Xi Thought is 'Guiding Ideology' - Feature on PLA's Galwan 'Martyr' - Wang's Middle East Diplomacy - Party Building in Pvt Enterprises

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s July 19, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: Today’s edition is among those rare ones when we have no Xi Jinping-related headlines. But, of course, Xi is present in the stories and pieces. Let’s begin with a commentary on carrying forward the spirit of party building. This draws from Xi’s July 1 speech. It talks about the difficulties, hardships, and challenges that the Party has encountered in its 100 years, and how “no party in the world has encountered so many difficulties and obstacles, experienced so many life and death tests, and made so many tragic sacrifices like ours.” It talks about all those spirits that I had listed out last week, but have still not got around to hyperlinking. And we end with a call for cadres to be inspired by the spiritual strength and wealth of the Party on the new journey. 

A report from inside the CPC museum I guess, with the exhibition now open to ordinary folks. A story about the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing showcasing the opera “The Daughter of the Party.” Wang Huning attended on Sunday, along with Ding Xuexiang, Huang Kunming, Cai Qi and Miao Hua. From what I understand from the story, this opera is based on a movie script from 1958. It was first performed in 1991, with Peng Liyuan being one of the performers.

Page 2: There’s a special graphic on the page, highlighting China’s economic and developmental achievements since Xi came to power.

Page 3: First up, a story with voices from Russia - politicians, academics, think tankers and members of groups like the Russia-China Friendship Association - all basically talking positively about China-Russia ties. They are all pleased with the extension of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. 

Next, China’s ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui has a piece about the bilateral relationship. If you are interested, do check out the China-Russia section I did in my weekly Eye on China yesterday. I thought the RIA Novosti interview of the Russian ambassador to China Andrey Denisov was fascinating. It begins with a question comparing Taiwan to Crimea. Of course the ambassador dismisses it, but what a curious question for RIA Novosti to ask. 

Anyway, Zhang says that:

“The core of China-Russia relations is high-level strategic mutual trust and mutual support. The ‘Treaty’ created a new model of international relations. The two countries provide strategic support for each other, development opportunities for each other, and are global partners for each other. They uphold the consensus of ‘Four Mutual Firm Supports’...” Towards the end, he says that “today's Sino-Russian relations are mature, stable and strong, and can withstand the test of any international changes.” 

Next, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in the Middle East. In PD, we have a report about his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Fascinating that PD doesn’t mention Wang’s remark about “regime change.” But here’s how PD’s story begins, with Wang telling Assad that the “Syrian people have achieved valuable results in both combating terrorism and opposing foreign interference after an indomitable struggle. The re-election of Mr. President reflects the high trust and support of the Syrian people.”

So Xinhua English then tells us, and most of this is in PD too, that:

“Reaffirming China’s strong support for Syria in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, Wang said that China opposes any attempt to seek regime change in Syria. China firmly supports Syria in handling domestic problems under the ‘Syrian-led, Syrian-owned’ principle established by the UN Security Council, and in formulating an inclusive and united political solution, Wang said. He pledged that China will continue its strong support to Syria in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, through providing the vaccines and other medical supplies. China will support Syria in improving the well-being of Syrian people and speeding up the reconstruction process, while welcoming Syria to become a new partner in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)...China will also support Syria in opposing unilateral sanctions, alleviating its humanitarian dilemma, and combating terrorist forces in any form, Wang said, adding that China is willing to strengthen communication and cooperation with Syria to help improve its anti-terror capabilities.”

This is the corresponding paragraph for this in PD: 王毅指出,中方坚定支持叙方维护国家主权、领土完整和民族尊严;坚定支持叙方按照联合国安理会确定的“叙人主导、叙人所有”原则处理好国内问题;坚定支持叙方抗击新冠疫情,将继续向叙提供疫苗和抗疫物资;坚定支持叙方改善民生、加快重建,欢迎叙成为共建“一带一路”新伙伴;坚定支持叙方打击一切恐怖主义势力;坚定支持叙方在地区和国际事务中发挥应有作用. 

Wang then went to Egypt from where he called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. This is not in PD today, but since it’s already done, I thought I’d cover it. They talked about Afghanistan for one. But here’s what Xinhua English tells us:

Wang said “China is willing to work together with President-elect Ebrahim Raisi and the new Iranian government to carry forward the fine traditions of mutual trust and mutual support between the two countries, strengthen friendly exchanges and cooperation, continue jointly opposing unilateralism and bullying behavior, firmly uphold multilateralism and international equity and justice, and better safeguard the common interests of China, Iran and other developing countries.”

In Egypt, Wang met his counterpart Sameh Shoukry. They attended a ceremony marking the joint production of 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Egypt. He also met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Xinhua tells us

“​​The Egyptian leader spoke highly of the miracles that the Chinese people have created one after another under the CPC leadership, which have also attracted worldwide attention. Egypt regards China as a true friend and reliable partner, and will unswervingly and undisturbedly develop the bilateral cooperation in various fields, said Sisi.”

Sisi said that Egypt backed “the one-China policy, firmly supports China's efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and stability, and strongly supports China's fight against terrorism and religious extremism.” He backed BRI and wants Egypt to “become an important gateway for Chinese enterprises to enter the Middle East and Africa.”

Wang spoke about the pandemic, vaccines, BRI and said “China also firmly supports Egypt in continuing to explore a development path suited to its national conditions, pursuing an independent policy, and making efforts to fight terrorism, maintain stability and de-radicalize extremists...” He added: “China is also ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Egypt in international affairs, jointly uphold and practice multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and bullying, and push forward the reform of global governance in the right direction.”

While in Egypt, Wang also met the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. Some interesting bits in the story are references to:

  • China-Arab Data Security Cooperation Initiative

  • opposition to the politicizing of the pandemic, while urging cooperation on the virus origin-tracing with a scientific attitude

  • BRI and vaccines

  • “the need for finding a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue, which includes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital”

  • “convening an international peace conference with greater authority and wider representation, to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the two-state solution.”

  • the need to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the Arab states, especially Syria, Libya and Yemen, consolidate their security and sovereignty over their territories and natural resources, and oppose external interference targeting Arab states.

  • call for the first China-Arab summit slated for 2022 in Saudi Arabia

  • support for core interests and “objection to the attempts to politicize human rights issues and use them to exert pressure on other states and interfere in their internal affairs.”

  • maintaining an international system with the United Nations at its core, and an international order based on the international law

  • fight terrorism, regardless of its form, pattern or motive, highlighting the need to eliminate the roots of terrorism and avoid linking it to any nation, religion, state and civilization.

Page 4: So, for the first time since the standoff began in Eastern Ladakh last year, we have such a feature piece on the situation in PD. This one talks about Chen Hongjun. Chen was the commander of a motorized infantry battalion under a border defense regiment. This is in line with Chen being honoured on July 1 and the idea that he should serve as a role model. Important to note that there was also a long Xinhua feature about Chen this week, which I covered in my weekly Eye on China yesterday.

The story begins on an emphatic note, telling the reader about the snowy peaks of the Karakoram range. “This is the western frontier of the motherland and the front line of guarding peace and tranquility,” it says. 这里是祖国的西部边陲,也是守卫和平安宁的一线. 

Soon, we get to the operative party that discusses the events in Galwan Valley in June 2020. The narrative is this:

“In June, 2020, the relevant foreign troops openly violated the consensus reached with us and set up tents across the line. In accordance with the practice of handling border incidents and based on an agreement previously reached between the two sides, Qi Fabao, the regimental commander, took only a few officers and soldiers to solve the problem through negotiations in all earnestness. They waded through the waist-deep waters of the river to negotiate. During the negotiations, the other side ignored our sincerity, hiding and mobilizing a large number of troops with premeditation, trying to force us to give up by virtue of having outnumbered us. After learning that Qi Fabao had been besieged, Chen Hongjun rushed with reinforcements to the scene of the confrontation and into the crowd. He did so, braving the enemy’s ‘stone rain’ and ‘array of clubs.’ Fighting bravely, he successfully rescued Qi Fabao, but he himself never came out.” 2020年6月,有关外军公然违背与我方达成的共识,越线搭设帐篷。按照处理边境事件的惯例和双方之前达成的约定,某边防团团长祁发宝本着谈判解决问题的诚意,仅带几名官兵,蹚过齐腰深的河水前出交涉. 交涉过程中,对方无视我方诚意,早有预谋地潜藏、调动大量兵力,企图凭借人多势众迫使我方退让. 赶到对峙点增援的陈红军,在得知团长祁发宝被围困的消息后,带人冲入人群营救,冒着敌人的“石头雨”“棍棒阵”,奋不顾身、英勇战斗,成功营救出祁发宝,而他自己却再也没有出来. 回顾那场战斗,一名指挥员动情地说,我官兵上下同欲、生死相依是这次战斗以少胜多的关键所在.

The rest of the piece is a bit of an emotional biography of Chen.

It ends by telling us that on the first anniversary of the Galwan Valley clashes, PLA troops on the frontline “once again came to the place of sacrifice of the martyrs” with a vow on the cliffs of the Galwan Valley: “大好河山寸土不让” dàhǎo héshān cùntǔ bù ràng - Great rivers and mountains, never yield an inch of territory.

Also on the page is a piece of “major political groups” in Hong Kong hitting out against new US sanctions on Chinese officials from the Liaison Office.

Page 5: The page heralds the beginning of a new series of articles on Xi Jinping Thought. This is in Q&A format. It talks about the thoughts and theories of earlier leaders and tells us that Xi Thought has today allowed the “Party’s guiding ideology (Marxism) to keep pace with the times.” It says that Xi thought is “the fundamental guideline of national political and social life” in China.” There’s a lot of effort to tell us that Xi thought is Marxist and is actually keeping Marxism relevant today. Rather helpfully, at the end of each of these long-winded answers, we have a summary of the key points:

“Xi Jinping's thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is the inheritance and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of "Three Represents" and the scientific concept of development. It is the latest achievement of Marxism in China, the crystallization of the practical experience and collective wisdom of the party and the people, an important part of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and an action guide for the whole party and the whole people to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It must be adhered to and continuously developed for a long time.” 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想是对马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想、邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观的继承和发展,是马克思主义中国化最新成果,是党和人民实践经验和集体智慧的结晶,是中国特色社会主义理论体系的重要组成部分,是全党全国人民为实现中华民族伟大复兴而奋斗的行动指南,必须长期坚持并不断发展.

The next question is about how Xi thought was developed. The answer is that Xi Thought aims to answer the questions of the times. So basically, amid these unprecedented changes that are taking place in the world, everyone’s been wondering what should be done.

“The Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has gained profound insight into the laws of the evolving international landscape, accurately grasped the pulsating world trends, and actively promoted the building of a community of human destiny, providing a new direction and new options for solving a series of major issues such as the world economy, international security and global governance.” 以习近平同志为核心的党中央深刻洞悉国际格局演变的规律,准确把握世界潮流浩荡的脉动,积极推动构建人类命运共同体,为解决世界经济、国际安全、全球治理等一系列重大问题提供了新的方向、新的选择. 

And there’s already been so much success!

“With great political courage and strong responsibility, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has faced up to major challenges, major risks, major resistance and major contradictions, promoted the overall layout of "five in one" and coordinated the strategic layout of "four comprehensives", climbed over the hurdles in reform and innovation, and marched forward in tackling difficulties, promoting the Party and the State to make historic achievements and historical changes.” 以习近平同志为核心的党中央,以巨大的政治勇气和强烈的责任担当,直面重大挑战、重大风险、重大阻力、重大矛盾,统筹推进“五位一体”总体布局,协调推进“四个全面”战略布局,在改革创新中爬坡过坎,在攻坚克难中奋勇前行,推动党和国家事业取得历史性成就、发生历史性变革. 

Anyway, here’s how this ends:

General Secretary Xi Jinping is the main founder of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. With the extraordinary theoretical courage, outstanding political wisdom and strong missionary commitment of a Marxist statesman, thinker and strategist, Xi Jinping put forward a series of groundbreaking new concepts, ideas and strategies with the sentiment of ‘I will be selfless and determined to devote myself to serving the Chinese people’, which played a decisive role and contributed to the creation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The founding and development of this ideology has been a decisive role and contribution. The creation and development of this ideology condenses the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Party and the people, and manifests the essence of the Chinese spirit of the times. As the guiding ideology that the Party and the state must adhere to in the long run, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era holds a high spiritual banner for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and provides Chinese wisdom for world peace and human progress, which will surely shine more brilliantly in the history of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the history of the development of Marxism and the history of human social progress.”   习近平总书记是习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的主要创立者。习近平总书记以马克思主义政治家、思想家、战略家的非凡理论勇气、卓越政治智慧、强烈使命担当,以“我将无我,不负人民”的赤子情怀,提出一系列具有开创性意义的新理念新思想新战略,为习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的创立发挥了决定性作用、作出了决定性贡献。这一思想的创立和发展,凝结了党和人民实践经验和集体智慧,彰显了中国精神的时代精华。作为党和国家必须长期坚持的指导思想,习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为新时代坚持和发展中国特色社会主义高高举起了精神旗帜,为世界和平和人类进步提供了中国智慧,必将在中华民族复兴史上、马克思主义发展史上和人类社会进步史上绽放出更为灿烂的真理光芒.

Page 7: The previous page has a feature on the Party’s spiritual strength, with three pieces. But the more important thing to note is this on Page 7. Here PD is carrying a Xinhua article bylined ​​Zhong Hualun 钟华论. This is a long piece about carrying forward the great party-building spirit to forge ahead. It basically reiterates the key themes and anecdotes that we’ve heard throughout the past seven months. Anyway, the big point is this:

“The great spirit of party building has summarized the historical logic, theoretical logic and practical logic of the Communist Party of China’s century-long struggle, and provided the ‘golden key’ for people to deeply understand ‘why the Communist Party of China’ is still in its prime after 100 years.” 胜负之征,精神先见。伟大建党精神,高度概括了中国共产党百年奋斗的历史逻辑、理论逻辑和实践逻辑,为人们深刻理解“中国共产党为什么能”提供了一把“金钥匙”,蕴含着百年大党依然风华正茂的精神密码. 

And this: “One of the most important reasons why the Communist Party of China is full of vigor and vitality is that we always insist that the party should manage the party and strictly manage the party in an all-round way. To carry forward the great spirit of party building, we should be brave in self-revolution, resolutely remove all the factors that damage the advanced nature and purity of the party, remove all the viruses that erode the healthy body of the party, understand great morality, observe public morality and be strict with private morality, ensure that the party does not deteriorate, change color or taste, and always become a strong leadership core in the historical process of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.” 中国共产党历经千锤百炼而朝气蓬勃,一个很重要的原因就是我们始终坚持党要管党、全面从严治党。弘扬伟大建党精神,就应勇于自我革命,坚决清除一切损害党的先进性和纯洁性的因素,清除一切侵蚀党的健康肌体的病毒,明大德、守公德、严私德,确保党不变质、不变色、不变味,在新时代坚持和发展中国特色社会主义的历史进程中始终成为坚强领导核心. 

And why this is needed is because there are key challenges ahead: “To carry forward the great party-building spirit, we should stimulate the spirit of struggle, strengthen the ability to fight, and wage a great struggle with new historical characteristics.”

Page 14: This page carries a full report on Party Committee leaders in enterprises talking about the importance and benefit of Party building. These individuals also hold high positions in the corporate hierarchy in their respective enterprises. Here, they are basically presenting a report card of sorts talking about Party building in enterprises, and the Party committee’s expanding role in enterprise decisionmaking and how enterprises are serving the Party’s objectives. This is basically them telling the Party’s leadership that they’ve been fulfilling the political imperatives.

So we have someone from Baidu, from Sunshine Insurance Group, Ping An Insurance (Group), Shaanxi Xifeng Wine Co., etc. You can read the details, but here’s what the first one, i.e., Huang Baoxin, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Deputy General Manager of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., Ltd. telling us that: “the party committee participates in discussing and supervising the major business decisions, business development and strategic transformation of the company…”

​​The Baidu representative said that the Party committee there has “taken the lead in setting up a content security committee, made overall plans to establish a three-tier risk prevention and control system, and formulated relevant systems for party committees to manage content security. Adhere to the original mission of serving the country with science and technology and play a leading role in scientific and technological innovation...The Party Committee of the Group promotes the political consciousness of all employees to the greatest extent in its work and forms a strong fighting capacity.” “牵头设立内容安全委员会,统筹建立三层风险防控体系,制定党委管理内容安全的相关制度。坚持科技报国的初心使命,在科技创新中发挥引领作用. 集团党委在工作中最大程度提升全体员工政治意识,形成强大战斗力.”

Anyway, so it goes for different enterprises.

My take: From the outside, one can look at this as an example of how Chinese private enterprises are increasingly an extension of the Party. And of course, there’s a clear case for this, and there has been greater effort by the Xi administration to wield power over private entities. So such stuff will only deepen suspicions outside. But then, there’s also clearly an incentive at home for enterprises to play up the role of Party committees, irrespective of the actual decision-making influence they might have. It’s politically sound to do so at home.

Page 17: On the International page today, we have a short report about the Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada saying that he favours a political settlement to the Afghan issue.