Xi's Speech to Political Parties - 'Shelving Disputes' for Progress - Securities Crackdown - Sinicization of Marxism

Here are the stories and pieces from the People’s Daily’s July 7, 2021, edition that I found noteworthy.

Page 1: There are four stories on the front page and all of them lead with Xi Jinping. As expected, of course, the top story is about Xi’s speech (Xinhua English story) at the CPC and World Political Parties Summit. The full speech is on Page 2. I am going to draw from that. If you’d like an English version, you can listen to the speech here. This is basically Xi using the platform to make the broader point about China’s rise and international competition. He is offering a vision, albeit still hazy, of a normative order. Of course, such orders acquire legitimacy only if they are widely shared, become reality through practice and are underwritten by hard power.

Anyway, here are the key points that Xi made:

  • “Today, humanity is once again at a historic crossroads. Will the future be about hostile confrontation or mutual respect? Will it be about closeness or openness; decoupling or cooperation; zero-sum game or win-win results? The choice is in our hands, and the responsibility is on our shoulders.” He then talked about global challenges, such as climate change, requiring countries to work together.

  • “Great times call for grand architecture and grand architecture calls for great vision; viewed from the perspective of ‘my country first’ the world is a cramped and crowded place full of competition; viewed from the perspective of a global community and shared future, the world is a vast and open place full of opportunities.”

  • He then spoke about “common values of humanity.” These, for him, are “peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all mankind.” He called for a need to understand “with a broad mind the values of different civilisations” and respect for “other people’s explorations to turn values into reality” This common values pitch is a much clearer articulation of the normative proposition that Xi is offering countries around the world. Think of this as competing with the “universal values” proposition or the “shared values” framework that the Biden administration has put forward.

  • “We should face up to major practical problems such as the gap between the rich and the poor and the development gap, pay attention to the underdeveloped countries and regions, care for the poor people, and make every piece of land give birth to hope.” 

  • Development is the right of all countries in the world, and not the privilege of a few countries...In this context, he talked about the need to “jointly oppose anyone engaging in technological blockade, technological divide, and decoupling...I believe that any political manipulation for the purpose of sabotaging the development of other countries and undercutting the livelihood of other people will receive little support and will eventually be futile!”

  • He next spoke about the need to build a “global community of health,” addressing the immunisation gap and politicisation of the pandemic, including “labeling the virus.” He also spoke about addressing climate change.

  • The final point was about improving governance capacity. “People of all countries are entitled to choose their own development path and institutional model.” “Democracy is also the right of the people of all countries, not the privilege of a few countries. There are many ways to achieve democracy, instead of a single stereotype. If a country is democratic or not, it must be judged by the people of the country, not by a handful of others!”

  • “There is no one path to modernisation; the one that suits you well, will serve you well. Cutting one’s feet to fit the shoes will lead nowhere. Every country's efforts to independently explore a path to modernization that suits its own national conditions should be respected.”

  • He spoke about the headwinds that economic globalisation is facing, but said that the “driving forces” for such globalisation still outweigh the challenges. He spoke about cooperation via BRI and added that the Party “is willing to contribute more Chinese solutions and Chinese forces to the process of human poverty reduction.” He added that China will enhance the “accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.” He also said that the country will make “arduous efforts to fulfill its carbon peak and carbon neutral commitments.”

  • “International rules should be based on universally recognised norms, rather than be formulated by a few. Cooperation between countries should be aimed at serving all mankind, rather than to seek hegemony through group politics. We must jointly oppose the practice of unilateralism disguised as multilateralism, and jointly oppose hegemonism and power politics.”

  • “China will always be a member of the big family of developing countries and will unswervingly work to improve the representation and voice of developing countries in the international governance system. China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence.”

Next, Xi’s message of condolence to Rodrigo Duterte on the recent military plane crash which led to over 50 people being killed. This is a fascinating story in that while PD doesn’t say it, but here’s Xinhua’s headline: “Second-hand U.S. aircraft kills 53 in Philippine military plane crash.” Talk about narrative building. The Xinhua story adds that the accident has led to “some reflection on the country's military relations with the United States, from which the crashed plane came. The latest tragedy of the 33-year-old C-130 Hercules built by the U.S. firm Lockheed is the fourth deadly air accident to happen to the Philippine military this year that concerns its procurement contracts with U.S. companies.”

Next, a short report confirming four diplomatic changes. These include:

  • Zheng Zeguang as the new ambassador to the UK

  • Qian Minjian as the new ambassador to Lebanon

  • Zhang Lizhong as the new ambassador to the Republic of Uganda

  • Zeng Fanhua as the new ambassador to Papua New Guinea 

Finally, just like we had a story about Xi engaging in consultation or furthering “people’s democracy,” today, we have a long story about Xi’s approach to the justice system of enhancing “social justice and rule of law” so that “people feel fairness and justice in every judicial case.” The piece talks about the implementation of the Civil Code. It quotes Xi as having said that “strictly regulating fair and civilized law enforcement and improving judicial credibility are effective means to safeguard the authority of the Civil Code.” The piece also talks about the need to address judicial corruption. The Nie Shubin case gets a mention among other cases, with the message being that the leadership is not only focussed on efficiency but also fairness when it comes to the judicial system.

Page 2: The page carries a reaction story with regard to Xi’s speech; there’s also a new website for the summit that’s been launched, which gets covered in PD. Here’s the link: http://www.cpc100summit.org/. This is a useful repository of comments by people from different parties around the world. 

Page 3: First, we have Li Keqiang engaging with British businesses (English report). The heads of more than 30 multinational companies and renowned institutions, including Standard Life, Diageo, Jardine Matheson, AstraZeneca, Walgreens Boots Alliance and British Petroleum, Rio Tinto, Jaguar Land Rover, Clifford Chance, Schroder, University College London attended the dialogue, as per Xinhua and PD.

Li said:

“China is willing to consolidate mutual trust with the UK, along with mutual respect, seek to expand common ground while shelving differences, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation for win-win results, build consensus and address divergences via equal dialogue, so as to promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.” Once again, we see this bit about “shelving differences” that we saw Xi tell Macron and Merkel too.

Li talked about climate change, clean and green energy, and IPR protection. Since he was talking to business heads, this was a key point to make:

“He said that reform and opening-up is China's basic national policy and will continue to be advanced unswervingly. China’s manufacturing industry has been fully opened up and the service industry is opening up in an orderly manner, he added. ‘In the process of formulating a new development paradigm, we will continue to devote ourselves to creating a market-oriented, law-based, and international business environment, treating all types of market players equally, including foreign companies, and welcoming more foreign capital into China,’ he said. China also hopes Britain will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies to invest in the country, Li said.”

Next, the General Office of the Central Committee and the State Council have issued a new set of opinions with regard to “Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities.” I am going to rely on Caixin’s report to summarise this. It says that:

  • China will strengthen oversight of companies traded abroad and set up a supervisory system to address risks and emergencies related to foreign-listed companies

  • Rules for overseas listings will be revised, while regulatory bodies will enhance coordination on supervision

  • The guidelines also pledged to step up oversight of data security and cross-border data flows. China will toughen laws and regulations on the management of confidential information and hold publicly traded companies accountable for keeping their data secure.

  • The guidelines also pledge to toughen punishment of capital market misconduct, such as financial reporting fraud, insider trading and market manipulation. Regulators will hold listed companies’ shareholders and executives accountable for violations and strengthen scrutiny of financial intermediaries

In addition, the document says that by 2022, important progress will be made in the construction of a legal liability system for crimes in the capital market. The law enforcement and judicial system and coordination mechanism for severely cracking down on illegal activities in securities will be initially established, the cost of illegal crimes in securities will have been increased significantly, the frequent occurrence of major illegal crimes will have been effectively curbed...By 2025, the legal system of capital market will be more scientific and complete; the judicial system of securities law enforcement with Chinese characteristics will be more perfect; the transparency, standardization and credibility of securities law enforcement will be significantly improved; the connection between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice will be efficient and smooth; and a good capital market ecology of respecting laws and keeping promises, standardization, transparency, openness and tolerance will be fully formed.” 到2022年,资本市场违法犯罪法律责任制度体系建设取得重要进展,依法从严打击证券违法活动的执法司法体制和协调配合机制初步建立,证券违法犯罪成本显著提高,重大违法犯罪案件多发频发态势得到有效遏制,投资者权利救济渠道更加通畅,资本市场秩序明显改善. 到2025年,资本市场法律体系更加科学完备,中国特色证券执法司法体制更加健全,证券执法司法透明度、规范性和公信力显著提升,行政执法与刑事司法衔接高效顺畅,崇法守信、规范透明、开放包容的良好资本市场生态全面形成。

Finally, on the page, we have a report about the CMC organising a session to study Xi’s July 1 speech. Both vice chairs Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia spoke at the event. The meeting called for the armed forces to “profoundly grasp” the mission that Xi articulated, understand the challenges faced in the “new march” and perform as the “strategic support needed for the rejuvenation of a powerful country.” The study and implementation and Xi’s speech is now a “major political task.” It called on the PLA’s members to “be a firm believer and loyal practitioner of Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.”

“It is necessary to grasp the red line of the original mission, inherit and carry forward the great spirit of party building, deepen the roots of the red bloodline, strictly abide by the principle of loving the people and working for the people, fulfill the responsibility of doing practical work, speed up the modernization of national defense and the army, and strive to build a successful strong army.” 要把握初心使命这个红线,继承发扬伟大建党精神,深植红色血脉之根,恪守爱民为民之本,尽好实干担当之责,加快国防和军队现代化,以奋斗奋进奋发务求强军必成. 

“We should focus on preparing for war, strengthen the fighting spirit and temper core strength in the practice of military struggle, defend the national sovereignty, security and development interests with stronger ability and more reliable means, and shoulder the great trust of the Party and the people with practical actions.” 要聚焦备战打仗这个落点,在军事斗争实践中强化斗争精神、锤炼硬核实力,以更强大的能力、更可靠的手段捍卫国家主权、安全、发展利益,用实际行动担负起党和人民的重托.

Page 4: First, we have another center on Xi Thought. The Central Committee on Monday cleared the new “Xi Jinping Economic Thought Research Centre” in Beijing. This took place at a high-level government meeting during the plenary sessions of China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission. The government said the centre would become a think tank for the production of economic policies based on Xi’s economic ideas, reports SCMP

Second, we have a report about the enthusiastic response to Xi’s July 1 speech among “Chinese enterprises, Chinese financial enterprises and Chinese universities.” No surprise that self-reliance gets space here.

Finally, a commentary that doubles down on the significance of Marxism for China’s development and the importance of the Sinicization of Marxism. 

“If a nation wants to be the forefront of the times, it can't live without theoretical thinking and ideological guidance for a moment...Looking back on the course of a 100 years of struggle, Marxism has allowed our party to have a scientific world outlook and methodology, and a powerful ideological weapon to understand and transform the world, thereby enabling China, an ancient Eastern power, to create an unprecedented development miracle in human history...Marxism has profoundly changed China, and China has also greatly enriched Marxism...Today, Marxism is radiating with vigorous vitality in China in the 21st century. The doctrine of Marxism in China in the 21st century is showing a stronger and more persuasive power of truth.”

Page 9: On the Theory page today, the lead piece is by Liu Guangming from the Xi Jinping center at the National Defense University. Liu basically talks about the sinicization of Marxism. In terms of the core argument, he doesn’t say anything terribly different from the commentary I mentioned on Page 4. But I thought the conclusion was interesting in that it talks about not being dogmatic in ideological belief.

“In today's world, information technology is changing rapidly, and digitalization, networking and intellectualization are developing deeply. In the face of many new fields and achievements, the only way to further manifest the vitality of Marxism is to be inclusive...We should learn from all the outstanding achievements of civilization created by human society in the present era, learn from others' good things and turn others' good things into our own…”   当今世界,信息技术日新月异,数字化、网络化、智能化深入发展。面对众多新领域新成果,唯有包容吸纳,才能进一步彰显马克思主义的生机活力。我们要以海纳百川、博采众长的宽广胸襟和恢宏气度,科学借鉴当今时代人类社会创造的一切优秀文明成果,不断学习他人的好东西,把他人的好东西化成自己的东西。坚持从本国、本民族实际出发,坚持取长补短、择善而从,在不断汲取各种文明养分中丰富和发展中国共产党人的思想理论宝库,使当代中国马克思主义、21世纪马克思主义彰显更加强大的真理力量和实践力量.

Next, there’s a piece by Zhang Enhui (a brief profile of Zhang), member of the Standing Committee of the Jilin Provincial Committee. He talks about learning from history and carrying forward the red bloodline. It’s interesting to note who all from provincial leadership get space as we head into the 20th Party Congress. Third, we have Ouyang Qi from the School of Marxism, Renmin University of China. The piece basically reiterates Xi’s comments about maintaining the revolutionary spirit, learning from it and using red resources and stories of heroes, etc. The focus for all this is the youth, of course.