform, better serve the real economy, and maintain the bottom line of no systemic financial risks to ensure the high-quality development of the financial sector.
It adds that the inspection would focus on the functions and responsibilities of financial institutions, strengthen supervision over the principal responsible persons and leading groups, strengthen supervision over the exercise of power in key areas, and implement the principle of strictness. 要把握共性、突出个性，紧扣金融行业不同板块、不同单位、不同层级特点，聚焦金融单位职能职责，加强对主要负责人和领导班子的监督，加强对重点领域、关键环节权力运行的监督，把严的主基调贯彻到底.
“It is necessary to focus on studying and implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on financial work and the major decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee, and fulfil the three tasks of serving the real economy, preventing and controlling financial risks, and deepening financial reform; focus on the implementation of the principal and oversight responsibilities for comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline and improving the work style; focus on the implementation of the Party’s organisational line for the new era, strengthening the building of leading groups, cadres and talents, and community-level Party organizations; focus on the rectification of problems discovered during inspections and audits...”要重点了解学习贯彻习近平总书记关于金融工作重要论述和党中央重大决策部署，落实服务实体经济、防控金融风险、深化金融改革三项任务情况；重点了解落实全面从严治党主体责任和监督责任、加强纪律作风建设情况；重点了解落实新时代党的组织路线，加强领导班子建设、干部人才队伍建设和基层党组织建设情况；重点了解落实巡视、审计等监督发现问题整改情况.
The inspections provide an opportunity to consciously align ourselves with the requirements of the Party Central Committee, calibrate deviations, continuously improve political judgment, political understanding, political execution, keep in mind ‘国之大者’ - (matters of great significance to the state), take the initiative to adapt to the requirements of the new era and new stage, strengthen political responsibilities, perform duties conscientiously, resolutely implement the Party Central Committee on financial work decisions and deployments, and take practical action to practice the ‘two safeguards’.” 要以巡视为契机，自觉与党中央要求对表对标、校准偏差，不断提高政治判断力、政治领悟力、政治执行力，牢记“国之大者”，主动适应新时代新阶段要求，强化政治担当，扎实履职尽责，坚决落实党中央关于金融工作决策部署，用实际行动践行“两个维护”.
On this bit I do also recommend a few other things to read:
First, Lingling Wei’s WSJ report: Xi Jinping Scrutinizes Chinese Financial Institutions’ Ties With Private Firms
Second, this thread by Zichen Wang:
Page 3: A report with Zhao Chenxin, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, reassuring people about China’s energy supply situation. Zhao added that coal mines with the potential to increase production in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and other relevant regions have been promoted to release their advanced production capacities as soon as possible, and under the precondition that workplace safety is ensured.
The report adds that:
As of October 9, 13.47 million kW units and 12.2 million kW units had been added in northeast China and north China respectively.
On October 11, the country’s daily power generation capacity was 20.7 billion kWh, with a total of 228.5 billion kWh for the month, up 10.8% year on year.
There is some 81.99 million tons of coal in storage, which can last for 15 days. Yu Bing, deputy head of the National Energy Administration, said that China’s recent daily output of coal has reached a stable level at over 11.2 million tonnes, an increase of 800,000 tonnes compared with the output before the National Day holiday and its highest output since February.
The Ministry of Emergency Management and the State Administration of Mine Safety and Safety have reviewed 976 coal mines, of which 153 have met the requirements for safety and supply, said Sun Qingguo, an official from the National Mine Safety Administration. This should add capacity of about 220 million tons per year; coal output is expected to increase by 55 million tons in the fourth quarter.
The PD report also has details on natural gas, solar and wind power capacities. In this context, the graphic below from Reuters is useful to understand what role these sources play in the overall energy mix.
Final point on this issue is to note this report from Tuesday: “To help power companies pass on the high costs of coal, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that all electricity generated by coal-fired plants would be priced via market trading ‘in an orderly manner’ from Oct. 15.”
“China’s total imports and exports expanded 22.7 percent year on year to 28.33 trillion yuan (about 4.38 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2021, official data showed Wednesday. The figure marked an increase of 23.4 percent from the pre-epidemic level in 2019, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC). Both exports and imports continued double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year, surging 22.7 percent and 22.6 percent from a year earlier, respectively.”
Also some other highlights from the report:
In the January-September period, China’s trade with its top three trading partners -- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the United States -- maintained sound growth. During the period, the growth rates of China's trade value with the three trading partners stood at 21.1 percent, 20.5 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively.
China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 23.4 percent year on year during the same period, while the country's trade with members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership climbed 19.3 percent, customs data shows.
China's exports and imports accounted for approximately 13.2 percent of the global total in the first half of the year, up 0.8 percentage points over a year earlier.
Private enterprises saw imports and exports increase 28.5 percent to 13.65 trillion yuan in the first nine months, accounting for 48.2 percent of the country's total.
The imports and exports of state-owned enterprises rose 25.1 percent to 4.35 trillion yuan in the period.
For those watching India-China trade, it’s on course to breach the $100-billion mark. So far this year, trade value is at 90.37 billion, up 49.3% year-on-year. PTI reports that China’s exports to India went up to $68.46 billion, up 51.7% year-on-year. Indian exports totalled to $21.91 billion, up 42.5%.
Page 4: We have a report about Guo Shengkun speaking at the 10th National Lawyers Congress in Beijing. He called on them to be guided by Xi Thought on rule of law. He wants them to “adhere to the leadership of the Party,” “unswervingly listen to the Party’s words and follow the Party,” “improve their political quality,” and “play their functional role and make positive contributions” in domains like legislation, law enforcement, judicial work, etc. Of course, along with this, they must improve “professional ability and professional ethics, and strive to be respected teachers of law and integrity.”
Page 9: On the theory page today, we have a piece by Wang Weizhong, deputy secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee and Shenzhen Party Secretary. He begins with Xi’s visit to Guangdong in October last year and says that the provincial party committee “regards the study and implementation of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech and important instructions as its primary political task.” In this context, he talks about the reform efforts adopted by Shenzhen.
There are useful data points there, if one is interested. To me, what’s noteworthy is the fundamental purpose of the piece, i.e., to demonstrate that the work being done is in line with the requirements outlined by the Party center in general and Xi in particular.
Some of the focus areas going ahead that he talks about are:
improving systems and mechanisms for market-based allocation of factors of production: “We will ensure that prices are determined by the market, that liquidity flows are independent and orderly, and that allocation is efficient and equitable. We will take the lead in promoting reform in terms of quality, efficiency, and driving force, and strive to develop high-quality development.”
creating a market-based, law-based international business environment. In this, he refers to: “creating a stable, fair, transparent and predictable international business environment based on the market and the rule of law.”
improving the environmental system of scientific and technological innovation. In this he talks about increasing investment in basic research and applied basic research, and emphasises original innovation and core technologies-related work.
improving the high-quality, open economic system, particularly the “financial and shipping industries” and engaging deeper with BRI.
working on livelihood issues like public services, employment, education, and healthcare. He says that in recent years, Shenzhen has continued to invest nearly 70 percent of its fiscal expenditure in areas related to people’s livelihood.
improving the ecological environment and urban governance.
Next, we have a piece by senior diplomat Fu Ying, talking about China’s image and telling China’s story well. She says that in recent years, China's international voice and influence have significantly increased, but it is also facing new situations and tasks. “People expect China to play a greater role in international affairs, but there are also some negative views and even distorted opinions about China’s image.” She says that China should “further strengthen and improve international communication, strive to build a credible, loveable and respectable image of China, create a favourable external public opinion environment for China’s reform, development and stability, and make positive contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” 近年来，我国国际话语权和影响力显著提升，但也面临着新的形势和任务。我们要进一步加强和改进国际传播，努力塑造可信、可爱、可敬的中国形象，为我国改革发展稳定营造有利外部舆论环境，为推动构建人类命运共同体作出积极贡献.
She writes that “We need to inject real information and stories into the international information ecosystem so that the outside world can understand what we want them to know and let the right voices speak louder.” 我们要积极主动发声，将真实信息、真实故事源源不断地注入国际信息库，让外部世界了解我们希望别人了解的东西，让正确的声音响亮起来.
The next paragraph calls for talking about how China has overcome difficulties, solved problems and fulfilled its responsibilities and contributed as a major power. This could be on COVID-19, climate change or other issues. She says that such stories will allow others to understand what’s happening in China and “what the CPC has done for China and the world.” She also wants Chinese people to tell China’s story well. In this, she gives an example of a story about a foreign dignitary visiting a hospital and asking a nurse about the badge that she is wearing. The nurse says that the badge identifies her as a CPC member, and so people know they can reach out to her for help. This story, she says, shows how a “human-oriented” media approach can be extremely effective. 这个故事说明，通过“以人为媒”的方式，让更多中国人讲好自己的鲜活故事，往往会取得事半功倍的传播效果.
The last paragraph talks about having confidence in the Chinese system, path, theory and culture; speaking with confidence, but learning from others strengths and weaknesses too; and telling vivid stories.