Xi's Speech to Officials at Party School - China-Indonesia Ties - Stabilising Foreign Trade - Wang's Gulf Diplomacy - Xi's Human Rights Discourses - Criticising DoJ's 'China Initiative'
Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy from the Friday, January 12, 2022, edition of the People’s Daily.
Page 1: It’s all Xi on the front page today. The big story on the page is about Xi’s speech (English report) at the opening of a study session at the Central Party School, which was attended by provincial and ministerial-level officials.
The report says that Xi stressed that the purpose of the session was aimed to push a thorough learning and understanding of the history resolution, and to continue to deepen the learning, education and publicity of Party history, carry forward the great spirit of Party-building, increase historical self-confidence, enhance unity, strengthen the spirit of struggle, and mobilise the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups to strengthen their confidence and move towards the second centenary goal.
All PSC members and Wang Qishan are mentioned as present.
In his speech, Xi said that in order to progress, a nation needs theoretical thinking and correct ideological guidance. At the end of the day, Marxism is the reason behind why the CCP can deliver and why socialism with Chinese characteristics is good.
“Xi said that the resolution of this plenary session provided a comprehensive summary of the Party’s continuous promotion of the sinicisation of Marxism over the course of the past century of struggle. Paying attention to analysing, studying and summarising the Party’s sinicisation and modernisation of Marxism over the past 100 years of struggle is an important aspect of the resolution, and we must thoroughly study and fully understand it. Marxism charts the course for the development and progress of human society, and is a powerful ideological weapon with which we can understand the world, grasp the laws governing it, pursue truth and transform the world. At the same time, Marxist theory is not dogma, but a guide to action, which must develop with the change of practice. Whether Marxism can play a role in practice depends on whether the basic principles of Marxism can be combined with China’s reality and the characteristics of the times. Faced with a rapidly changing world and China, if we stick to conventional ideas, function with rigidity and have no courage of theoretical innovation and if we cannot answer the questions before China, the world, the people and the times scientifically, then not only will the cause of the Party and the country be stymied, but Marxism will also lose its vitality and persuasiveness. Contemporary China is experiencing the greatest and most unique practical innovation in human history. The task of reform, development and stability is formidable; there are many contradictions, risks and challenges, and most of the challenges of governing the country are unprecedented. The world is going through unprecedented changes and a large number of theoretical and practical issues need to be addressed urgently. We should accurately grasp the general trend of the times, bravely stand at the forefront of human development, listen to people’s voices, respond to realistic needs, persist in emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts and being upright and innovative… and continue to promote the combination of the basic principles of Marxism with China’s realities and Chinese excellent traditional culture, and continue to write a new chapter of sinicisation and modernisation of Marxism.” 习近平在讲话中指出，一个民族要走在时代前列，就一刻不能没有理论思维，一刻不能没有正确思想指引。中国共产党为什么能，中国特色社会主义为什么好，归根到底是因为马克思主义行。马克思主义之所以行，就在于党不断推进马克思主义中国化时代化并用以指导实践。这次全会决议对百年奋斗历程中党不断推进马克思主义中国化时代化作了全面总结。注重分析研究和总结党在百年奋斗历程中对马克思主义的中国化时代化，是贯穿全会决议的一个重要内容，我们一定要深入学习、全面领会。马克思主义为人类社会发展进步指明了方向，是我们认识世界、把握规律、追求真理、改造世界的强大思想武器。同时，马克思主义理论不是教条，而是行动指南，必须随着实践的变化而发展。马克思主义能不能在实践中发挥作用，关键在于能否把马克思主义基本原理同中国实际和时代特征结合起来。面对快速变化的世界和中国，如果墨守成规、思想僵化，没有理论创新的勇气，不能科学回答中国之问、世界之问、人民之问、时代之问，不仅党和国家事业无法继续前进，马克思主义也会失去生命力、说服力。当代中国正在经历人类历史上最为宏大而独特的实践创新，改革发展稳定任务之重、矛盾风险挑战之多、治国理政考验之大都前所未有，世界百年未有之大变局深刻变化前所未有，提出了大量亟待回答的理论和实践课题。我们要准确把握时代大势，勇于站在人类发展前沿，聆听人民心声，回应现实需要，坚持解放思想、实事求是、守正创新，更好把坚持马克思主义和发展马克思主义统一起来，坚持用马克思主义之“矢”去射新时代中国之“的”，继续推进马克思主义基本原理同中国具体实际相结合、同中华优秀传统文化相结合，续写马克思主义中国化时代化新篇章.
The next paragraph focuses on the changing contradictions in Chinese society, particularly the principal contradiction. Xi says that the history resolution “provides a comprehensive analysis of the Party’s ability to grasp the principal contradiction in society and the central task to drive the overall work.”
He adds that:
In the face of complex situations and contradictions and onerous tasks, one cannot do a good job unless there is appropriate distinction and prioritisation…We should focus on the main contradictions and central tasks, give priority to solving the main aspects of the main contradictions, so as to promote the resolution of other contradictions and achieve key breakthroughs, which can lead to a leap in overall advancement of economic and social development, and keep advancing towards the goal of building a socialist modernisation power in an all-round way. 面对复杂形势、复杂矛盾、繁重任务，没有主次，不加区别，眉毛胡子一把抓，是做不好工作的。我们要有全局观，对各种矛盾做到了然于胸，同时又要紧紧围绕主要矛盾和中心任务，优先解决主要矛盾和矛盾的主要方面，以此带动其他矛盾的解决，在整体推进中实现重点突破，以重点突破带动经济社会发展水平整体跃升，朝着全面建成社会主义现代化强国的奋斗目标不断前进。
The next paragraph talks about strategic thinking. He says that the resolution comprehensively reviewed how the Party constantly put forward sound strategies and policies in the past century.
I thought this was interesting: Strategy is about making judgments and decisions based on the overall, long-term and general situations. We are a large party, leading a major country, and pursuing a great cause, we must be good at strategic thinking and thinking strategically. The right strategy (战略) requires the right tactics (策略) to implement it. Tactics follow strategy and serve strategy. The relationship between strategy and tactics is dialectical and unified. We should combine strategic firmness with tactical flexibility. 战略是从全局、长远、大势上作出判断和决策。我们是一个大党，领导的是一个大国，进行的是伟大的事业，要善于进行战略思维，善于从战略上看问题、想问题。正确的战略需要正确的策略来落实。策略是在战略指导下为战略服务的。战略和策略是辩证统一的关系，要把战略的坚定性和策略的灵活性结合起来.
All regions and departments must cross-check their work with the Party's theories, lines, principles and policies, he said, adding that the strategic decisions made by the CPC Central Committee must be implemented unconditionally without distortion or deviation. – I guess this is the challenge of the Party’s governance model. How much risk/innovation does this approach incentivise, regardless of what Xi is saying above theoretically about strategy and tactics.
The next paragraph is about pursuing self-revolution. Xi says that the analysis and review of the Party’s history of self-revolution is a key part of the resolution. He called on “all Party members to be “virtuous, abide by public morality, and be strict with private morality, be clean and honest, do things with integrity, be self-disciplined, serve the public, practice self-restraint, frugality and cultivate one’s morality, while always maintaining the political nature of being clean and honest.” 全党同志都要明大德、守公德、严私德，清清白白做人、干干净净做事，做到克己奉公、以俭修身，永葆清正廉洁的政治本色.
He added that the key to maintaining the Party’s true nature as a Marxist party lies in the Party itself. The key lies in having the courage to undertake self-revolution and turn the blade inward. While hailing the landslide victory in the anti-corruption campaign, Xi said that Party members should “always maintain the spirit of self-revolution and continue to enhance political consciousness” while not being complacent about the fact that strict governance of the Party is now in place.
Ergo, the fight against corruption will continue, without ceasing. This is a “protracted war” that must be fought with “tenacity and persistence,” regardless of who it is that violates discipline.
The final paragraph discussing the speech talks about history. Xi says that 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. Xinhua English summarises the paragraph well. “Xi stressed that it has been a major political task for the whole Party to understand the Party's past success and how it can continue to succeed in the future, guided by historical materialism and a rational outlook on the Party's history. Demanding a long-term and regular mechanism for Party history education, Xi urged the whole Party to focus on studying and implementing the guiding principles of the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the resolution. Leading Party officials should take the lead, and the Party's history should be better incorporated into the syllabus of Party schools and the curriculum of ordinary schools. It should be made a way of thinking and promoted properly among youngsters.”
The report finally mentions Li Keqiang’s comments praising Xi’s speech; he also emphasises the decisive significance of the two establishments, four consciousnesses, four confidences and two safeguards.
Next, reports about Xi’s engagements with the leaders of Indonesia and Poland. Speaking to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Xi called (English report) to “integrate Belt and Road cooperation with China'’s building of a new development pattern and Indonesia’s medium- and long-term national development plan.”
He said that over the past year, “two countries, he added, have launched a high-level dialogue cooperation mechanism, and established a new pattern of bilateral cooperation on the ‘four-wheel drive’ of political, economic, cultural and maritime affairs.”
Xi also said:
China will continue to cooperate with Indonesia throughout the vaccine industrial chain and on drug research and development, help Indonesia build a regional vaccine production center.
He wants the two sides to “set a role model for practical cooperation.”
He highlighted the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway, RCEP and the Two Countries, Twin Parks project, along with new areas of cooperation, such as new energy, decarbonization, digital economy and maritime cooperation.
“China attaches great importance to Indonesia’s role in regional and international affairs” and “stands ready to work with Indonesia to implement the consensus reached at last year's China-ASEAN commemorative summit.”
“China is ready to work with Indonesia to practice true multilateralism, actively implement the Global Development Initiative, safeguard the interests of emerging-market and developing countries, and contribute to promoting global economic recovery and improving global economic governance.”
Joko Widodo is quoted as being thankful for China’s pandemic support and noting that “80 percent of Indonesia’s vaccines came from China.” He “welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest in Indonesia and conduct cooperation in high technology, green development and other areas. As G20 chair this year, Indonesia is willing to closely coordinate with China to help the group play an active role in promoting international solidarity and global economic recovery.”
Third, Xi sent a message of sympathy (English report) to Polish President Andrzej Duda over the latter’s infection with COVID-19.
Finally, a short report about NEVs in China as of 2021. It says that the number of new energy vehicles registered in China was at 7.84 million in 2021, up more than 59 percent year-on-year. The figure represents 2.6 percent of the total number of cars in the country. A total of 2.99 million units of new energy passenger cars were sold last year.
The guidelines provide 15 measures including fiscal and financial support for foreign trade companies as well as incentives for new forms of businesses in foreign trade (cross-border e-commerce pilot zones shall be added and a number of offshore trade center cities (regions) shall be cultivated). According to the document, the yuan exchange rate will be kept stable at a reasonable and balanced level, and the country will help foreign trade companies hedge against foreign exchange risks. China will also adopt measures to ease the supply chain risks for foreign trade companies and encourage them to sign long-term deals with shipping firms. The guidelines stressed efforts on imports of bulk commodities to ensure sufficient domestic supply.
Second, a report (English report) about Sun Chunlan’s visit to Henan to review to COVID situation. The English report talks about Sun’s visit to Zhengzhou, Xuchang and Anyang. The report is about her remarks while in Zhengzhou, where she says that the situation “was stabilising”, but there’s still work to be done. In the English report, she says that “containment of the epidemic was still at a crucial stage.” She also “called for efforts to speed up screening, epidemiological investigation and quarantine, so as to achieve the goal of blocking infections as soon as possible.”
Page 3: A few stories to note. First, Xi’s special envoy Cao Jianming on Monday met with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and attended his inauguration ceremony for a new presidential term. Xinhua reports:
“China highly appreciates Nicaragua's correct decision to break "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and resume diplomatic ties with China, which is in keeping with history and a general global trend, said Cao. Since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations over a month ago, bilateral ties have achieved rapid development with the joint efforts of both sides, illustrating how the resumption of diplomatic relations is not only beneficial to both countries but also to the two peoples, Cao added.”
Second, Wang Yi’s chat with Lavrov is covered today. I covered this yesterday. Third, Wang Yi’s call with the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Wuxi.
They talked about a bunch of issues, from the Iran nuclear issue, to Yemen, and Afghanistan. Xinhua reports:
Wang said the two sides should continue to firmly support each other in safeguarding their respective core interests, jointly oppose unilateralism and bullying, safeguard the collective interests of developing countries and the basic norms governing international relations. Faisal said Saudi Arabia has always opposed interfering in China’s domestic affairs, firmly championed the one-China principle and firmly supported China’s legitimate position on issues concerning Taiwan and Xinjiang, as well as human rights. On the Iran nuclear issue, Wang said China supports Gulf countries in setting up multilateral dialogue platforms and taking the initiative in regional issues into their own hands.
While on China and Saudi Arabia, I thought I’d share this December CNN story about US intel and satellite images showing that Saudi Arabia is now building its own ballistic missiles with China’s help.
Next, Wang’s chat with GCC Secretary-General Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf in Wuxi. Wang said:
In recent years, China and the GCC have consolidated their political mutual trust and deepened practical cooperation. China appreciates the GCC’s understanding of and support for China’s propositions on issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns. China also firmly supports GCC countries in safeguarding their national independence, security and stability. He said that China will continue to oppose any country’s interference in the internal affairs of GCC countries under the pretext of ‘human rights’ and oppose linking terrorism with any particular religion or ethnic group.
Nayef said: The GCC greatly appreciates China's important influence and positive role in international and regional affairs.
In terms of outcomes, there is talk of establishing a strategic partnership, inking an action plan for strategic dialogue over the next three year, and finalising an FTA “at an early date.”
Wang also met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Wuxi. Wang said that:
“China will always stand on the side of developing countries and small- and medium-sized nations to jointly defend international fairness and justice. China is willing to be a long-term and reliable strategic partner of Bahrain…China will continue to provide vaccines to Bahrain…and ensure scientific and fair research on global tracing of virus origins…China is ready to strengthen bilateral cooperation on 5G communications, e-commerce, digital economy, and big data, and advance cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and photovoltaic projects…China encourages more competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in Bahrain and hopes that Bahrain would continue to provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises.”
Finally, a line confirming the Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers’ upcoming visit to China.
Page 6: There’s a page-long piece bylined 闻言 (Wén Yán). The piece basically draws from a new book “Excerpts from Xi Jinping’s Discourses on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights (习近平关于尊重和保障人权论述摘编).”
This was published in December. I am not doing a full breakdown of the piece. But let me point out the four subsections.
The first part talks about broadly the Party’s commitment to human rights.
The second section emphasises socialist democracy, whole-process democracy, and the particularity of human rights, i.e., China must follow a path on human rights that suits its national conditions. Here, Xi warns that adhering to “Western capitalist” standards of human rights will lead to unthinkable consequences for China. I can’t help but share this:
General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out that there is no universal path to human rights development, and there is no best way to protect human rights. He stressed that China's development of human rights is not based on the Western standard. No matter what stage of development we reach, our human rights cause will develop in accordance with China's national conditions and the requirements of the people…Since the end of the Cold War, Western countries have used the issue of human rights to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. Some countries have been torn apart, some are caught amid the flames of war, and some are in chaos all day long. When it comes to human rights, if we tailor our practice to the Western capitalist value system and use the Western capitalist evaluation system to measure China's development, everything will be fine till we meet Western standards, if we fail to meet the Western standards, we will be criticised and attacked, and the consequences will be unimaginable.General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out that only the people of a country are in the best position to say what path a country takes. One prescription cannot be a cure-all, nor can one model solve all countries’ problems. Copying mechanically and imposing on others will only lead to disaffection (or it won’t be suitable to national conditions). 冷战结束以来，西方国家借人权问题干涉别国内政，一些国家被折腾得不成样子了，有的四分五裂，有的战火纷飞，有的整天乱哄哄的。在人权问题上，如果我们用西方资本主义价值体系来剪裁我们的实践，用西方资本主义评价体系来衡量我国发展，符合西方标准就行，不符合西方标准就是落后的陈旧的，就要批判、攻击，那后果不堪设想。习近平总书记指出，一个国家走什么样的道路，只有这个国家的人民最有发言权。一副药方不可能包治百病，一种模式也不可能解决所有国家的问题。生搬硬套或强加于人都会引起水土不服.
The third section talks about people-centered development, right to development and right to health and life in the context of the pandemic, rule of law and ethnic minorities.
The final section talks about human rights and foreign policy. Here, basically there is talk about respecting diversity and opposing universality of human rights as an imposition by some. One key goal, which tells us that there will be continued active effort by Beijing to shape the discourse around human rights, is the creation of “a more just, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance” system globally.
On page 9, there is a detailed report on party-building work within the State Administration of Taxation.
The lead piece on the international page is a criticism of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative. It warns about a “new wave of racism” in America owing to this initiative. The piece basically draws on data from studies and reportage from American institutions and media outlets. The core argument is this:
“under the pretext of ‘cracking down on economic espionage’ and ‘cracking down on intellectual property theft’, the US is mobilising massive public power and resources to conduct systematic investigations targeting Chinese-American scientists and researchers cooperating with China. In essence, the initiative has become a tool for anti-China forces in the US to abuse the concept of national security to contain and suppress China, which has seriously impacted Sino-US relations and is interfering with the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States in the fields of science, technology and humanities.” 美国司法部实施所谓“中国行动计划”，以“打击经济间谍”和“打击窃取知识产权”为借口，动用庞大的公权力和资源，针对在美华裔科学家和与中国有合作关系的科研人员进行系统性调查。该计划实质上成为美反华势力滥用国家安全概念、对华进行遏制打压的工具，对中美关系造成严重冲击，干扰中美在科技、人文等领域的正常交流合作.