Xi @ Military Talents Conference - Outreach to DPRK, Vietnam, Laos & Cuba's Ruling Parties - Yang Xiaodu on Self-Revolution & Strictly Governing the Party - CCP the Inheritor Ancient Economic Thought
Here are the stories and pieces from the November 29, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: The lead story today is about Xi Jinping’s remarks at a CMC conference on military talent-related work, which was held from Friday to Sunday. Xinhua English has a detailed report too.
Xi called for implementing the spirit of the September central conference on talent-related work and training of competent military personnel for building a strong army in the new era, to lend solid support to the realisation of the goals set for the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army that falls in 2027. Talent holds the key to advancing the high-quality development of the Chinese armed forces, achieving victory in the military competition, and gaining the upper hand in future wars, Xi stressed.
He said that amid the profound changes unseen in a century and new round of technological revolution that are taking place in the world, it is imperative for the armed forces to “enhance the sense of mission and urgency” and “thoroughly implement the strategy of strengthening the army with talents in the new era.” Xi talked about the importance of cultivating a “new type of high-quality and professional military personnel” who possess “both ability and political integrity.”
In implementing the strategy of strengthening the army with talents in the new era, we must ensure the absolute leadership of the Party over the armed forces in all aspects and throughout the whole process of talent work and take fighting and winning battles as the starting point and foothold of talent work. The work must be oriented towards the world’s military frontier, the major needs of national security, the national defense and the modernisation of the armed forces. It is important to deepen the reform of military human resources policies and systems, and implement the strategy of strengthening the country through talents. 实施新时代人才强军战略，必须把党对军队绝对领导贯彻到人才工作各方面和全过程，必须把能打仗、打胜仗作为人才工作出发点和落脚点，必须面向世界军事前沿、面向国家安全重大需求、面向国防和军队现代化，必须全方位培养用好人才，必须深化军事人力资源政策制度改革，必须贯彻人才强国战略.
He pointed out that “political standards are the first criterion for military personnel, and political requirements are the most fundamental requirement for military personnel. We must keep a firm grip on political issues, strengthen ideological and political construction, do a good job in casting souls and conducting political inspections, and ensure that the talents we train and employ are absolutely politically excellent.” 习近平指出，政治标准是我军人才第一位的标准，政治要求是对我军人才最根本的要求。要牢牢把住政治关，加强思想政治建设，做好铸魂育人和政治考察工作，确保培养和使用的人才政治上绝对过硬.
He further said:
“We must make great efforts to improve our scientific and technological literacy and our practical ability to win modern wars. It is necessary to implement the policy of military education in the new era, implement the strategy of giving priority to the development of military academies, speed up the building of first-class military academies and training of first-class military personnel. It is necessary to strengthen practical experience, encourage and guide officers and soldiers to withstand storms, see the world, strengthen their muscles and bones (筋骨) and develop their abilities in hot military practice.” 要下大气力强化科技素养，提高打赢现代战争实际本领。要贯彻新时代军事教育方针，落实院校优先发展战略，加快建设一流军事院校、培养一流军事人才。要加强实践历练，鼓励引导官兵在火热军事实践中经风雨、见世面、壮筋骨、长才干.
The next bit discusses the effective allocation of military resources. Here, he calls for ensuring the cultivation and development of military talent for joint operations command, new combat forces, high-level scientific and technological innovation, and high-quality strategic management. He then talks about fostering an optimized atmosphere of trusting, respecting, supporting, and showing concern for talent in the armed forces. The aim here is to “fully stimulate the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity and entrepreneurship” of personnel in their work.
Next, a report about a book on Xi Jinping’s discourses on promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity being published in Spanish.
Third, a report that tells us that China’s cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy power generation now exceeds 1 billion kilowatts. The share of renewable energy now accounts for 43.5 percent of the total installed capacity of power generation in China, up 10.2 percentage points over the end of 2015. Among renewable power sources, the installed capacity of hydropower, wind power, solar power and biomass power generation have reached 385 million kilowatts, 299 million kilowatts, 282 million kilowatts and 35.34 million kilowatts respectively. Also, in areas with good wind energy resources in the northwest, the cost of wind power is about 0.3 yuan/kWh. The cost in the central, eastern and southern regions is 0.4 yuan/kWh. Data show that in 2020, the average cost of onshore wind power and solar power generation will be reduced to 0.38 yuan and 0.36 yuan, respectively.
There’s also a story that offers a fair amount of praise for the CCTV show 党课开讲啦 Finally, there’s a commentary on the spirit of reform and opening up.
Page 2: A report about Hu Chunhua inspecting rural revitalisation work in Shaanxi. He stressed on the need to fully implement the spirit of the 6 Plenum and Xi’s important instructions, take more powerful and effective measures to support poverty-stricken areas in order to consolidate and expand their achievements in poverty alleviation, resolutely hold the bottom line of no large-scale return to poverty, and continue to promote comprehensive rural revitalisation. He also talked about promoting labour-intensive industries in these areas to ensure economic development.
Page 3: First, a report about Wang Yi’s chat with Ignazio Cassis, Switzerland’s foreign minister. According to Xinhua, Wang said:
“First, the two countries respect each other, treat each other as equals, respect their differences, and learn from each other for common improvement...Second, with pioneering and innovative spirit, the two countries have created many ‘firsts’ including the establishment of ‘innovative strategic partnership’, providing a strong engine for the development of bilateral relations. Third, the two sides have pooled their respective strengths to deepen practical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, so as to bring tangible benefits to the two peoples...”
As per the Xinhua report, a fair bit of the conversation was about sports and the politicisation of sports. Here’s how the report frames Cassis’ response to this:
“The Swiss side congratulated China on its great achievements in fighting the pandemic, thanked China for providing support and cooperation to Switzerland, and lauded China’s important role in promoting global economic recovery...Switzerland opposes the politicization of sports, he said, extending congratulations on the smooth progress of the preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics and expressing the belief that the Olympics will be a success.”
No mention of “the responsibility of China as Olympic host for the rights of athletes.”
Anyway, Xinhua adds that the two sides have agreed to start negotiations on the upgrade of the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible. They also exchanged views on multilateralism.
“China appreciates Switzerland’s constructive role in promoting political settlement of international disputes, Wang said, adding that China and Switzerland should work together to practice true multilateralism. The two sides should jointly safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core, the international order based on international law, the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization at its core, Wang said. Cassis agreed with Wang’s remarks, saying that against the backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions, Switzerland believes that the world should firmly support and promote multilateralism, and support the WHO and other international organizations in playing their due roles.”
Second, a report on ILD chief Song Tao’s engagement with leaders from the Central Committees of the ruling parties of North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba. He spoke to them about the outcomes of the 6th Plenum. He highlighted the importance of the ‘two establishments’ for the development of the CCP and China in the new era.
Page 4: A report about propaganda chief Huang Kumning’s comments while in Hubei. He said that the propaganda and ideological front should take studying and propagating the spirit of the 6th Plenum as a major political task, deepen and expand the study and education of Party history, carry out extensive publicity, better promote unity of thought, will and actions across the whole party and people of all ethnic groups in China. This was the message he took to schools, communities, and enterprises and while meeting propaganda units.
He wants propaganda workers to understand and go down to the community level to “thoroughly explain the rich connotation, essence and historical position of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with with Chinese characteristics in the new era and the historical achievements and changes in the new era, so as to guide people to deeply understand the decisive significance of the ‘two establishments’.” 要全面准确、生动鲜活地宣传全会精神，从历史和现实结合上讲清楚党百年来建立的卓著功勋、积累的宝贵经验，讲深讲透习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的丰富内涵、精髓要义、历史地位，讲深讲透新时代的历史性成就和历史性变革，引导人们深刻认识“两个确立”的决定性意义.
Next, Zhang Qingwei has been formally elected as Hunan Party Secretary. Mao Weiming and Zhu Guoxian have been elected as Deputy Secretaries.
Page 6: We have a long piece by Yang Xiaodu, Director of the National Supervisory Commission. The key point that Yang makes is that comprehensive and strict governance of the Party along with persisting in self-revolution are not just valuable lessons learned through history but also something that the Party must persist with in order to maintain its advanced nature and purity and because this is a “political guarantee to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
In the first section, Yang talks a bit about history, before emphasising the importance of the Party core.
For him, Mao’s establishment as the core “enabled the Chinese revolution to win victory and laid a foundation for the development of the People’s Republic of China. The establishment of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s core position ushered in a new era of reform, opening-up and socialist modernisation and enabled China to catch up with the times, making great strides. Entering the new era, General Secretary Xi Jinping, as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the entire Party, has led the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in making unremitting efforts to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, embark on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country, and lead the Chinese nation irreversibly toward great rejuvenation. Firmly safeguarding the core of the Party and the authority of the CPC Central Committee is the Party’s highest political principle. As long as we are more consciously consistent in terms of ideology, politics and action with the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, strengthen the consciousness of four consciousness, the four self-confidence and achieve the two safeguards, so as to comprehensively and strictly manage the Party and strengthen the Party’s advanced nature, purity and unity, the Party will surely lead the people to continuously win new great victories on the new journey.” 毛泽东同志核心地位的确立使中国革命取得胜利、为新中国建设奠基立业，邓小平同志核心地位的确立开启改革开放和社会主义现代化建设新时期、使中国大踏步赶上时代。进入新时代，习近平总书记作为党中央的核心、全党的核心，带领全党全国各族人民砥砺奋进、接续奋斗，全面建成小康社会，开启全面建设社会主义现代化国家新征程，引领中华民族不可逆转地走向伟大复兴。坚定维护党的核心和党中央权威是党的最高政治原则。只要我们更加自觉地在思想上政治上行动上同以习近平同志为核心的党中央保持高度一致，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”，以全面从严治党强化党的先进纯洁、团结统一，党就一定能够带领人民在新的征程上不断取得新的伟大胜利.
The next paragraph emphasises the importance of self-revolution. In this regard, in the new era, the “Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has always maintained a high degree of strategic awareness. It has constantly eliminated the negative factors affecting the Party’s advanced nature and purity with continuous self-revolution, and it has constantly shaped the Party’s long-term ruling position and institutional advantages, thereby forming a powerful political force, truth force and practical force, always winning the people’s trust and support…” 进入新时代，以习近平同志为核心的党中央始终保持高度的战略清醒，用永不停歇的自我革命不断祛除影响党的先进性和纯洁性的消极因素，不断塑造党长期执政的领导能力和制度优势，从而形成强大的政治力量、真理力量、实践力量，始终赢得人民信赖、支持和拥护，凝聚起众志成城、一往无前的磅礴伟力.
He says that the history resolution has clarified “the strategic policy of comprehensively and strictly governing the Party” and “put forward the general requirements of Party-building in the new era.” It calls for comprehensively promoting the Party political, ideological, organisational, conduct and discipline improvement, while ensuring institutional development. It calls to “further promote the anti-corruption struggle, implement the political responsibility of managing the Party and leading the great social revolution with great self-revolution.” He then says that under Xi, the Central Committee has “faced up to the outstanding problems in the Party, promoted strict governance of the Party with firm determination, tenacious will and unprecedented strength, led from the front to improve the work style, punished corruption in a thunderous manner, strengthened supervision with a sharp sword hanging high, stopped some unhealthy trends that were considered impossible to stop in the past, corrected some chronic diseases that had not been eliminated for many years…” 党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为核心的党中央举旗定向、力挽狂澜，直面党内存在的突出问题，以坚定决心、顽强意志、空前力度推进全面从严治党，以上率下改进作风，雷霆万钧惩治腐败，利剑高悬强化监督，刹住了一些过去被认为不可能刹住的歪风，纠治了一些多年未除的顽瘴痼疾，消除了党、国家、军队内部存在的严重隐患，把新时代的自我革命提升到新高度。在实现中华民族伟大复兴的关键时刻，校正了党和国家事业前进的航向，党经受深刻洗礼锻造得更加坚强.
The next paragraph lauds the effectiveness of the institutional strengths under Xi, citing examples of COVID containment and achievement of Xiaokang. Following this, the next section discusses the “historic and groundbreaking achievements” made in comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline in the new era.
There are 8 points that Yang makes:
First, he says that the efforts have strengthened the Party leadership. The trend of “weakening, diluting, and marginalising the Party’s leadership has been fundamentally reversed.” Awareness of the significance of upholding the Party’s centralised and unified leadership among Party members and cadres has been significantly enhanced, and “the whole party has become more unified ideologically, politically and in action.”
Second, he argues that comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline has become a strategic priority. To this end, the Central Committee has put forward and implemented the general requirements for Party building in the new era and the organisational line of the Party in the new era, formed a systematic and complete ideological, institutional and working system for the comprehensive and strict governance of the Party, adhered to strictness in ideology, supervision, discipline, management of officials, style of work and anti-corruption...effectively solved the prominent problems that had accumulated in the Party over the years and removed chronic problems in order to consolidate the political responsibility of governing the Party...Strict comprehensive governance of the the Party is key for the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core to plan the ‘grand chess game’ for the cause of the Party and the country...把全面从严治党摆上战略布局，为实现第一个百年奋斗目标提供坚强保障。党的十八大以来，党中央把全面从严治党纳入“四个全面”战略布局，提出并落实新时代党的建设总要求和新时代党的组织路线，形成系统完备的全面从严治党思想体系、制度体系、工作体系，坚持思想从严、监督从严、执纪从严、治吏从严、作风从严、反腐从严，层层压实管党治党政治责任，有力解决了党内多年积累的突出问题，去疴治乱、拨正船头，汇聚起团结奋进强大正能量，为全面建成小康社会、全面深化改革、全面依法治国保驾护航。全面从严治党是以习近平同志为核心的党中央谋划党和国家事业“大棋局”的关键布局，赋予党的建设新的时代内涵和历史使命，以党的伟大自我革命引领保障了伟大社会革命。
Third, he says that work done since the 18th Party Congress has ensured top priority for the Party’s political development and safeguarding the authority and centralised, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee.
Fourth, he says the leadership has “combined ideological Party building with institutional Party management, promoted the standardisation and institutionalisation of inner-party education, devoted itself to the spirit of the Party’s innovative theory, and used the Party’s ideals and beliefs to ‘supplement calcium’ and ‘strengthen bones’...” He also talks about work done to “realise the organic unity of governing the party according to regulations and governing the country according to law, and constantly improve the intensity, breadth and accuracy of discipline enforcement.” 党的十八大以来，党中央把思想建党和制度治党紧密结合，推进党内教育常态化制度化，以党的创新理论凝神铸魂，用党的理想信念“补钙”、“壮骨”；同时坚持尊崇党章、依规治党，加强纪律建设，扎牢制度笼子，形成比较完善的党内法规体系，实现依规治党和依法治国有机统一，执行纪律的力度、广度和精度不断提升.
Fifth, he emphasises the efforts to implement the eight-point regulation.
Sixth, he argues that the effort to focus on the ‘key minority’ or senior cadres to drive the overwhelming majority has effectively strengthened the political and organizational functions of Party organizations.
Seventh, he praises the effectiveness of the effort to crack down on corruption.
Eighth, Yang talks about the development of a “reformed and improved” supervision system and a discipline enforcement system, which provides strong support to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity.
In the final section, he discusses the key things to be kept in mind going ahead:
First, “unswervingly uphold and strengthen the Party’s leadership over all work, take political construction as the guide, take firm ideals and beliefs as the foundation, tighten the Party’s organizational system, build a contingent of high-quality cadres with both ability and political integrity, further improve the Party’s conduct, clean government building and the anti-corruption struggle, and ensure that the Party will not deteriorate, change colour or taste in the new era…”
Second, emphasise political supervision with the aim of achieving the “two safeguards.” This, he argues, is critical to ensure the “implementation of major decision-making arrangements, such as grasping the new development stage, fully and accurately implementing the new development concept, building a new development pattern and promoting high-quality development, benefiting the people and enriching the people and promoting common prosperity…”
Third, persist in giving top priority to maintaining strict discipline across the board.
Fourth, persist in tackling corruption. Here, he specifically says that efforts will be targeted towards “formalism and bureaucracy” and to “prevent the resurgence of hedonism and extravagance.” He adds that the Party will “focus on tackling corruption and conduct problems,” “cases where political and economic issues are intertwined,” and will “deepen anti-corruption efforts in the fields of finance, state-owned enterprises, politics and law, grain purchase and sale, etc.”
Fifth, improve the “socialist supervision system with Chinese characteristics, and form a mechanism for the operation of power that is scientific in decision-making, resolute in implementation and powerful in supervision.” He also talks about expanding the scope and coverage of inspection.
Page 9: A couple of interesting articles on the page that seemingly talk about drawing lessons from ancient economic thought. However, what these pieces actually do is point out nuggets of thoughts and policies from the past and try to create a direct line to demonstrate that the current CCP leadership and its policies derive from this inheritance.
For instance, Ye Tan from Peking University and Wang Fang from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics argue that the notion of “people-centered development” is based in Chinese culture. They argue that in ancient China, economic policy essentially was about “stability and governance” by “taking ‘people’s livelihood’ as the core.” This entails letting people get rich but also providing state support, particularly with regards to welfare policies, natural disasters, and employment generation.
The other piece is by Chen Yongqin from the School of Economics, Renmin University of China. Chen argues for drawing wisdom on finance and taxation from ancient thought. He writes that taking from the people and using it for the people is an ancient principle.
“In ancient times, financial expenditure was used not only for government officials' salaries, military expenses and other matters related to national governance and national security, but also for public services such as social assistance and public utilities expenditure. The most well-known is the famine relief system…During the Western Zhou Dynasty, financial expenditure clearly included the construction of public facilities, subsidies during the famine years, and allowances and support for government officials. During the Han and Tang Dynasties, financial expenditure also included the construction of water conservancy projects, transportation construction, urban construction, relief and pension projects, as well as the construction of farmland water conservancy projects, river control, construction of inland river shipping projects, water transport and other major projects.”
The next paragraph talks about fairness and justice as being important values of Chinese society. There’s an interesting quote of Confucius arguing in favour of inequality over scarcity. “In order to realise social fairness, ancient Chinese thinkers emphasised the principle of ‘equalisation’ and ‘public interest’ in the tax system, hoping to adjust income distribution by exerting the leverage of tax...In addition to adjusting income distribution, the ancients also advocated ensuring the life of the socially disadvantaged groups,” the authors argue.
The final paragraph praises the socialist finance and taxation system currently established in China, as being Marxist but also adhering to Chinese cultural inheritance. Chen argues that under Xi, since the 18th Party Congress, there has been an effort to “strengthen the budget’s ability to ensure the implementation of major policies of the Party and the state, give full play to the basic and supporting role of taxation in national governance, improve the mechanism for adjusting redistribution through taxation, social security and transfer payments, safeguard social equity and justice, and address the income gap. So that the fruits of development can be more fairly shared by all the people.” --- But has this really happened?
For instance, today there’s this Bloomberg report:
China needs to cut its Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, to under 0.4 in order to achieve common prosperity, an adviser to the country’s central bank said. The Gini coefficient should be lowered from its current level of 0.47 to close to 0.4 by 2025 and then toward 0.35 by 2035, according to Cai Fang, a member of the People’s Bank of China’s monetary policy committee. Cai’s comments are notable since government officials haven’t set national numerical targets for the Communist Party’s common prosperity drive, which was given high-profile backing by President Xi Jinping in August...There was “a lot of work to do” in meeting the equality goal, he said in a speech to a forum organized by Chinese financial magazine Caijing. The most important means to reach the goal would be “building a basic public service system that covers the entire life-cycle of everyone, which can be called a social welfare system,” he said. China’s Gini coefficient for income peaked at 0.49 in 2008 before falling to 0.47 in 2020, according to the nation’s statistics bureau. The average Gini coefficient across advanced countries is 0.314, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated this year.
Thanks for the last two paragraphs regarding sharing fruits of development and Gini coefficient. Nice juxtaposition.