Xi in Qiushi on Arming the Party with Marxism - Establishment of Xi as Core and Xi Thought's Guiding Position is of 'Decisive Significance' - Economic Data - UFWD Chief on 6th Plenum Spirit

Here are the stories and pieces from the November 16, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: Quite a few news reports on the front page today. First, Xi Jinping sent a letter (English report) to the 6th China-Africa People’s Forum, which opened in Beijing on Monday. 

“Noting that the world is in an era of great development and great change, Xi said China and Africa, facing new opportunities and challenges, need to further uphold and carry forward peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity. The two sides should strengthen solidarity and cooperation, promote prosperity and development, and work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, he added.”

Second, a report (English report) about Li Keqiang’s chat with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen. Xinhua reports:

Li said that “China hopes the two sides will take the opportunity that is presented by the commencement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the China-Cambodia free trade agreement (FTA) to further dovetail their development strategies, and deepen cooperation in infrastructure, production capacity, the economy and trade. China is willing to work with Cambodia to promote regional economic integration, and the liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment to bring more benefits to the two countries and the region, Li said. ‘China is ready to work with Cambodia to increase trade in agricultural products and import more quality agricultural products from Cambodia,’ Li said, adding that China supports Cambodia in hosting the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to further promote practical cooperation between Asia and Europe.”

Li added: “China firmly supports ASEAN’s centrality in the regional architecture, supports ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs, and supports Cambodia in assuming the rotating presidency of ASEAN next year to promote the greater development of China-ASEAN relations.”

“Hun Sen said that Cambodia and China are iron friends who have always stood firmly together in difficult times.” -- Interesting that it is Hun Sen saying this rather than Li Keqiang. Although Wang Yi did call Cambodia an “iron-clad friend” a few months ago.

Anyway, Hun Sen added that he wants to strengthen “cooperation with China in agriculture, infrastructure, public health, education and culture, and hopes to ensure that the Cambodia-China FTA will take effect as scheduled next year to lift bilateral trade to a new high. Cambodia is ready to step up coordination and cooperation with China to push for positive outcomes at the ASEM summit and upgrade China-ASEAN relations.”

Third, a report about Qiushi publishing an article comprising Xi Jinping’s comments over the years about arming the Party with Marxism and its innovative sinicized theories.

The PD piece says that the Qiushi article emphasises that:

“Marxist science reveals the laws of the development of human society, points out the way for human beings to seek their own liberation, and promotes the progress of human civilisation. Marxism is the Party’s and country’s fundamental guiding ideology, and it is the soul and banner of the Party. Since its birth, the Communist Party of China has clearly written Marxism on its banner. Throughout its journey, our Party has never wavered in its firm belief in Marxism, whether in good times or bad. Why the CPC can and why socialism with Chinese characteristics is good is, in the final analysis, because Marxism works! On the fundamental issue of adhering to Marxism as our guide, we must be firm and unshakable at all times and under any circumstances.” 文章强调,马克思主义科学揭示了人类社会发展规律,指明了人类寻求自身解放的道路,推进了人类文明进程。马克思主义是我们立党立国的根本指导思想,是我们党的灵魂和旗帜。中国共产党从诞生之日起,就把马克思主义鲜明地写在自己的旗帜上。我们党一路走来,无论是处于顺境还是逆境,从未动摇对马克思主义的坚定信仰。中国共产党为什么能,中国特色社会主义为什么好,归根到底是因为马克思主义行!在坚持以马克思主义为指导这一根本问题上,我们必须坚定不移,任何时候任何情况下都不能动摇.

The next paragraph talks about how the Party has adapted Marxism to China’s conditions. In this context, it references all leaders’ thoughts and theories. It then says: 

“The vitality of theory lies in continuous innovation, and it is the sacred duty of Chinese Communists to promote the continuous development of Marxism. We must continue to combine the basic tenets of Marxism with China's actual conditions and with the fine traditional Chinese culture. We must use Marxism to observe, grasp and guide the times, and continue to develop Marxism in contemporary China and in the 21st century.” 理论的生命力在于不断创新,推动马克思主义不断发展是中国共产党人的神圣职责。我们要坚持把马克思主义基本原理同中国具体实际相结合、同中华优秀传统文化相结合,用马克思主义观察时代、把握时代、引领时代,继续发展当代中国马克思主义、21世纪马克思主义!

The final paragraph says that “theoretical innovation” must be accompanied by “theoretical arming.” “Theoretical accomplishment is the core of cadres’ comprehensive quality; theoretical maturity is the foundation of political maturity; and political firmness comes from theoretical sobriety. In a certain sense, mastering the depth of Marxist theory determines the degree of political sensitivity, the breadth of one’s horizon of thought and the height of one’s ideological achievement.” Therefore, it is necessary for leading cadres in particular to systematically master the basic theories of Marxism. 文章指出,理论创新每前进一步,理论武装就要跟进一步。理论修养是干部综合素质的核心,理论上的成熟是政治上成熟的基础,政治上的坚定源于理论上的清醒。从一定意义上说,掌握马克思主义理论的深度,决定着政治敏感的程度、思维视野的广度、思想境界的高度。对领导干部特别是高级干部来说,要把系统掌握马克思主义基本理论作为看家本领.

Quick thought: This was a really interesting summary of the Qiushi article. First, the language about developing Marxism being the sacred duty of Party members is a strong call for maintaining ideological conviction in the Chinese governance system. It’s also a strong call for cadres to ensure political loyalty to Xi Jinping. This is because we’ve been told repeatedly that Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era essentially is 21st Century Marxism. Finally, the article’s last paragraph basically implies that adherence to Xi Thought is a political imperative for cadres, particularly senior cadres. This will be determinant of their political maturity and ideological alignment.

After this, we have a commentary on studying and implementing the spirit of the 6th Plenum. This too discusses the need to continue to Sinicize Marxism, adapting it to China’s conditions and with traditional culture. It talks about the importance of theoretical innovation, saying that: “The vitality of theory lies in innovation. Marxism has profoundly changed China, and China has greatly enriched Marxism.”理论的生命力在于创新。马克思主义深刻改变了中国,中国也极大丰富了马克思主义.

This extends to arguing that it is because of Marxism that the Party and people were able to “accomplish the arduous tasks that other political forces in China could not accomplish.” Then after a quick nod to earlier leaders, the piece talks about Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era being “a new leap in the sinicization of Marxism.” 

It adds then: “Practice has fully proved that Marxism is the scientific truth for understanding and transforming the world; the scientific nature and truthfulness of Marxism has been fully tested in China, the popularity and practicality of Marxism have been fully implemented in China, and the openness and modernity of Marxism have been fully demonstrated in China.” 实践充分证明,马克思主义是认识世界、改造世界的科学真理,马克思主义的科学性和真理性在中国得到充分检验,马克思主义的人民性和实践性在中国得到充分贯彻,马克思主义的开放性和时代性在中国得到充分彰显.

The next paragraph says that since the 18th Party Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. It adds that:

the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has made an overall plan to grasp the overall situation for a global strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the great changes in the world unseen in a century. With great historical initiative, great political courage and strong sense of responsibility, it has united and led the whole Party, the army and the people of all ethnic groups in creating great achievements in building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era to pursue great struggles, great projects, great undertakings and great dreams. 党的十八大以来,中国特色社会主义进入新时代,以习近平同志为核心的党中央统筹把握中华民族伟大复兴战略全局和世界百年未有之大变局,以伟大的历史主动精神、巨大的政治勇气、强烈的责任担当,统揽伟大斗争、伟大工程、伟大事业、伟大梦想,团结带领全党全军全国各族人民创造了新时代中国特色社会主义的伟大成就.

“General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forth profound thoughts and scientific judgments on a series of major theoretical and practical issues related to the development of the Party and the state in the new era, and has put forward a series of original new ideas and strategies on such major issues of the times as what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics to uphold and develop, how to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, what kind of socialist modernisation power to build, how to build a socialist modernisation power, what kind of long-term ruling Marxist party to build, and how to build a long-term ruling Marxist party. He is the main founder of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and has put forward a series of original new concepts, thoughts and strategies on governance. 习近平总书记对关系新时代党和国家事业发展的一系列重大理论和实践问题进行了深邃思考和科学判断,就新时代坚持和发展什么样的中国特色社会主义、怎样坚持和发展中国特色社会主义,建设什么样的社会主义现代化强国、怎样建设社会主义现代化强国,建设什么样的长期执政的马克思主义政党、怎样建设长期执政的马克思主义政党等重大时代课题,提出一系列原创性的治国理政新理念新思想新战略,是习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的主要创立者.

This is followed by brief mentions of the important points from the history resolution and then:

“Practice has fully proved that Xi Jinping’s Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is contemporary Chinese Marxism and 21st century Marxism, the essence of Chinese culture and Chinese spirit, and the latest achievement on the Sinicization of Marxism. The Party’s establishment of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee and the whole Party, and established the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era reflect the common aspiration of the whole Party, the whole army and the people of all ethnic groups in China. This is of decisive significance to the development of the Party and the country in the new era and the historical process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 实践充分证明,习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想是当代中国马克思主义、21世纪马克思主义,是中华文化和中国精神的时代精华,是马克思主义中国化最新成果。党确立习近平同志党中央的核心、全党的核心地位,确立习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的指导地位,反映了全党全军全国各族人民共同心愿,对新时代党和国家事业发展、对推进中华民族伟大复兴历史进程具有决定性意义.

The piece ends with a call to unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Xi at its core, and arm minds with theoretical innovation.

Next, there’s a report about grassroots party members and cadres from all over the country discussing the spirit of the 6th Plenum. They want to unite around the central committee with Xi as the core, answer the test of the times, keep in mind the original aspiration, draw lessons from Party history, and forge ahead in the new journey. There’s also a commentary on the Saihanba spirit. This is part of the spirit series of commentaries.

Finally, there’s a report on economic data, particularly focussing on retail sales of consumer goods. But I am offering below more details based on all NBS data out this week. (English report):

  • China’s value-added industrial output increased 3.5 percent year on year in October, compared with 3.1 percent in September. 

  • Retail sales of consumer goods increased 4.9 percent year on year, 0.5 percentage points higher than a month earlier.

  • October retail sales of goods increased by 5.2% year-on-year, with a growth rate of 0.7 percentage points higher than the previous month, accelerating for two consecutive months.

  • From Jan. to Oct., online retail sales of physical goods increased by 14.6% year-on-year, accounting for 23.7% of the total retail sales of consumer goods.

  • China’s surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in October, 0.4 percentage points lower than in the same period last year, according to the NBS. During the first 10 months of this year, the country created 11.33 million new jobs in its urban areas, achieving its whole-year target in advance.

  • From Jan. to Oct., China’s fixed-asset investment increased 6.1 percent year on year, and investment in property development rose 7.2 percent.

  • Producer price index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, increased 13.5 percent year on year in October. The consumer price index rose 1.5 percent year on year last month.

I thought this comment by NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui in the Xinhua English report is important:

“Fu said that there seemed to be some signs of stagflation due to the pandemic, natural disasters, international commodity price hikes and tightening supplies of raw materials, and that they have been caused by short-term factors and the situation will be temporary.”

Page 2: A few reports to note. First, a report (English report) about the current wave of COVID-19 infections in China. This talks about Vice Premier Sun Chunlan’s visit to Dalian. The piece tells us that the current outbreak there is largely clustered around Zhuanghe. The piece has her saying that the policy on containment is clear, and the issue is about implementation of the policy. It also adds that “the epidemic in Dalian has generally been brought under control.”

Second, a report (English report) about the opening of the Beijing Stock Exchange. The English report says that:

“The first batch of 81 companies debuted on Nov 15, of which 10 were newly approved and 71 were transferred from the selected tier of China's National Equities Exchange and Quotations, also known as the ‘new third board’. As of 10:20 am, shares of all the 10 newly-listed companies had triggered temporary suspension twice as their prices jumped over 60 percent. These shares continued rallying after trading resumed, with the highest surging by over 500 percent at some point. The stock exchange doesn't limit the price change of the newly-listed companies on the first trading day, but trading will be suspended for 10 minutes when stock prices fluctuate by over 30 percent and over 60 percent.”

Third, a report about the State Council’s new circular praising 48 typical experiences and practices identified in the eighth inspection of the State Council. The aim of identifying these practices is to “mobilise and stimulate the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of all sectors of society.” In other words, these are the things we did well; so let’s all do more of this. The measures mentioned are implementation of tax cuts, better delegation of authority to ensure ease of business, support for local industries, employment and start-ups, etc.

Page 4: A report about UFWD chief You Quan talking to “non-CPC personages” about the guiding principles from the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. Here’s Xinhua English’s coverage of this:

“The resolution on the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s 100 years of endeavours adopted at the session has decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the state in the new era and for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation, You noted. The resolution included promoting the united front in the 10 aspects of the valuable historical experience accumulated over the past century, said You, adding that this reflected the full recognition of the role of the united front. Stressing the necessity of regarding the study and implementation of the guiding principles from the key meeting as an important political task, You called for promoting the development of non-CPC political parties participating in state governance under Chinese socialism.”

Now, in PD, we learn what about the resolution is of “decisive significance.” In PD, You tells the gathering that the resolution is a “Marxist programmatic document.” In particular, he says that the resolution emphasises that the Party has established Xi Jinping’s position as the core of the Party Central Committee and the whole Party, and has established the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. This reflects the common aspiration of the whole Party, the army and the people of all ethnic groups in the country, and is of decisive significance to the development of the cause of the Party and the state in the new era and the historical process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 特别是决议强调党确立习近平同志党中央的核心、全党的核心地位,确立习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的指导地位,反映了全党全军全国各族人民共同心愿,对新时代党和国家事业发展、对推进中华民族伟大复兴历史进程具有决定性意义. 

He also says that the implementation of the spirit of the Plenum is an important political task of the united front, and everyone must enhance political, judgement, understanding and execution.

Another report on the page has foreigners talking about the significance of the 6th Plenum. Finally, a one-line report (more detailed English report) about Gan Lin being appointed as the new head of China’s anti-monopoly bureau under the State Administration for Market Regulation.

Other Stories:

On the Theory page, we have a piece by the Center for International Knowledge on Development on implementation of Xi Thought on sustainable development -- I am not interested in this so not going into details here.

On Page 11, there’s  a piece by Zhang Wenxian, Director of the Academic Committee of the Chinese Law Society. Zhang emphasises the importance of the political development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics being critical to ensuring that people are the masters. Zhang writes that people’s position as the masters is the “essence and core of socialist democratic politics.” He argues that “without democracy there can be no socialism, no socialist modernisation, and no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” He says that ensuring that people become the masters of the country is a continuous process, and in the new era, “democracy has become an important part of the people’s needs for a better life.” Therefore, this should reflect across the work of the Party. Ensuring this, requires:

  • Following the path of political development under socialism with Chinese characteristics
    “The key to developing socialist democratic politics is to give full play to the characteristics and advantages of China's socialist democratic politics, constantly promote the institutionalisation, standardisation and proceduralisation of socialist democratic politics, and provide a more perfect institutional guarantee for the prosperity and long-term stability of the Party and the country.”

  • Stick to democratic centralism, which “organically unifies democracy and centralisation” and “avoids the drawbacks of the ‘separation of powers’ system, such as disputes among the parties, mutual constraints, serious internal friction and so on. It is a scientific, reasonable and efficient system.”

  • Adhere to whole-process people’s democracy.

  • Persist with the system of electoral democracy and deliberative democracy that’s currently in place

  • “The system of people’s congresses is a fundamental political system that integrates the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance. We must uphold and improve this fundamental political system.”

  • “We emphasize the unity of the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law. To uphold the Party's leadership and support the people as masters of the country, we must implement the rule of law as the basic strategy for the Party leading the people in governing the country.”

Towards the end, Zhang writes that “supporting and ensuring the people as masters of the country is not just a slogan or empty words, but must be implemented and evident across political and social activities and life in the country. Democracy and the rule of law are interdependent. Any democratic advantage without the rule of law will be like a flash in the pan, and any democratic design without the rule of law will be like a tree without roots.” 支持和保证人民当家作主不是一句口号、不是一句空话,必须落实到国家政治生活和社会生活之中。民主与法治相互依存,任何民主优势如果离开法治就如昙花一现,任何民主设计如果脱离法治就如无本之木.

On Page 17, there’s a report about China-Africa cooperation when it comes to mobile payments.