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Xi's Long March Story - Li Preps for Coming Winter - Liu He on Financial System & Property Sector - FDI into China at $134.7 billion
Here are the stories and pieces from the October 21, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily that I found noteworthy.
Page 1: The big piece on the page is a long, long piece that tells us Xi Jinping’s interpretations of the story of the Long March. The piece begins with Xi’s visit to the Battle of Xiangjiang Memorial Park.
At that time, talking about igniting the “fire of ideals” and gathering “spiritual strength” from the past, Xi had said: “On the new Long March to achieve the second centenary goal, we must hold the belief of winning, remain resolute in our determination to overcome major risks and challenges at home and abroad, and forge ahead bravely towards the goal of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
The article then says that since the 18th Party Congress, Xi has spoken about the Long March on many occasions, and it is important for China’s Communists to keep this history in mind as the country treads on another Long March towards national rejuvenation. We are told that the Long March was a victory of the ideals and beliefs of China’s Communists. It talks about how the Red Army soldiers banded together through thick and thin, driven by their revolutionary ideals.
And then we get to specific instances and tales narrated by Xi. I am not going to go into each of these stories -- too much to capture here -- but I’ve distilled the essence of what Xi appears to be trying to convey through them:
Hardship is the essence of success
A man without spirit will not stand; a country without spirit will not be strong - this is in the context of Xi talking about drawing from the Long March’s history and “heroic” and “revolutionary” spirit to move towards national rejuvenation.
Selfless dedication and high political consciousness - this comes in the context of a story he told new full and alternate members of the Central Committee and leading cadres at the provincial and ministerial levels in January 2018 about the chief of military supplies of a particularly unit during the Long March chose to freeze to death while around Jiajin Mountain in southwest China. I presume the point is that the soldier chose to sacrifice himself rather than take up supplies for himself. -- Interesting story right? Xi’s, in effect, also telling these folks that all of you are expendable.
He talks a lot about sacrifice and persistence; and says that despite what appeared to be, and indeed was, among the most challenging of times for the Chinese Communists, the Long March was a success because they had found “the correct path of the Chinese revolution and the correct theory to guide this path.” It was an expedition “to test the truth.” It is where the Party blended Marxism-Leninism with China’s realities.
The above, of course, leads to Xi praising the outcomes of the Zunyi conference.
Then he talks emphasises: “On the way forward, to overcome all kinds of risks and challenges, we must seek truth from facts, adhere to the truth, respond in a scientific way, take the initiative to seek change, stay focused on our goals, forge ahead and succeed in the long March of the new era.”
He talks about the need to “unswervingly uphold the Party’s absolute leadership over the military,” and to use red resources to “ensure that officers and soldiers always listen to and follow the Party.”
Political direction is fundamental to the survival and development, success and failure of the Party. 政治方向是党生存发展第一位的问题，事关党的前途命运和事业兴衰成败. He warns against making “subversive mistakes.” In this context, he emphasises Party unity
The next bit is about being close to the people; here we get the story of the Red Army staying overnight at the home of poor local resident Xu Jiexiu in Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, in Hunan Province. Before leaving, the soldiers cut their only quilt in half and gave one half to Xu, which helped Xu remain warm through difficult times. Xi says that this story “represents the Party’s original aspiration and reflects the Party's true nature of serving the people.” -- The basic point here that he is making is performance legitimacy and humility matter in dealing with people and winning public support.
The final section talks about the new era. We get comments about why everyone needs to contribute to socialist modernisation and national rejuvenation, including the youth. And then we get this quote from the 19th Party Congress: “History only favors those who are determined, those who forge forward and struggle; it will not wait for those who hesitate, slack off or fear difficulties. The whole Party must maintain the style of hard work, guard against arrogance and impetuosity, seize the day, and strive to succeed in the Long March of the new era.” 历史只会眷顾坚定者、奋进者、搏击者，而不会等待犹豫者、懈怠者、畏难者。全党一定要保持艰苦奋斗、戒骄戒躁的作风，以时不我待、只争朝夕的精神，奋力走好新时代的长征路.”
Anyway, the piece ends by quoting Mao that assuming power, winning the country was only the “first step.” It then says “today, we stand at the historic intersection of the twin centenary goals and have embarked on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country. The journey is long, and is full of struggle. Let us rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, vigorously promote the great Long March spirit, and work hard and faithfully towards the second centenary goal with an unrelenting spirit and a forward-looking attitude. Come on, work hard and march again!” ”今天，我们已经站在“两个一百年”的历史交汇点上，全面建设社会主义现代化国家新征程已经开启。征途漫漫，惟有奋斗。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，大力弘扬伟大长征精神，以永不懈怠的精神状态、一往无前的奋斗姿态，真抓实干、埋头苦干，向着第二个百年奋斗目标迈进，加油、努力，再长征!
Next, we have a report about the State Council’s executive meeting. There are two focus areas: food security and energy supply for the winter and support for small and medium enterprises. On food security, the key points are:
Major grain production areas should accelerate the grain harvest and ensure grain is dried and stored well
Ensure appropriate winter planting
The country should also guarantee the stable supply of agriculture materials, stabilize prices, and strengthen the supply and quality monitoring of seeds.
The report also talks about tightening control over imports and exports, and increasing the supply of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Ensure financial support and electricity and diesel supply for agriculture
On energy supplies, it says that “It is predicted that temperatures in northern China will be lower than usual this winter, with extreme weather being a possibility.”
It is important to ensure winter heating in the north, especially in the northeast. We will do our best to ensure the production and transportation of coal for heating. We will crack down on speculation in the coal market according to law.
Expand supply of natural gas resources to northern China
Encourage local governments to give reasonable support to gas supply and heating enterprises, and ensure that prices of domestic gas and heating remain stable.
On MSMEs, Xinhua English tells us that “Efforts will be made to prevent cost-induced pressure transmitted from commodity price hikes on downstream industries. Inclusive benefit policies including time-limited tax and fee cuts will be studied as quickly as possible, and localities encouraged to provide support to MSMEs such as reduction or exemption of rents and utility bills, to lighten their burden and help them tide over difficulties. The MSMEs will be supported in developing themselves into ones with specialized, sophisticated techniques and unique, novel products, to enhance their competitiveness.”
Third, we have the full Chengdu-Chongqing area twin-city economic circle construction planning outline, which is published today. I am not going into the details of this. The aim is to turn the Chengdu-Chongqing area into an economic circle with its own strengths and distinctive features, as well as a new driver and an important growth engine of the country’s high-quality development. We are told that based on this plan the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle is expected to become an important economic center, a center for scientific and technological innovation, a new highland for reform and opening-up and a liveable place with a high quality of life. A short English report here.
By 2025, the region’s urbanisation rate will reach around 66 percent. Cities in the economic circle will have a railway network stretching over 9,000 km, covering all the cities with a population of over 200,000. A regional collaborative innovation system will be built in the area, which is expected to see spending on research and development reach around 2.5 percent of its GDP, while the contribution rate of scientific and technological progress will hit 63 percent. It also promises breakthroughs in Chongqing and Sichuan Free Trade Pilot Zones. By 2035, Chongqing and Chengdu will make a name in the ranks of modern international metropolises.
There’s also a commentary on the page about this outline.
Next, we have a report about Li Zhanshu leading more than 50 NPC deputies who attended the 31st session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee, and emphasising the need to thoroughly study, understand and earnestly implement the spirit of the conference on people’s congress and Xi’s important speech. This is a “major political task for the NPC and local people’s congresses at all levels.” Li told them that NPC deputies “are members of the organs of state power and shoulder heavy political, social and legal responsibilities.” They should “be loyal to the party, the people, the constitution and laws, take a firm political stand, fulfil political responsibilities, be politically wise, perform their duties as per the constitution and laws, faithfully represent people’s interests and will, accept people’s supervision and serve the people.” He also talks about the need to maintain close ties with people.
Wang told them that China has started a new journey toward building a great modern socialist country in all respects and is ready to enhance coordination with other countries to foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for scientific exploration and technological development. He added that China will work with other countries to promote trade liberalisation and investment facilitation, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital economy, climate change and other challenges, and build an open world economy. He added that China is ready to work with other countries to practice real multilateralism, improve global governance and build a community with a shared future for mankind,” said Wang, adding China is willing to open its education to the outside world and deepen mutual understanding and integration with other nations. Apple’s Tim Cook was part of the chat. —
Just thought that this was really interesting to have Wang Qishan send out a message of this kind. But I am not sure to whom this message is being sent.
Page 3: We have a report about the event that was held yesterday, titled China on a New Journey: A New Chapter of Development for a Happy New Tibet. The piece in PD quotes Wang Yi and then others, who basically offer praise. Wang Yi’s comments are reported here in English.
Second, we have a report about Liu He’s comments at a financial forum in Beijing. “Since the beginning of this year, in the face of multiple risks and under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, we have effectively implemented macro policies, steadily recovered the national economy, and achieved positive results with the financial system playing a key role.”
Liu added that the financial system going forward should “better serve the real economy, properly adjust monetary policy, and increase financing support for the private sector and small and micro businesses.” And he said that “we will support green and low-carbon development, clean and efficient utilisation of coal and the development and utilisation of new energy, ensure energy security, and promote the realisation of the ‘double carbon’ goal.”
He added that China will “promote high-level opening-up, create a fair market environment, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies operating in China.” He spoke about attaching “greater importance to fintech,” “improving the quality and efficiency of financial services,” and “strengthening the capacity building of technology supervision.”
He added: “We will coordinate the prevention and control of financial risks and strike a dynamic balance between preventing risks and ensuring steady development. At present, there are individual problems in the real estate market, but risks are generally under control, reasonable capital needs are being met, and the overall trend of the healthy development of the real estate market will not change.”
Page 4: Li Lecheng has been appointed as Deputy Governor and Acting Governor of Liaoning. He replaces Liu Ning.
On Page 5, there is an interview with Wang Jun, Director of the State Administration of Taxation. He says that keeping in mind the goals of promoting the formation of a fair market environment for competition, and creating broad development space for all types of market players, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, tax authorities will look to lower the nominal tax rate while increasing tax collection rate, crack down on tax evasion, and optimise tax and fee services. He then goes on to talk about the steps taken in regard to each of these three areas. Interesting data point here: the number of enterprises benefiting from the R&D expenses-related tax deductions increased from 52,600 in 2015 to 427,000 in 2020.
On Page 12, we have foreign investment-related data. The Ministry of Commerce says that from January to September, FDI into China was 859.51 billion yuan ($134.7 billion), a year-on-year increase of 19.6%. Foreign capital in the service industry was 685.32 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 22.5%. The actual use of foreign capital in the high-tech industry grew by 29.1%, of which the high-tech service industry saw growth of 33.4%, and the high-tech manufacturing industry saw growth of 15.2%.