Xi's FOCAC Speech - Vocational Skills Training for Common Prosperity - Li's AALCO Speech - Zhang Youxia on PLA after the 6th Plenum - China-Russia Energy Cooperation
Here are the stories and pieces from the November 30, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: The lead story on the page is about the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The story essentially discusses the key points from Xi Jinping’s speech (full English text of the speech). In it, Xi made a lot of commitments, framing these as nine programs.
But before we get to those, here’s Xi’s explanation for the success of China-Africa relations.
“The key lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness.”
Here are the different commitments that Xi’s made, along with a bit of context that I’ve pulled together.
Xi said that China will provide 600 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as donation and 400 million doses via such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. It will also send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa. Xi said this is to support the goal of vaccinating 60% of Africa’s population by 2022. But there is no clear timeline on delivery of the vaccines. Al Jazeera’s report says that China has provided 200 million vaccine doses to Africa so far. But Bloomberg reports that “China has already sold 136 million vaccine doses to Africa and pledged 19 million in donations, according to the Beijing-based Bridge Consulting, which tallies deliveries through government press releases and news reports. Beijing has delivered 107 million of those doses, and another 11.6 million through the Covax initiative, the consulting firm said Monday.”
China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa.
Xi said that China aims to reach a target of $300 billion in total imports from Africa in the next three years. For comparison, China’s Jan-Oct. imports from Africa are less than $100 billion (RMB 558 billion).
China will provide $10 billion of trade finance to support African exports. This is twice the 2018 FOCAC commitment.
China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years. This is the same as 2018 FOCAC commitment.
Xi promised 10 industrialisation & employment promotion projects for Africa; credit facilities of $10 billion to African financial institutions; exemption for African LDCs from debt incurred in form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by 2021 end.
The Chinese president also promised $10 billion from China’s share of the IMF’s new allocation of Special Drawing Rights.
He spoke about digital cooperation, particularly on satellite remote-sensing application and the development of China-Africa joint labs, partner institutes, and scientific and technological innovation bases.
Xi made a commitment to launch a campaign to market 100 African stores and 1,000 African products on e-commerce platforms. He also said that China would “encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs.”
“China will undertake 10 peace and security projects for Africa, continue to deliver military assistance to the AU, support African countries’ efforts to independently maintain regional security and fight terrorism, and conduct joint exercises and on-site training between Chinese and African peacekeeping troops and cooperation on small arms and light weapons control.”
Do also note this China Daily report on FOCAC. It says that the meeting, which ends today, is “set to release not only a three-year action plan, but also a 2035 vision for China-Africa cooperation, and a declaration on joint Sino-African responses to climate change.” Also note: “85 percent of the projects, and 70 percent of the $60 billion agreed at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC have been carried out, utilized or arranged.”
Towards the end, the PD story talks about reactions from African leaders. As per the report, they “highly appreciated China's provision of valuable assistance.” They said that they are “willing to work with China to consolidate unity and friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and actively build the 'Belt and Road Initiative, usher in a new era of Africa-China relations, and build a community of shared future for Africa and China in a new era.” They also said that they “will continue to firmly adhere to the one-China policy and support China’s great cause of reunification;” “support the global development initiative put forward by the Chinese side”; and they support “the Chinese side in successfully hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.”
Do also note: Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi and He Lifeng were among the attendees from the Chinese side, as per PD.
Next, there’s a report on Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin sending congratulatory letters (English report) to the third China-Russia Energy Business Forum. Xi said:
“the two sides have overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, achieved growth in energy trade against downward pressure, advanced their major cooperation projects smoothly, and continuously explored new areas and ways of cooperation. The remarkable achievements in bilateral energy cooperation have demonstrated the broad potential of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. China is ready to work with Russia to forge a closer partnership for energy cooperation, and jointly safeguard energy security and tackle the challenge of global climate change.”
“Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era is at an unprecedentedly high level. He noted that cross-border oil and gas pipelines between the two countries have been operating stably, energy trade expanding steadily, and a number of major projects advancing smoothly, such as the development of liquefied natural gas in the Arctic region and the joint construction of nuclear power units. Putin said he hopes that the enterprises of the two sides will strengthen coordination, explore new cooperation areas like energy informatization and green energy, and further enrich China-Russia energy cooperation.”
While on the subject, do note Han Zheng’s four-point proposal for China-Russia energy cooperation:
The two sides should accelerate the building of a cooperation pattern that links the upper and lower levels of cooperation and promote the coordinated development of energy trade, investment, technology and service cooperation.
The two sides should actively explore new areas and connotations of energy cooperation, strengthen cooperation on the pilot and application of new technologies in the energy field, and deepen cooperation on the alignment and mutual recognition of energy standards.
He pointed out that the two countries should create a sound cooperation environment, provide quality services, and mutually guide and promote energy enterprises to expand investment.
The two countries should also join hands to promote green and low-carbon energy transformation and deepen cooperation in renewable energy, hydrogen energy, energy storage, and smart energy. They should also jointly implement global development initiatives and make positive contributions to climate change response.
Page 2: First, there’s a story about the implementation of a vocational education program in Qinghai. This is the “Dream Realisation Action Plan” for vocational education, which Qinghai has had since 2018. Some 10,000 children from low-income, poverty-stricken families have used the program to complete their education, the story informs. To me what’s interesting about this article is that this program is today being framed within the common prosperity narrative.
The piece tells the story of Ma Xiaowei from Guide County in Qinghai. in 2018, Ma failed in the college entrance examination and entered Qinghai Institute of Architecture to study elevator engineering technology. He also worked as an intern at a company in Xining, where he eventually got placed after graduation. The moral of the story: hard work eventually pays off. Or as Xi Jinping says: “a happy life is achieved through hard work, and common prosperity is created through hard work and wisdom.” 习近平总书记指出，幸福生活都是奋斗出来的，共同富裕要靠勤劳智慧来创造.
The piece adds:
“We need to ensure and improve people’s livelihood through development and give top priority to high-quality development. We need to create more inclusive and fair conditions for people to improve their education level and enhance their capacity for development. We need to upgrade human capital and professional skills of the whole society, improve their employment and entrepreneurship ability, and enhance their ability to get rich.”
Second, there’s a reactions story based on Xi’s comments at the military-talents conference. This tells us that in all departments and units of the CMC, there have been either individual self-study efforts or collective study sessions to understand Xi’s comments. They feel that the speech “has set a new goal, a new vision, and a new pattern for forging a new type of military personnel.”
Page 3: First, a report (English report) based on Li Keqiang’s comments (full speech) at the 59th annual session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO). Li announced that China will set up a regional arbitration center with AALCO in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region “to provide more accessible and efficient dispute-settlement services to Asian and African countries.”
Li made five proposals:
upholding sovereign equality and jointly practicing multilateralism
The historical experience of Asian and African countries has time and again proven that external intervention frequently brings about regional instability, unilateral sanctions seriously harm national economy and people’s livelihood, and excessive use of force only creates humanitarian crises. We should always uphold the equality of all countries, big or small, and fully respect the right of all countries to independently choose their development paths and models, as well as the diversity of civilizations and social systems. The affairs of a country should be decided by its own people, and international affairs should be handled through consultation.
strengthening connectivity and jointly advancing opening-up for mutual benefit;
The security and stability of industrial and supply chains bears on the overall interests of the international community. We should deepen mutually beneficial, open and inclusive partnerships and enhance regional economic integration. We should uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core and increase the voice of developing countries in making international economic and trade rules.
building a strong line of defense against the coronavirus and jointly strengthening global health governance;
accelerating a green transition and jointly promoting sustainable development;
Developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions and stopping pollution, and provide financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries. Developing countries should also promote green and low-carbon transformation in a balanced and orderly manner in light of their national conditions.
upholding fairness and justice and jointly strengthening international rule of law
Apart from the upholding the international system with the UN at its core, Li said: “We should fully accommodate each other’s concerns, actively participate in the development of new mechanisms and rules in emerging areas such as deep sea, polar regions, outer space, cyberspace and digital space, and ensure the right of the people of Asia and Africa to share the fruits of development.”
Second, a report on the State Council’s new regulation on new law-enforcement methods for individuals and corporations violating laws in the capital markets. The regulation comes into effect from January 1, 2022.
Xinhua English says that the regulation “details fresh measures for government enforcement departments in handling individuals and corporations that break securities or futures laws but promise to rectify illegal behaviors, compensate investors for losses and eliminate negative effects. The promises made by violators should be approved by the securities regulatory bodies under the State Council, the regulation states, adding that after the approval and implementation of the promises, law-enforcement bodies shall terminate investigations into the violators.”
Next, MoFA’s comments (English comments) on reports of the US and potentially some other countries announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. In a nutshell, Wang Wenbin lashed out what he said was a “smearing campaign” and said:
“A successful and splendid Games relies on the concerted efforts of the big Winter Olympics family, not on the attendance of a handful of countries’ government officials. We hope certain countries can avoid overplaying their hands. Besides, according to Olympic rules, foreign dignitaries attend the Olympic Games at the invitation of their respective national Olympic committee.”
Finally, a brief report about the Asia Youth Leaders Forum that is taking place in Guangzhou, with some 300 young youth leaders and guests attending.
Page 4: First, a report about Li Zhanshu’s comments at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. As per Xinhua English, Li said that:
“the world is undergoing profound changes and a pandemic, posing severe challenges to the security and development of all countries, Li said, adding that terrorism, extremism and separatism have brought uncertainties to regional security and stability. Some countries have drawn ideological lines and frequently imposed unilateral sanctions, which has severely impacted the international and regional security governance systems and multilateral mechanisms. He said that, under these new circumstances, the legislatures of all member countries need to actively carry out bilateral and multilateral cooperation to deal with unilateralism, hegemonism and other security issues.”
Next, a report (English report) telling us that the next NPC Standing Committee session will be held from Dec. 20 to 24. The report says that lawmakers will review draft laws on organised crime, wetland protection, and the prevention and control of noise pollution, noted the agenda. They will deliberate on draft amendments to the Organic Law of the Local People’s Congresses and Local People’s Governments, the Seed Law, and the Civil Litigation Law. The draft revisions to the Law on Scientific and Technological Progress and the Vocational Education Law will also be presented to lawmakers for deliberation. In addition, there’ll also be a revision to the draft revision of the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests.
Third, a bunch of Party secretary confirmations:
Wang Dongfeng elected as Hubei Party Secretary
Yin Li elected Fujian Party Secretary
Liu Ning elected Guangxi Party Secretary
Two more reports to note. First, Yang Xiaodu talking about the 6th Plenum spirit at the National Supervision Commission of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. He stressed the the “decisive significance of the ‘two establishments’.” Second, more 6th Plenum propaganda in Hangzhou and Nanchang.
Page 6: Today’s post-6th Plenum piece is by CMC’s Zhang Youxia. He talks about the goal of building a strong military with Chinese characteristics, which is a learning from the Party’s history.
He argues that since the 18th Party Congress, Xi has “clearly put forward the Party’s goal of strengthening the armed forces in the new era, clarified the mission and tasks of the armed forces in the new era, made a series of strategic plans and arrangements for accelerating the modernisation of national defense and the military, and promoted the cause of strengthening the military to ensure historic changes and make historic achievements, providing strategic support for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 习主席站在统筹“两个大局”的战略高度，鲜明提出党在新时代的强军目标，明确新时代我军使命任务，就加快国防和军队现代化作出一系列战略谋划和部署，推动强军事业取得历史性成就、发生历史性变革，为实现中华民族伟大复兴提供战略支撑.
The most fundamental outcome of this effort by Xi has been to “save the PLA.” “In view of the serious political risks faced by our armed forces in the period before the 18th Party Congress, President Xi made every effort to turn the tide, resolve the crisis and set the trend. He led a military political work conference in Gutian for political construction of the army in the new era and led the army to regroup and set out.” In addition, he vigorously promoted political training, resolutely investigated and dealt with serious cases of violation of discipline and punished Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Fang Fenghui and Zhang Yang, while also thoroughly eliminating their pernicious influence, focussing on rectifying thoughts, personnel, organisation and discipline, revitalising political discipline and purify political ecology.” 针对党的十八大之前一个时期我军面临的严重政治风险，习主席力挽狂澜、扶危定倾，领导召开古田全军政治工作会议，确立新时代政治建军方略，带领全军重整行装再出发. 大力推进政治整训，坚决查处郭伯雄、徐才厚、房峰辉、张阳等严重违纪违法案件并彻底肃清其流毒影响，着力整顿思想、整顿用人、整顿组织、整顿纪律，重振政治纲纪，纯正政治生态.
Focusing on comprehensively strengthening the Party leadership and Party building in the armed forces, we made a series of political designs and institutional arrangements, deepened the ideological guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era in the armed forces, carried out education and consolidated the ideological and political foundation of maintaining the core and obeying the command. 围绕全面加强我军党的领导和党的建设工作，作出一系列政治设计和制度安排，深化习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想武装，开展一系列党内集中教育和主题教育，全面锻造过硬基层，夯实维护核心、听从指挥的思想政治根基.
In addition, Zhang talks about the effort to comprehensively improve combat readiness. He argues that “efforts have been made to rectify deep-rooted evils of peace, transform and upgrade military training, intensify military preparedness, and cultivate the fighting spirit. In particular, President Xi has personally planned and organised major exercises and training activities, made decisions and commands for major military operations, carried out military struggle firmly and flexibly, effectively responded to emergencies, and made many landmark, groundbreaking and historic achievements. There has been a revolutionary reshaping of the integrity of the armed forces.” 大力纠治和平积弊，推进军事训练转型升级，狠抓军事斗争准备，大抓战斗精神培育，我军威慑和实战能力显著提升。特别是习主席亲自筹划组织重大演训活动，亲自决策指挥重大军事行动，坚定灵活开展军事斗争，有效应对突发情况，取得许多标志性、开创性、历史性重大成就。实现我军整体性革命性重塑.
After this he specifically talks about the military reforms initiated under Xi. The next section talks about ensuring the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought for developing the armed forces.
Under this, he says that the “political building of the armed forces” is the “foundation of our forces and its biggest advantage.” He argues that “the Party’s command is the soul of a strong army, and the key to absolute loyalty to the party lies in the word ‘absolute’.” 强调听党指挥是强军之魂，对党绝对忠诚要害在“绝对”二字，确保枪杆子永远掌握在忠于党的可靠的人手中.
He also talks about the importance of giving “full play to the role of political work as the lifeline of strengthening and invigorating the armed forces, firmly establish ideals and beliefs, Party principles, combat effectiveness standards, and the prestige of political work in the armed forces…”
“Pass down the red gene from generation to generation, let the revolutionary cause pass on from generation to generation, and the blood of the Red Army be preserved forever.” 把红色基因一代代传下去，让革命事业薪火相传、血脉永续，永葆老红军本色.
Next, he talks about the importance of persisting in the reform agenda, and putting at innovation at the core of the PLA’s overall development. He adds that it is important to “strengthen research on forward-looking, pioneering, exploratory and disruptive technologies, accelerate the cultivation of new scientific and technological growth points, and accelerate the development of intelligent military; key and core technologies are of great importance to the country. We must resolutely promote independent innovation and keep the lifeblood of military development firmly in our own hands…President Xi’s important remarks have clarified the focus of building a strong military through science and technology. We must highlight strategic priorities, concentrate on tackling key problems, and spare no effort to promote the leapfrog development of national defense science and technology innovation.” 加强前瞻性、先导性、探索性、颠覆性技术研究，加快培育新的科技增长点，加快军事智能化发展；关键核心技术是国之重器，必须坚定推进自主创新，把我军发展命脉牢牢掌握在自己手中；强化军事价值、知识价值、创新贡献导向，让先进科学技术尽快转化为现实战斗力。习主席重要论述明确了科技强军的聚焦点着力点，我们必须突出战略重点，集中力量攻关，全力以赴推进国防科技创新跨越式发展.
Next, he talks about strengthening the armed forces through talent. After this, he talks about “establishing a military rule of law system with Chinese characteristics and enhance the rule of law in national defense and the armed forces.” He adds that it is important to “strengthen the rule of law beliefs and thinking about the rule of law, leading cadres to take the lead in respecting the law, learning the law, abiding by the law and using it.” He also says that the “vitality of laws and regulations lies in their implementation,” promising to address weaknesses and ensure that all orders and prohibitions are strictly enforced.
“President Xi called on the entire armed forces to firmly focus on the ability to fight and win, firmly establish the fundamental standard of combat effectiveness, and return the focus of work to war preparedness. It stresses the importance of enhancing the aggressiveness and initiative of military strategic guidance, and taking preparations for and cessation of war, deterrence and actual combat, war operations and the use of military force in peacetime as a whole.” 习主席要求全军紧紧扭住能打仗、打胜仗这个强军之要，牢固树立战斗力这个唯一的根本的标准，把工作重心归正到备战打仗上来。强调要增强军事战略指导的进取性和主动性，把备战与止战、威慑与实战、战争行动与和平时期军事力量运用作为一个整体加以运筹.
He further talks about the need to:
study military affairs, wars and battles, strengthen the command system and capacity building of joint operations
focus on military training based on actual combat, carry out joint combat training, strengthen scientific and technological training, and carry out military training in accordance with the law
focus on building logistics for fighting, and accelerate the development of weapons and equipment systems that meet the requirements of informatized warfare and mission fulfilment.
Going ahead, Zhang says that it is important to:
Unswervingly uphold the Party's absolute leadership over the PLA. To build a strong military soul under the banner of the Party, the first thing is to do a good job in Xi Jinping's ideological arming of strengthening the military…implement the Chairman Responsibility System resolutely, comprehensively, concretely and unconditionally, and ensure that Chairman Xi’s orders reach all officers and men directly…deepen political rectification and training, root out corruption at the source of our thinking, take comprehensive measures to cut off political circles and links, and strike a combination of blows to improve conduct, strengthen discipline, and fight corruption. 在党的旗帜下铸牢军魂，首要的是抓好习近平强军思想武装，以改进学风为突破口，把理论与实践深度对接起来，在学思用贯通、知信行统一中培塑忠诚品格、立牢根本指导。构建系统完备的我军党的建设制度体系，狠抓各项制度贯通落实，尤其要坚决、全面、具体、无条件地贯彻军委主席负责制，确保习主席号令直达末端、直达官兵。持续深化政治整训，从思想源头上挖根除弊，在斩圈断链上综合施策，打好正风肃纪反腐的组合拳，营造政治上的绿水青山.
Faced with “containment and suppression from hostile forces” it is important to “muster up the spirit of daring to fight to win.” He further calls for making “great efforts to build offensive and defensive tools,” “accelerate the development of trump cards to deter the enemy and control the enemy, strengthen the elite forces that can be used in joint operations, strengthen the system of support for joint operations, vigorously innovate strategies and tactics that are superior to the enemy’s, continuously accumulate advantages for winning wars and master the strategic initiative.” 把军事这个保底手段搞过硬，就必须在打造攻防利器上下功夫，加速发展慑敌制敌的王牌底牌，全面锤炼顶用堪用的精锐力量，抓紧建强联合作战的体系支撑，大力创新高敌一筹的策略战法，不断累积胜战优势、掌握战略主动.
Focus on high-quality development of national defense. This entails a focus on “quality and efficiency.” He talks about the need to address “problems in operational command, force structure, logistics support, equipment research and development, and policies and institutions.” Also, he wants to focus on “quality and efficiency in scientific and technological innovation, tackling key and core technologies, advancing major projects in national defense science and technology, accelerating the effective supply of advanced combat capabilities, and achieving self-reliance in high-level science and technology.”
The final point he makes is about high quality talents.
The lead piece on the theory page is by Yi Lianhong, Party Secretary of Jiangxi. He talks about the history resolution and inheriting the red gene.