Tracking People’s Daily — August 25, 2020

Page 1: Xi Jinping led a symposium on economic and social work in Beijing, delivering a speech, which has dominated the front page (Xinhua English story). A bunch of senior academics and departmental heads at universities attended the meeting. Xi’s full speech is on Page 2. Here’s a cheat-sheet:

  • Xi characterised the period starting 2021 as a “new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country and march toward the second centenary goal.” And this calls for taking a “long-term perspective” requiring the cadre to “grasp the general trend, open the door to ask for ideas, brainstorm ideas, study new situations, and make new plans.”
  • Xi said that the pandemic had accelerated global change. “Protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise. The world economy is down. The global industrial chain and supply chain are facing impacts due to non-economic factors…Such patterns are undergoing profound adjustments, and the world has entered a period of turbulent change. In the coming period, we will face more headwinds and headwinds, and we must be prepared to deal with a series of new risks and challenges.”
  • He added: “The domestic development environment is also undergoing profound changes. China has entered a stage of high-quality development. The main social contradiction has been transformed into a contradiction between the people’s growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development.”
  • In dealing with this, “it is necessary to coordinate the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the major changes in the world that have not been seen in a century”
  • Second, he stressed focusing on facilitating national economic circulation to establish a new development pattern, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay and allows the domestic and foreign markets to boost each other. China will see its status continue to rise in the world economy with closer ties, and the country will provide more extensive market opportunities for other countries. He said: “Opening to the outside world is a basic national policy. It is necessary to comprehensively raise the level of opening to the outside world, build a new higher-level open economic system, and form new advantages in international cooperation and competition.”
  • Third, he wants to “catalyze new development momentum through technological innovation” and “vigorously improve our independent innovation capabilities and make breakthroughs in key core technologies as soon as possible.” To do this, China must reply on its “ultra-large-scale market and complete industrial system;” it “must create unique advantages that are conducive to the rapid and large-scale application of new technologies and iterative upgrades, accelerate the transformation of scientific and technological achievements into actual productivity, improve the level of the industrial chain, and maintain the safety of the industrial chain.”
  • Next up, he wants the cadre to “uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and advance the national governance system and governance capacity modernization.” This must be done “so that the market can play a decisive role in the allocation of resources, better play the role of the government, and create a long-term stable and predictable institutional environment. It is necessary to strengthen the protection of property rights and intellectual property rights, build a high-standard market system, improve a fair competition system, stimulate the vitality of market players, and make all sources of power conducive to the development of social productive forces flow fully.”
  • Finally, he spoke about “higher-quality employment and building a “comprehensive and sustainable social security system” and public health and disease control systems.”

The other piece on the page is a commentary based on Xi’s visit to Anhui, discussing the importance of the “new development pattern.” It says:

  • “To explore an effective path to form a new development pattern, we must firmly grasp the strategic basis of expanding domestic demand. Expanding domestic demand is an inevitable requirement to meet the people’s growing needs for a better life and an inevitable choice to promote high-quality economic development.”
  • “To explore effective ways to form a new development pattern, we must vigorously promote scientific and technological innovation.”
  • “To explore an effective path to form a new development pattern, we must also give full play to the breakthrough and leading role of reform,” including supply side reform.

Page 3: Li Keqiang’s speech at the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting. The full English speech is available on Xinhua. Li spoke about BRI, RCEP, management of water resources, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and the China-Laos and the China-Thailand railways. He added: “we need to build a network of “fast tracks” and “green lanes” across the region to facilitate the flow of people and goods, and keep industrial and supply chains stable.” He also said: “Once developed and deployed in China, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to Mekong countries on a priority basis.” The joint declaration based on the meeting is on Page 6.

Wang Yi, meanwhile, met with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto in Beihai. Szijjarto is the first EU foreign minister to visit China since the pandemic. They spoke about economic decoupling and why that should not happen. Xinhua English actually has greater details. Wang, on the other hand, is set to travel to Europe soon. He’ll be visiting Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France, and Germany. Of course, the fissures with the US will be the key aspect on his agenda.

Page 5 & 9: A commentary celebrating the “heroic” actions of Zhong Nanshan, Zhang Boli, Zhang Dingyu, and Chen Wei and other medical professionals in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. On the 9th page, which is the theory page, there are three pieces about the Party. They don’t really offer great insights, but they show what kind of messaging the Party desires to push at home.

First, this one by Zhen Zhanmin, deputy director of the Central Party School’s Xi Jinping Research Center for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. He basically talks about the original aspiration, people-centered development and so on.

Second, this one by Zhang Hao, professor at the School of Marxism, Sun Yat-sen University, and a researcher at the Research Center of Xi Jinping’s Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in Guangdong Province. Zhang says “our party as a whole is composed of individual party members. Party members have their own legitimate personal interests, but they cannot be considered as having their own special interests. Our party has always recognized and protected the legal rights and interests of party members…Our party has always resolutely opposed corruption by party members and cadres using power for personal gain.” Of course!

Third, this one by Li Zhongjie, who is an academic consultant of Beijing Xi Jinping Research Center for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. Li says that the CCP is the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, i.e., two vanguards.

Page 10–12: Three pages, 10, 11, & 12, are dedicated to Mike Pompeo, hitting out at his “ideological prejudice” and “Cold War mentality.” This is basically a long Xinhua piece talking about Pompeo’s “lies.”