Discover more from Tracking People's Daily
Xi's HK Visit - Wang Qishan in Philippines - Historical Confidence - More Financial Support for 'Major Projects' & Infrastructure - Foreign Investment Law Inspections - MND Warns Australia & Canada
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy in the Friday, July 1, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: The first two pages of today’s paper are all about Xi Jinping, and his visit to Hong Kong. If you are interested, there’s a special, very red microsite that Xinhua has put together for the visit and the 25th anniversary of HK’s handover. Xi has already left the city after today’s ceremony inaugurating the new government there. If you are interested in watching the scenes and listening to his comments at the event, here’s a video below. Xi’s comments begin around 1:22:30.
Anyway, in PD today, there’s a story about Xi’s arrival in Hong Kong yesterday and the reception he received upon arrival. At the train station, Xi delivered a speech. Xinhua English has a good summary of what’s covered in the PD report too.
“Xi said he has been all along concerned about and caring for Hong Kong. ‘My heart and the central government’s heart are always with the Hong Kong compatriots.’ Over a period of time, Hong Kong had withstood a series of grave tests and overcome a series of risks and challenges. Hong Kong has since emerged stronger and shown great vigor, Xi said. Facts have proven the great vitality of ‘one country, two systems,’ which guarantees Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability and ensures the well-being of the Hong Kong compatriots, Xi said. Xi stressed that as long as ‘one country, two systems’ is upheld unswervingly, Hong Kong will surely have an even brighter future and make new, greater contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
If you would like to listen to it, here’s a video of Xi’s full remarks at the train station.
The report also mentions the people who accompanied Xi: Ding Xuexiang, Director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission; Shen Yueyue, Vice Chairman of the NPCSC; State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi; Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, and others.
“With the firm support of the central authorities, Lam has faithfully fulfilled her constitutional responsibilities as the chief executive and unswervingly implemented the ‘one country, two systems’ policy and the Basic Law of the HKSAR over the past five years, Xi said. Lam has led the HKSAR government in exercising law-based governance and united people from all walks of life to end violence and chaos and restore order in Hong Kong, fight COVID-19 and integrate into national development, Xi noted. Lam has made arduous efforts and vital contributions to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, implementing the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong,’ and enabling Hong Kong to achieve a major transition from chaos to order, he said. Xi said he hopes that Lam will actively support the incoming chief executive and the new-term HKSAR government in exercising law-based governance and continue to contribute to the development of Hong Kong and the motherland.”
The report also says that “Xi also met with senior figures of the HKSAR's executive, legislative and judicial bodies, local dignitaries, representatives of the HKSAR disciplined services, central government officials based in Hong Kong and senior executives of Hong Kong branches of mainland enterprises and institutions.”
Third, there’s a report about Xi visiting the Hong Kong Science Park. The report says that Xi had “warm exchanges with Hong Kong-based academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, researchers, and young entrepreneurs.” Xinhua adds:
“In a visit to the Hong Kong Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases within the park, Xi learned about the progress in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and encouraged researchers to make more world-leading achievements. When talking with academicians, researchers, and youth representatives of innovation enterprises, Xi called on Hong Kong to better cooperate with mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, strengthen the collaborative development of enterprises, universities and research institutions, and strive to build the bay area into a global highland for scientific and technological innovation. Xi expressed the hope that the tradition of loving the motherland and Hong Kong will be carried forward and more contribution will be made to build China into a global leader in science and technology. Efforts should also be made to pave way for the youths, providing them with more growth space, Xi said.”
“In his message, Xi recalled that not long ago, he talked with Marcos over phone and reached an important consensus with him on upholding good-neighborly friendship of the two countries and joining hands for common development. Xi said he is ready to work with Marcos to chart the course for the development of bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective, and continue to write a great chapter of the China-Philippines friendship and cooperation for the new era, so as to benefit the two countries and their people.”
“At a meeting with the new Philippine president, Wang said President Marcos and his family have made great contributions to enhancing the China-Philippines friendship. The Chinese side has always given priority to the Philippines in its neighborhood diplomacy, and is ready to work with the new Philippine government in carrying on their friendship, boosting mutual trust and deepening cooperation so as to usher in a new ‘golden age’ in bilateral ties, he said.” Wang then outlined a four-point proposal:
both sides should develop bilateral relations under the guidance of the two heads of state
the two countries should dovetail their development strategies so as to foster new growth points of pragmatic cooperation in the new era
The two sides should properly resolve differences and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the South China Sea
the two countries should uphold international equality and justice, and jointly promote peace and development in Asia, as well as the well-being of humanity
Interestingly, last week, the outgoing Philippines government terminated talks with China over joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea. The Philippines and China had in 2018 signed a memorandum on joint resource exploration. China later proposed a joint project in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. One condition set by Beijing was to put aside an international arbitration ruling that rejected China’s claim over most of the South China Sea.
Anyway, the final report on the front page is on Qiushi publishing Xi’s speech at the opening of a study session at the Central Party School, which was attended by provincial and ministerial-level officials, on January 11, 2022.
According to the PD report today, the speech made the following points:
It is necessary to promote the modernisation of Marxism in China
It is necessary to grasp the principal contradiction in society and the central task to drive the overall work
It is necessary to pay attention to strategic and tactical issues
It is necessary to preserve the Party’s Marxist character; persist in self-revolution and be strict with private morality, be clean and honest, and fight corruption with tenacity and perseverance.
The 6th Plenum resolution represents a “new understanding of the history of the Party’s centennial struggle,” and that this must be studied, understood and implemented
You can read my detailed breakdown of the reporting on the speech back in January, if you like. It covers all the above points in detail.
“Stressing the need to maintain stability while pursuing progress, Xi urged Ho and the Macao SAR government to work tirelessly on epidemic prevention and control, consistently and effectively alleviate hardship of people's livelihood, boost economic recovery, firmly promote a moderately diversified economy, and make every effort in safeguarding social stability in Macao.”
“Xi praised Leung for the tremendous efforts he has devoted to promoting national modernization and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability since he became vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee. Xi expressed the hope that Leung will fully support the incoming chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the sixth-term government of the HKSAR in exercising law-based governance, and make new contributions to the enduring success of the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ along with people from different sectors. Leung expressed his gratitude to President Xi's care and encouragement, and pledged all-out efforts to continue serving Hong Kong and the motherland.”
There’s a report about enthusiastic responses from people of Hong Kong to Xi’s arrival and comments. Finally, there’s an editorial on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover. There’s a lot of repetition in terms of the narrative that I’ve already covered over the past week. But the key point being made is that HK is at a new starting point, although there’s a little caveat attached.
It says that:
“Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping and the CPC Central Committee have made a series of important expositions and major decisions and deployments on the work of ‘one country, two systems’ and Hong Kong from the strategic and overall perspective, and promoted the cause of ‘one country, two systems’ to gain new experience and achieve new development. With the strong support of the central government and the mainland, and the joint efforts of the HKSAR government and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, Hong Kong's economy has continued to flourish, its position as an international financial, shipping and trade center has been continuously consolidated, the democratic rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law have been more fully guaranteed, and various undertakings have made great progress…” 特别是党的十八大以来，习近平总书记和党中央从战略和全局出发，对“一国两制”、香港工作作出一系列重要论述和重大决策部署，推动“一国两制”事业取得新经验、实现新发展。在中央政府和祖国内地的大力支持下，在香港特别行政区政府和香港社会各界人士的共同努力下，香港经济持续蓬勃发展，国际金融、航运、贸易中心的地位不断巩固，香港居民依法享有的民主权利和自由得到更加充分保障，各项事业取得长足进步，书写了狮子山下新的传奇.
The next paragraph says that “when the situation in HK was once grim, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core assessed the situation and took important decisions to improve the central government's overall governance over the SAR in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, and to improve the relevant systems and mechanisms for the implementation of the Constitution and the Basic Law in the SAR. It promoted the establishment and improvement of the legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the SAR, formulated the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Special Administrative Region, improved the electoral system, implemented the principle of ‘patriots governing Hong Kong’, and supported the HK in improving the oath system for public officials. These series of measures to treat both the symptoms and root causes have pushed the situation in Hong Kong to achieve a major transition from chaos to governance. Practice has fully proved that to ensure the stability and far-reaching implementation of ‘one country, two systems’, we must always adhere to the principle of ‘patriots governing Hong Kong’. This is the fundamental principle that concerns national sovereignty, security, development interests and Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. Only when ‘patriots govern Hong Kong’ can the central government's overall governance over the region be effectively implemented, the order established by the Constitution and the Basic Law be effectively maintained, and various deep-seated problems can be effectively solved, so that Hong Kong can achieve long-term stability and make due contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 当香港局势一度出现严峻局面，以习近平同志为核心的党中央审时度势，作出健全中央依照宪法和基本法对特别行政区行使全面管治权、完善特别行政区同宪法和基本法实施相关制度机制的重大决策，推动建立健全特别行政区维护国家安全的法律制度和执行机制、制定《中华人民共和国香港特别行政区维护国家安全法》、完善香港特别行政区选举制度，落实“爱国者治港”原则，支持特别行政区完善公职人员宣誓制度。一系列标本兼治的举措，推动香港局势实现由乱到治的重大转折。实践充分证明，要确保“一国两制”实践行稳致远，必须始终坚持“爱国者治港”。这是事关国家主权、安全、发展利益，事关香港长期繁荣稳定的根本原则。只有做到“爱国者治港”，中央对特别行政区的全面管治权才能得到有效落实，宪法和基本法确立的宪制秩序才能得到有效维护，各种深层次问题才能得到有效解决，香港才能实现长治久安，并为实现中华民族伟大复兴作出应有的贡献.
Later the piece adds a warning: “Facts will continue to prove that as long as we adhere to the principle of ‘one country’, make good use of the advantages of ‘two systems’ and find a correct position in the overall situation of national development, Hong Kong will surely be able to cultivate new advantages, play a new role and achieve new development, so that the fruits of development can truly benefit the vast number of Hong Kong residents.” 事实将继续证明，只要坚守“一国”之本、善用“两制”之利，在国家发展大局中找准定位，香港定能培育新优势、发挥新作用、实现新发展，让发展成果真正惠及广大香港居民.
“The meeting highlighted the need to implement the prudent monetary policy to good effect, better harness structural monetary policy tools, and boost the capability of the financial sector to serve the real economy, so as to keep overall economic performance stable, and to secure employment and people's livelihoods. Policy-based, developmental financial instruments are designed to increase financing support for major projects by playing a greater guiding role, without resorting to massive stimulus or excessive money supply. They will serve to improve the transmission mechanism of monetary policy, better match bank deposits and loans in size and structure, and deliver the combined effects of boosting investment, consumption and employment…The meeting decided to employ policy-based and developmental financial instruments with a combined scale of 300 billion yuan (about 44.7 billion U.S. dollars) by issuing financial bonds. The funds are designed to replenish the capital for major projects such as new infrastructure without exceeding half of the total investment, or to provide bridge financing for projects funded by special-purpose bonds.”
In addition, the “central government will give a two-year interest subsidy (another report calls it interest discount; PD says: 适当贴息) to the banks as appropriate for the actual equity investment made under the funds. Financial institutions will be guided to enhance supporting financing, attract private investment and generate more actual economic gains as quickly as possible.
Li Keqiang said: “Many of the key projects identified by both central and local governments are infrastructure projects including new types of infrastructure. Setting up such investment funds will help spur local governments in generating more actual economic gains as quickly as possible.”
Apart from this, the meeting “decided to expand public works programs in key projects, in an effort to create more jobs and increase the income of rural migrant workers ... A set of public works programs funded by central budgetary investment will be launched in the building of supporting facilities under key projects. The share of work remuneration in the central budgetary funding will be increased from the previous 15 percent to over 30 percent. Requirements will be specified for project preparations, construction and other stages. Steps will be taken to ensure that work remunerations be paid on time and in full…A number of new projects will be launched this year to connect national expressways, address congested sections of provincial highways, develop inland waterways and upgrade the functions of ports. Financial institutions will be encouraged to provide long-term, low-interest loans.”
The final paragraph in the PD report says that the meeting decided to select some high-level hospitals to carry out pilot projects to improve clinical research capabilities and called for adopting policies to support innovation, similar to those instituted for universities and research institutions. These include policies such as greater research autonomy, salary incentives, ownership of scientific and technological achievements, easing reporting mechanisms, etc. In addition, the meeting warned that “it is necessary to ensure the basic needs of the masses for medical treatment, and medical institutions for patients with acute and critical diseases should not prevaricate and refuse treatment.” 要保障群众看病就医基本需求，对急危重症等患者医疗机构不得推诿拒绝. They also need to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the masses, protect personal information according to law, and severely punish those who abuse health codes according to laws and regulations.” 保障群众合法权益，依法保护个人信息，对滥用赋码的要依法依规严肃查处。
This is interesting because it comes amid recent scandals around the misuse of health codes. For instance, this SCMP report from two weeks ago informed that bank customers whose deposits were frozen had been unable to join protests in Zhengzhou because their health QR codes turned red, declaring them a risk to public health. The report said:
“Since late May, hundreds of people have taken to the streets in China’s central Henan province, calling for authorities to ensure the return of their deposits that were frozen in four rural banks in the province. The deposits at Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank and New Oriental Country Bank of Kaifeng have been frozen since April 18, amid rising risk of recession for the world’s second-largest economy.”
Then a week ago Caixin reported that: “Four officials and one big data company executive in Zhengzhou have been punished…after they were found to have abused a Covid control system to prevent people from taking their money out of ailing local banks. The decision to abuse the system was made by Feng Xianbin, executive deputy secretary of the politics and law commission of the Zhengzhou municipal party committee, and Zhang Linlin, an official with the city’s anti-epidemic authority, according to an official statement from the local discipline inspection authority. The pair then had three people — two other officials and a deputy general manager of a big data company — change the depositors’ codes on the local health code system to red, the statement said. Having a red code prevented the depositors from moving around freely and landed some in centralized quarantine. The depositors had either traveled to Zhengzhou, or had made plans to, after local rural banks froze their online banking services.”
If you are further interested, I do recommend reading this report from the Financial Times: “‘Digital handcuffs’: China’s Covid health apps govern life but are ripe for abuse”
Second, there’s a report on Yang Jiechi meeting with the Pakistani PM. I covered this yesterday. Third, a report (English report) about Wang Yong’s comments on workplace safety while visiting Hubei province. Wang visited natural gas companies, oil refining factories and restaurants to inspect work on ensuring safety, the report says. He called for “ fending off major safety risks” and stressed “the urgency of safety overhauls, gas pipeline renovation, and risk management work related to natural gas and hazardous chemicals.” This is framed in the context of the 20th Party Congress.
Fourth, Wang Yi’s comments at a meeting commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the SCO Charter and the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States. He made the following points:
First, grasp the historical position and strengthen unity and cooperation; strengthen the sense of community of common destiny, deepen mutual political trust and resolutely oppose external interference; support for each other's development and revitalisation.
Second, all parties are welcome to actively participate in the implementation of the global security initiative, practice the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, jointly respond to various traditional and non-traditional security threats, and work together to build an iron wall to safeguard regional security.
Third, adhere to the path of inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results, promote the implementation of the GDI, create new cooperation highlights, and effectively respond to the aspirations of people of all countries in the region for a better life.
Fourth, uphold fairness and justice and improve global governance. Practice true multilateralism, adhere to extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, oppose hegemony and bullying, resolutely resist the Cold War mentality and camp confrontation, promote the democratisation of international relations, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Fifth, a one-line report about Liu Jianchao, the chief of the ILD, speaking to Foreign Minister Dr. Narayan Khadka. Last week, Liu held talks with CPN (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML chair KP Oli too.
Sixth, a report on the BRICS High-level Forum on Sustainable Development being held in Fujian. The forum is for government organs, financial institutions, scientific research institutions, industry associations, and enterprises from BRICS countries. Nearly 400 individuals came together for this event, which covered a wide range of issues, including health cooperation, digital economy and green development and promoting economic recovery.
Page 4: There’s an editorial marking the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. Among other points made, the editorial says that:
“Since the 18th Party Congress, practice has fully proved that the most fundamental reason for the historic achievements and historical changes in the Party and the country lies in the fact that General Secretary Xi Jinping has been the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the whole party and in the scientific guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The establishment of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the whole Party, and the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era reflects the common aspiration of the whole party, the whole 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.” 党的十八大以来的实践充分证明：党和国家事业取得历史性成就、发生历史性变革，最根本的原因在于有习近平总书记作为党中央的核心、全党的核心掌舵领航，在于有习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想科学指引。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 article also issues a call for cadres and society that “the best tribute to the Party’s 100-year history of struggle is to write a new chapter of struggle.” It reiterates that the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered a critical period” and that the Party and country are “closer, more confident and capable of realising the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than at any time in history.” But the road ahead will not be easy and there will be “difficulties, obstacles and even stormy waves.” What’s important is to “vigorously carry forward the great spirit of party building, keep in mind the fundamental question of what is the Chinese Communist Party and what does the Chinese Communist Party do…”
The piece also calls for maintaining a strong sense of historical confidence, actively responding to risks and facing challenges by having the courage to take responsibility, and being brave in self-revolution. “Constantly eliminating all viruses that erode the healthy body of the party will surely ensure that the party will not deteriorate, change colour or flavour, and that the Party will always remain a strong leadership core in the historical process of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. 不断清除一切侵蚀党的健康肌体的病毒，就一定能够确保党不变质、不变色、不变味，确保党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.
The next paragraph talks about the importance of implementing the new development concept, building the new development pattern, and promoting high-tech development; pursuing comprehensively deepening reform and opening up, doing well in terms of development and security, and practising the people-centred development philosophy; and continuing to satisfy the people’s yearning for a better life, continuously promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and contributing wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilisation.
The final paragraph calls for uniting “more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, fully implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, deeply understanding the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, strengthening the four consciousness and the four self-confidences, and achieving the two safeguards… 让我们更加紧密地团结在以习近平同志为核心的党中央周围，全面贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想，深刻领会“两个确立”的决定性意义，增强“四个意识”、坚定“四个自信”、做到“两个维护”...
Second, there’s a report on Cai Qi being re-elected as Beijing Party Secretary.
It says that an “inspection team is set to carry out related work in eight provincial-level regions from July to mid-August…In the meantime, the standing committees of local people's congresses in another eight regions will be assigned to carry out their own respective inspections. The inspection work will focus on aspects including the implementation of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list for foreign investment, the establishment and optimization of a foreign investment facilitation mechanism, and the building of a stable, transparent, predictable and fair market. The team will also inspect the protection of foreign investors' legitimate rights and interests, the implementation of the foreign investment management system, and the Foreign Investment Law's connection and coordination with other related laws and rules. Attention will also be paid to the opinions and suggestions of all parties concerning the law…The inspection team said it will hold another plenary session in mid-September this year for analysis and discussion. The NPC Standing Committee will hear and deliberate a report on the enforcement inspection in October.”
Page 10: A report providing details of a new special rectification effort, which will continue from June to November, in order to tackle the issue of illegal charges being imposed on enterprises. This covers charges related to transportation, logistics, water, electricity, gas, heating, finance, as well as industry associations, chambers of commerce and intermediaries. Yang Yinkai, deputy general-secretary of the NDRC, talked about having a zero-tolerance attitude on the issue. Along with inspections to address the issue of illegal charges, the rectification will focus on non-implementation of the national policy of reducing fees and burdens on enterprises.
Page 14: A report based on the monthly defense ministry press conference. Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, MND spokesperson, informed that a total of 27 armed forces colleges and universities have recruited 15,000 ordinary high school graduates across 31 provinces. This is part of the strategy of strengthening the armed forces with talents in the new era.
Although it isn’t covered in PD, Tan made some other interesting comments.
The Ream Naval Base's upgrade project in Cambodia, which is aided by China, is legitimate and doesn't target any third party…“The naval base’s upgrade and transformation program is the outcome of mutual respect and equal consultation between the two countries, and is the symbol of the ironclad friendship between the Chinese and Cambodian armies,” said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the ministry. “The program, which started on June 8, has conformed to the domestic laws of both countries, as well as relevant international laws and international practices,” he said, adding that it didn't target third parties.
Tan “responded to provocative acts of Australian and Canadian military aircraft, and warned that those who come uninvited will bear the consequences. Tan Kefei, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, made the remarks in response to Australia and Canada's hyping up of the so-called ‘interceptions of their military aircraft’ by the Chinese military. Tan said that the Chinese side is justified to take forceful response measures and has handled the situation in a safe and professional manner. The Australian military aircraft entered the airspace close to China's Xisha Islands for close-in reconnaissance, and continuously approached the territorial airspace of the Xisha Islands in disregard of China's repeated warnings; and the Canadian military aircraft have increased close-in reconnaissance and made provocations to the Chinese side in the name of implementing UN Security Council resolutions, undermining China's national security, according to Tan. China firmly opposes such acts and urges relevant countries to stop spreading disinformation, said Tan.
This one is outside of PD: “Bonds issued by China's local governments totaled 1.21 trillion yuan ($180.4 billion) in May, accounting for about 40 percent of this type of bonds issued from January to May this year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Thursday. During the first five months of 2022, local governments issued a total of 3.3 trillion yuan ($495 billion) in bonds, of which general bonds stood at 889.3 billion yuan ($132 billion), while the special bond issuance was 2.4 trillion yuan ($362.7 billion) in the period, MOF data showed. By the end of May, the outstanding local government debt was about 33.25 trillion yuan ($4.9 trillion), which was within the official limit for 2022, said MOF.”